The city’s Purchasing and Contracting Department is one big bottleneck. A whopping 84 percent of the stuff it buys costs less than $25,000 apiece, but that same number only represents 4 percent of what the city’s spending money on.

On Monday, the city’s unveiling a proposed solution to the City Council: It wants to let department heads OK purchases under $25,000, and move the bar requiring a formal bidding process up from $50,000 to $150,000.

The head of the department says changing the threshold should increase competition among bidders and lower prices for the city.

Remember That Campaign Finance Scandal?

There’s been a lot of new developments in the bizarre campaign finance scandal that cast a dark cloud over most of the local political world three months ago. But the whole thing is still as confusing as ever.

We’ve got you covered, though, with an overview of the latest wrinkles.

Free Bus Program at a Crossroads

City Heights residents are rallying Saturday morning to keep – and expand – a popular pilot program that lets students from a handful of southeastern San Diego high schools use city transit for free.

“The school bus doesn’t wait. But the trolley does because it comes periodically. In a sense, it’s helping me raise my grades,” said one student who uses the pass to get from his school near downtown back home to Encanto.

No, the Kaufman Family Shouldn’t Pay for Their Rescue

It was bad enough when vicious online commenters swarmed the comment section of the blog written by the Kaufmans – the family of four who was rescued by the National Guard and the Navy last weekend.

But suggesting the family should pay for their own rescue ignores the fact that those groups exist for this exact reason, writes Beau Lynott, our sports blogger who’s a close friend of the family.

What We Learned This Week

• Bus rapid transit won’t save a ton more time than a regular bus – but that’s also mostly beside the point.

• We have a new City Council member.

Nonprofit school foundations brought at least $6.5 million into the district in 2011-2012.

The county is trying to address childhood trauma and the impact it has later in life.

• SeaWorld pumps a lot of money into political campaigns.

• Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced his plan to spend money on street repairs, but there’s one big reason roads won’t be getting much better.

Quick News Hits

• A former IRS official tells inewsource that the San Diego Opera’s contract with Ian Campbell and his former wife could trigger an investigation from the state attorney general.

• U-T San Diego has a handy calculator to help you determine your new electricity bill.

• The Center for Investigative Reporting and NPR have painstakingly mapped the U.S.-Mexico border fence – and they explain why it was much harder than you might think.

Quote of the Week

“It’s the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell for whales. As long as the public’s not watching all the activities are OK but don’t allow the public to watch,” SeaWorld lobbyist Scott Wetch on the now-shelved “Blackfish” bill.

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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