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The mayor’s office released a proposed budget Monday with plenty of winners — including library patrons, park users and anyone who drives, bikes or walks on our streets. There are losers too, like the Civic Innovation Lab that was Bob Filner’s brainchild.

Here’s a recap of what we’ve learned:

• With more apparent good news than bad news, what’s changed since predictions about the budget were on the grim side? “The secret is in the assumptions,” we explain in a new story. In other words, officials think more money will be coming in than they thought. We show you where the extra cash came from.

• Neighborhoods in southeastern San Diego, a poor and largely minority region that’s long been neglected, are slated to get expanded fire protection. That should mean faster responses to emergency calls in the places where response times lag most.

VOSD Forum Tonight on the SD Cop Crisis

Join us tonight at Cherokee Point Elementary as we hold a forum on the future of the troubled San Diego Police Department. Our panel of experts — several advocates for better police behavior and the city attorney — will discuss the issues facing the city’s police force.

We’ve laid out the biggest issues facing the department to jump-start the conversation. They include misconduct allegations, oversight, challenges in recruiting cops and keeping them on the force, and the reforms that are already in the works.

U-T Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is

Remember the City Council-approved affordable housing fee (née the “linkage fee”) that got rubbed out by a business-supported petition campaign? (The opponents went by the not-so-catchy name of “Stop the Jobs Killing Tax, a Coalition of Jobs Creators, Economic Development, Business and Real Estate Organizations.”)

The Reader examines campaign-finance reports and finds that the U-T donated more than $42,000 worth of advertising space to the effort.

Commentary: A Twist on the Minimum Wage

It looks like city voters will decide in November whether to increase the minimum wage in San Diego. In a VOSD commentary, former lifeguard chief Chris Brewster proposes that the minimum wage be “an indexed rate that would rise or fall in accordance with the federal poverty level.”

This, he writes, would mean that “employers would be required to ensure that lowest-paid workers earn enough to feed, clothe and shelter themselves without government assistance.”

A San Diego Tall Tale

• The San Diego Opera, now in its last days, presented a rosy view of itself to city officials when it requested money in recent years, saying in 2012 that it was in “remarkably excellent fiscal health.” (U-T)

• KPBS reports on how opera supporters are moving forward on two fronts: killing it and trying to keep it alive.

• The New York Times parachutes into town for a story about the opera’s failure. It’s a bit on the sensational side, claiming that the opera’s suicide spawned “a three-week battle that convulsed the community here and subjected its once revered opera company to widespread derision and accusations of mismanagement.”

Watch the Salk Talk, Writer Warns

Jonas Salk, the most famous scientist to ever call San Diego home, is getting attention this week.

Almost 60 years ago this month, journalist Edward R. Murrow asked Salk about who owns the patent on his polio vaccine. “Well, the people, I would say,” Salk said. “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”

A Slate writer says the statement is popular among those who want a freer system to reward scientific but actually “represents an easy but wrongheaded way to avoid the messy work of constructing a system to incentivize medical breakthroughs and make them widely available in the context of 21st-century economic realities.”

Quick News Hits

• The historic Ken Cinema may never do the time warp again. The longtime home to independent movies and midnight showings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is shutting down on April 27 because the property owner and the Landmark Theatre chain can’t agreed on a lease, CityBeat reports.

• The America’s Cup race could be returning to San Diego. (AP)

• The Pulitzer Prizes were awarded yesterday. Here’s a little-known fact: The first Pulitzer awarded to anyone west of the Mississippi went to a young San Diego newspaper reporter for his 1923 feature story about an eclipse of the sun.

• Cal State San Marcos has a new $44 million student union. (Times of San Diego)

• Obamacare has been a boon for a variety of Americans who have trouble getting insurance due to poverty, self-employment, pre-existing conditions and other factors.

But insurance coverage is not a panacea for many poor people. As the L.A. Times reports, “at the margins of poverty, even committing to premiums, co-payments and other new medical expenses of hundreds or a few thousand dollars a year can be difficult to manage.”

• JV’s, a Mexican food joint in Linda Vista, makes one of the best burritos in all the land, according to the blog Thrillist. It’s “the Surf-and-Turf burrito (aka the Belly Buster) for a haul of shrimp and carne asada that’s so gigantic it takes two tortillas to contain it.”

Huh. Sounds like the kind of artery-clogging entree that will hasten diners on their way under the turf. Fine! Guess I’ll just eat one and take the other one to go.

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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