First there were pensions. Then street repairs. Now, add the Convention Center to the list of things the city has neglected in favor of getting quick cash.

Like pothole-ridden streets and a pension system that required a major overhaul, the Convention Center has a list of maintenance needs that tops $36 million, and there’s no way to pay for them in sight, Andrew Keatts explains.

The problem: In 1994, the City Council eliminated the pot of money that had been set aside for future repairs and directed it to the day-to-day operating budget, instead. The city promised to fund repair needs, too. But it didn’t.

So, here we are.

S.D.’s Drought Defense System

Yeah, there’s another drought. The skies still aren’t opening (there may be only one day of rain over the rest of this month!), and California continues to be pretty parched. But local water agencies aren’t freaking out.

In fact, the San Diego County Water Authority is so unconcerned that it’s only pushing for voluntary conservation (pretty please), even as the governor calls for 20 percent cuts. What gives?

We provide the answer in a new story. The nonchalance has to do with major changes that local water officials have made since the big 1991 drought. Now, we’re getting much less of our water from Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District: Our share from that source has dropped from 95 percent to about half.

• A U-T story says Sacramento-area residents use 50 percent more water than Southern Californians, and they aren’t too fond of water meters.

• The Reader has some aerial shots of local reservoirs and says they look parched.

Police Chief Seeks Review Amid Misconduct Claims

San Diego’s police chief “is seeking an outside auditor to take a hard look at how the department handles misconduct and how it can better weed out rogue cops,” the U-T reports.

The department has been plagued by a continuing series of misconduct cases. “At least nine officers were investigated for criminal conduct in the first half of 2011, allegations that ranged from off-duty domestic violence and DUI to on-duty rape of a prostitute,” according to the U-T. More misconduct allegations have surfaced since then.

If Lansdowne gets his way, the auditor could be just one independent outside authority keeping tabs on the department.

What the Media Misses (Wait, that’s Us!)

The VOSD Radio Show and Expanded Podcast gets an earful from two of San Diego’s most prominent political up-and-comers: Ryan Clumpner, chief of staff for a local Republican assemblywoman, and Lucas O’Connor, a progressive activist who’s served as director of strategic communications for the local umbrella labor organization.

They talk about the things that the media fails to understand about local politics from the value of endorsements to meaning of get-out-the-vote efforts.

Guess Who’s Running for City Council

The local politico-sphere has been buzzing for a few months about potential City Council candidates. Several seats are open, including the one held by Kevin Faulconer, who’s going to step down to be mayor (and would have stepped down due to term limits anyway).

But here’s an open seat you may not have heard much about: the one in the city’s Eighth District, which encompasses the southern Latino-dominated parts of San Diego. The guy who holds the seat now: David Alvarez, who just unsuccessfully ran for mayor.

Alvarez began the paperwork process to run to keep his seat last week, KPBS reports. A couple others are potentially in the hunt, but they’re not high-profile contenders.

Quick News Hits: From Weed to ‘Terriers’

• The most popular article on our site last week was a rebuttal to a prominent ex-restaurant owner’s critique of San Diego on the food and business fronts.

Check the full list of last week’s 10 most popular articles here.

• A new report from the city attorney’s office provides its perspective on legal issues facing efforts to regulate the medical marijuana business, the Reader reports.

Among other things, the report says the city can ban medi-pot vending machines and can’t impose extra taxes or fees on the businesses without a citywide vote.

• In honor of Presidents Day, here’s a story titled “When SD Told Lincoln to Lump It” from the VOSD archives. Yes, that Lincoln. San Diego County had few voters in the 1860s, but those that were here tend to not be fans of Honest Abe. Most, in fact, voted for someone else.

• If you’re like me (and here’s hoping you’re not), you often spend holiday weekends binge-watching TV shows. In time for Presidents Day weekend, the website AV Club published a handy list of 18 one-season shows that you can gobble up quickly. One of them is a series filmed in one of San Diego’s most colorful neighborhoods and full of “Hey, I know where that is!” moments.

No, we’re not talking about “Veronica Mars.” The show is 2010’s largely forgotten “Terriers,” set and filmed in Ocean Beach. It’s on Netflix, and AV Club says it’s perfect for “fans of ‘Justified’ … [and] anyone watching ‘True Detective’ while wishing for less suffocating darkness and a bit more levity.”

Speaking of suffocating darkness and lack of levity, the next election is fewer than four months away. Oh boy. I can’t wait!

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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