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The City Council could approve Tuesday a new plan for Otay Mesa that would make way for thousands of new homes and two new villages near public transportation while dramatically expanding the opportunities for blue collar manufacturing jobs catering to the border economy. Here’s a reader’s guide for a policy that could dictate the next few decades of growth and development in the largest community in San Diego.

What Does Shamu Mean to Sea World?

There have been several killer whales named Shamu, but there’s one constant: They’re all big draws for SeaWorld San Diego. In 1997, a SeaWorld executive estimated that 70 percent of its revenue was due to the whales. Now, the company says that’s not accurate but Lisa Halverstadt found it’s tough to pin down what is.

She found several estimates from insiders and outsiders about how crucial orcas are to SeaWorld revenue. Next up in her quest to understand the theme park and its place in San Diego: a look at SeaWorld’s lease on city-owned land in Mission Bay.

• The story of a lawmaker’s nascent attempt to ban the killer whale shows at SeaWorld is going national. Here’s NPR. SeaWorld is amplifying its social media response, asking supporters to spread the message: “I stand with SeaWorld.”

2015 Celebration Accounting Docs Posted

Balboa Park Centennial Inc, the nonprofit that was charged with putting together a massive party celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Panama-California Exposition, but which is now unraveling, posted financial documents Monday. Here’s that group’s summary of its revenue and expenses, including the top recipients of the $2.6 million it spent, and here’s the accountants’ more detailed version.

New Mayor Explains His Priorities

In an interview with the U-T, Mayor Kevin Faulconer (who just hired away the U-T’s City Hall reporter to be his press secretary) talks about his priorities, from street repairs to reform in the police department. The story notes the mellow demeanor of the transition to a new administration: “there was none of the drama or frenetic optics associated with the brief and turbulent Filner era.”

Frenetic optics or no frenetic optics (whatever they are), Faulconer says he’ll embrace managed competition, the city’s take on outsourcing that allows municipal departments to bid to keep providing their services. The story says he thinks “services ripe for private-sector takeover include trash collection and fleet services maintenance.”

Strip Joint Raid Draws Fire from Afar

A blogger with The Washington Post raises good questions about a bizarre-sounding local police raid of a strip club (10News reported on it), but he doesn’t ask the cops for answers.

Maybe a local reporter could follow up: Why, according to the news report, did 10 officers with guns and bulletproof vests stop business for a routine inspection? Why didn’t they allow the women to put clothes on before being photographed for what a police spokesman called “investigative purposes”?

Update on Invisible Children, Post-Meltdown

Buzzfeed drops into town to examine the state of the locally based Invisible Children organization, which first drew attention for its efforts targeting an African warlord and then for its leader Jason Russell, who “is not the raving man of two years ago, stomping down a San Diego sidewalk, slapping the cement with his bare ass to the sky. But part of him is here too.”

Yes, Russell — whose breakdown was a sad national sensation — is still with the organization and back at his job after going to therapy and spilling his heart to Oprah. Check the photographs with the story: They’re by Sam Hodgson.

Quick News Hits

• The Associated Press examines proposed state legislation that would clamp down on the “Wild West” of medical marijuana shops in some parts of the state (Not in San Diego, though, where officials have become more tight-fisted about allowing them.)

“The bill.. marks a milestone not only because it would provide significant state oversight of the multi-billion dollar industry for the first time, but because it is likely to get serious consideration in Sacramento after years of inaction,” the story says.

• Gas prices are going to go up due to a new tax to support the environment, but by how much? “The oil industry says it will lead to price increases of at least 12 cents a gallon immediately,” the AP reports, “while state regulators say any price spikes could vary widely, from barely noticeable to double-digits.”

• What’s it take to be a kicker in the NFL? This. Nice profile on SBNation and Bolts from the Blue of the Chargers’ Nick Novak.

Who’s a Water Hog? Try a Hog

You may remember reading about a recent Mother Jones report that noted how much water it takes to grow fruit and vegetables — like more than three gallons to grow a single tomato. Now, a New York Times commentary points to another big water hog: livestock. Cows and pigs require tremendous amounts of water to be fattened up, and even the process of slaughtering uses up a lot of water.

Livestock still sucks up extra water when compared to produce on a basis of what they need per ton, although a better comparison would be how much water they need per calorie.

What to do? “Changing one’s diet to replace 50 percent of animal products with edible plants like legumes, nuts and tubers results in a 30 percent reduction in an individual’s food-related water footprint,” the commentary says. “Going vegetarian, a better option in many respects, reduces that water footprint by almost 60 percent.”

Hmm. If I replace that cheeseburger with a “cheeseburger,” can I take a longer shower to help calm my anxiety over no longer being able to eat cheeseburgers? Wait, it doesn’t work like that? Well, I never!

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 randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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The City Council could approve Tuesday a new plan for Otay Mesa that would make way for thousands of new homes and two new villages near public transportation while dramatically expanding the opportunities for blue collar manufacturing jobs catering to the region’s border economy. Here’s a reading guide for a policy that could dictate the next few decades of growth and development in the largest community in San Diego.

Randy Dotinga

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

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