We keep hearing about the potential for downtown to become a hot spot for entrepreneurs, a garden of new tech companies.

But as Scott Lewis points out, there’s a big problem with that dream: We have no space in the urban core.

One project slated for the East Village, known as the IDEA District, could help fix this. But even that’s got strings attached.

It’s would be expensive for a business to set up shop in the district. Oh — and it’s not built yet.

The Perks of Being a Council Member

Is it hypocritical for a fiscal reform-minded elected official to take advantage of offered benefits? Sarah Boot, who’s running for the District 2 City Council seat, thinks so. At a candidate forum last week, she lobbed a bomb at District 6 Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, who’s running for re-election in District 2 seat now that the lines have been redrawn.

“My opponent Lorie Zapf is the only person on the Council to take the $800-a-month car allowance,” Boot said. “That means she is the only person asking you, the taxpayer, to pay for her car, at this point, over $30,000.”

Lisa Halverstadt broke that down into two claims and ran ’em through the Fact Check factory. Sure, Zapf collects the allowance, a long-standing offering from the city. But she’s not the only Council member to do it.

Chula Vista Police Fudge Public Records Law

California law says local governments and agencies must respond to any records requests, whether they come by mail, fax, phone call, email or in-person visit.

So VOSD’s Bianca Bruno was a little flummoxed when she tried to find out how often and why Chula Vista Police responded to a particular location. A senior data specialist with the department said she couldn’t take the request by email because of security concerns, and told Bruno she’d have to drop off the request in person.

An administrative services manager with the department later cleared things up. But confusion over access is a big reason we’re doing a News Literacy initiative, to engage and inform residents to keep tabs on their own communities.

Uber Tracks San Diego’s Young and Smartphoned

To promote its expansion to 100 cities around the world, taxi alternative Uber – in which consumers hail and pay for rides using a smartphone app – published some pretty neat maps showing where people are using its service.

San Diego’s trips primarily centered in downtown, uptown and the beach communities – which isn’t terribly surprising, considering these are the happenin’ spots where more smartphone users (i.e., young and more likely to have the income needed to own the devices) are likely to hang out.

Quartz put it a little more bluntly: “Uber’s usage maps are a handy tool for finding the world’s rich, young people.”

The Trouble Continues for SDPD Officers

The San Diego Police Department has been dealing with complaints of officer misconduct for several years now. Former officer Christopher Hays, who was accused of groping and illegally detaining four women, will stand trial on felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor sexual battery charges, according to City News Service. Hays faces up to three years and eight months in state prison.

And there’s a new officer in trouble. La Mesa police arrested SDPD officer Gilbert Lorenzo on Tuesday for domestic violence. In this case, the SDPD actually stepped up to turn in one of their own. From Fox 5 San Diego:

“We received the information early yesterday afternoon,” (Police Chief Shelley) Zimmerman said. “We immediately contacted La Mesa Police Department, because it occurred in their city, and within just several hours after that, I revoked his police powers and suspended him without pay. He was booked into jail.”

Quick News Hits

• School whistleblower Sally Smith, who’s made it her mission to hold schools accountable for trying to pass on fees to students, got some love in the Los Angeles Times. Bonus: Our own Mario Koran is seen typing ever so diligently in the background of the third featured photo. (L.A. Times)

• The Preuss School, a charter school in La Jolla, was ranked the fifth best high school in the state. (U.S. News)

• Back when Todd Gloria hammered the minimum wage in his State of the City address, we guessed he’d propose around $14.50 an hour. Gloria’s staff told us that figure “doesn’t sound far-fetched.” We weren’t far off: Gloria has now settled on a number for a proposed increase: $13.09. (U-T)

• Enjoy your lush lawn while you can – the City Council made moves Wednesday to impose voluntary water restrictions. (City News Service)

• Starting today, you can submit a conditional use permit to open that quaint pot dispensary you’ve always dreamed of. (Fox 5)

Half Baked

Catherine Green

Catherine Green was formerly the deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handled daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects.

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