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Mayor Kevin Faulconer wants you to know that the city’s doing something about its notoriously terrible roads, sidewalks and other basic infrastructure. After all, he promised he’d make a difference when he ran for office.

But, as we note in a new story, much of the money he wants to spend is itself on ice.

Our story explains: “even though the mayor appears to be tapping more revenue for repairs in his budget, we’re not spending enough on streets to keep them from getting worse. And without the money from the loans that’s tied up in the lawsuit, that will continue to be the case.”

New Rapid Bus: How Fast Is Fast?

The Mid-City Rapid Bus — already awkwardly dubbed “The Rapid” — isn’t on the road yet. But the bus, which will travel from San Diego State to downtown via Mid-City, is getting plenty of attention.

Here’s a question: Is the rapid bus really a rapid bus? In our new “Reality Check” feature, we explain how it’s not really much speedier than the existing regular bus.

The Scope of School Foundations

All told, after a lot of work on the calculator, Mario Koran was able to estimate that school foundations collected $6.5 million to help schools in 2011-2012.

Past Is Prologue in SeaWorld Debate

How does the SeaWorld dispute fit into the history of efforts to prevent animal cruelty and exploitation? To find the answer, I interviewed Diane Beers, a Massachusetts professor and author of the definitive book on history of the animal-rights movement. You can read the Q-and-A here.

She says the movement has evolved, developing greater concern about the intelligence of animals (moving the question beyond just their suffering) and their use for entertainment. According to her, animal-rights activists have been part of overall “social justice” movements.

For more about the history of the movement, check a 2008 book by UCSD professor Kathryn Shevelow that tracks the early days of British efforts to stop animal suffering. I gave it a thumbs-up review.

Politics Round-Up:

• Thanks to action by the City Council, “San Diego homeowners got a much easier and more affordable way Tuesday to install solar power and make other upgrades that improve energy efficiency and shrink utility bills,” the U-T reports.

• Former Mayor Bob Filner’s record of sexual harassment is reported to go back decades, even beyond his term in Congress. Now, his actions are getting renewed attention as a Bay Area congresswoman calls for the House of Representatives to require sexual harassment training. (KQED)

Behind Those Sex-Trafficking Numbers

Last month, the Urban Institute released a startling report about the gun, drug and sex trades in several major U.S. cities, including San Diego, where “visible street prostitution ebbs and flows across the county and surrounding regions, depending on online demand and law enforcement presence.”

The report details prices for prostitution, the role of gangs in sex work (very large), and the existence of brothels, especially in migrant camps.

The report has lengthy comments from sex workers and law enforcement, but it lacks the intimacy of a single person’s story. CityBeat provides that perspective in an article about a former sex worker who’s trying (with mixed success) to turn her life around.

A Correction

Earlier this week in a marketing email for our spring membership campaign, we mentioned layoffs in the journalism industry across the country. The U-T has laid off several people this year, but we included sports writer Bill Center among them. Not true. Center reports that he retired after 47 years, it was planned and his parting with the U-T “couldn’t have been more amicable.”

VOSD’s Scott Lewis apologized for the error.

Quick News Hits: A Mystery for the Ages

• Sailors from the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan are suing, again, over allegations that they were exposed to radiation from the 2011 nuclear accident in Japan. (AP)

• The Reader has a cover story exploring one of the most bizarre mysteries in San Diego history: Was a young woman murdered in 1994 and dumped in the ocean? Or did a shark kill her?

• Drought update: “New data show that California will be starting the summer dry season with a snowpack around the lowest levels since recordkeeping began nearly a century ago,” Slate reports.

The drought also has ruined the wildflower season in the Anza Borrego desert. (KPBS)

• “Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber says Minneapolis, Atlanta, Sacramento, San Diego and Texas sites are under consideration as expansion cites,” the (Minneapolis) Star-Tribune reports.

• Lights, camera, city! KPBS has unveiled its One Day in San Diego project, a 24-hour “filming event” that takes place on April 26. Regular folks will be able to take part by filming things.

Sadly, I’ll be out of town. But if you’d like a life-sized cutout of me to include in your film, just holler. While supplies last! (Note: These supplies will definitely last.)

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president-elect 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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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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