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In 2012, the city of San Diego’s treasurer decided it would be great if all of the city’s coin-operated parking meters could be replaced with “smart” parking meters. The meters would be solar-powered, would work with your smartphone, and would accept credit card payments. A San Diego company, IPS Group, has done this for 100s of other cities and won the bid.

And then, as Scott Lewis reports, the whole contract fell apart.

“While more than a year and hundreds of city staff hours were poured into the contracting effort, [the city] decided to drop it when a ‘personnel matter’ emerged,” Lewis wrote. City staff won’t say more.

But the city is trying to revive the effort by piggybacking on a similar effort in Sacramento.

Another Community Plan Skirmish

Another fight is brewing over yet another community plan update, this one in Otay Mesa. That community is made up of thousands of acres, but Andrew Keatts reported that when the update heads to the City Council next month for approval, a disagreement over 50 acres could throw the whole plan into question.

Part of the 50 acres “has been designated for commercial use since 1981,” Keatts wrote. “City planners now want to designate it for industrial space.” The bank that owns the land in question isn’t keen on the property being re-zoned, since industrial-zoned property is worth less than commercially zoned property.

The property owner has hired the same lobbying firm that’s been trying to kill the Barrio Logan Community Plan.

Stop That Good School

Nicole Temple Assisi wants to start a charter school and call it Thrive. School district staff worked for months with her and recommended the new charter school be approved. The school board surprised the superintendent and overruled staff.

Now that the new school is appealing to the County Board of Education, and the same district staff who originally supported it is telling the county to shoot it down.

Alvarez’s Missteps: San Diego Explained

Polls showed David Alvarez rapidly rising in popularity in the days approaching the mayoral election, but in the end Kevin Faulconer’s victory was decisive. What happened to the Alvarez campaign has been a topic of much commiseration by many since Tuesday’s election, and Scott Lewis talked with NBC San Diego’s Catherine Garcia about which of Alvarez’s decisions might have led to his loss.

• On the other hand, inewsource highlights a few things the Faulconer campaign did right, including dominating both voter turn-out and early mail-in voting results.

Start-up Straight Talk

Yashar Ahmadpour, CEO of CrowdClock Inc, wrote in to opine on what San Diego’s tech startup scene needs in order to thrive, and what is really holding the local startup community back. “It is all of us failing to do enough, give enough, risk enough and believe enough in each other,” he wrote.

Gun Control Fight Dawns Locally

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said on Thursday that “a San Diego restriction on carrying concealed guns in public for self defense infringes on citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights.” They’re talking about a requirement in San Diego that a person requesting a permit to carry a concealed weapon demonstrate that they have ‘good cause’ for carrying it. Up until now, that “good cause” standard could only be met by a very narrow set of situations, so few permits have been issued.

The story got both national and local coverage. The LA Times wrote that this was to be expected after a landmark 2008 decision by the Supreme Court over individual gun rights. The Washington Post noted the decision came down in part because California prohibits citizens from carrying guns at all, either openly or concealed.

News Nibbles

• As KFMB reports, Escondido City Councilmembers approved a 99-cent store for downtown. The only elected Democrat in Escondido, Olga Diaz, voted yes and the most prominent labor leader in town, Mickey Kasparian, blasted her on Twitter.

• Medical marijuana will get another shot at regulation by the City Council at its meeting on February 25th.

• Councilman Mark Kersey wants San Diego to regulate the use of personal nicotine vaporizers, or so-called e-cigarettes.

• Ernesto Encinas, accused of helping funnel money into local political campaigns illegally, pleaded “not guilty” on Thursday.

• The company that wants to build a new landfill in Gregory Canyon filed for bankruptcy, which might slow them down a bit.

• New food truck regulations are coming soon.

Roses, Weddings, Fake Plastic Mouths

Valentine’s day belongs to the florists, and San Diego plays a big role in the national day of romance. By Friday, it’s estimated that 19 million roses will come through the Tijuana-San Diego border crossing. If flowers aren’t your thing, the San Diego County Administration building will be ready for couples who want to walk-in and get married tomorrow (bring $70, or $89 if you want a secret marriage).

U-T San Diego suggests that you skip buying your partner a “Make-Out Pillow,” which are pillows with the slightly agape mouths taken from CPR dummies sewn into them. Welcome to the future of romance, I suppose.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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