A Chula Vista councilman uses public transportation, which makes sense since he serves as an alternate on the region’s transit board. But he may not have much company among the other board members. And now, he’s an outlier in another way: Last week, Rudy Ramirez was the only no vote against the Metropolitan Transit System’s $240 million operating budget.
Ramirez, who represents the county’s second-largest city, says the transit system isn’t doing enough to serve the needy people who depend on it to get around. In a new interview, he talks to us about his concerns.
One example of the unequal treatment, he says, is “the fact that you have beautiful bus shelters that are hardly used in UTC, but people in Chula Vista — elderly people and sick people have to stand in the sun to wait for a bus.” The lack of restrooms is another problem, he says.
Ramirez says the board doesn’t want to spend money to examine whether poorer neighborhoods are getting left behind: “I want a public agency that is going to assume authority, not pass the buck.”
S.D. Hit-and-Run Crashes Set a Record
The year isn’t even half over yet, but the city has already had more fatal hit-and-run accidents in 2014 than any year since 2009. The latest hit-and-run came just a few days ago, as we report in new story about this grim trend.
Mayor’s Switcheroo on Help-Us-Save Plans
Should a mayor ever change his mind? If he does, we’ll notice. Case in point: Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s turn-around on the idea of giving bonuses to employees when they come up with ideas to save money.
As we report, Faulconer opposed a plan with the impenetrable name of Bid to Goal. But now, he’s pushing a similar idea. How similar? Not very, says a mayoral spokesman who calls them “fundamentally different.”
• The City Council has approved subsidies to help two local breweries grow. We reported on how that will work back in April.
• The U-T interviews the new chief of the San Diego Housing Federation. He talks about the importance of touting the idea of more density. Affordable housing advocates and the “general infill community” need to sell the idea more effectively, he says.
Zapping Climate Change Where It Counts
In a VOSD commentary, San Diego native and UC Santa Cruz professor emeritus Michael Soulé tackles San Diego’s role in combating climate change. He says the Board of Supervisors must “show local residents that it understands its responsibility to protect what remains of the Cleveland National Forest” when they consider retaining environmental rules.
How Rich Charities Got Richer
• Inewsource takes a look at where the county board of supervisors has been spending all those controversial community grants. (As we reported, supervisors want to raise the amount of money they have to give to nonprofits to $2 million a year each instead of $1 million each. Never mind years of reports of misspent funds and accusations that the money is a slush fund used to pay off pals and allies.)
Two well-heeled arts organizations, the Old Globe Theatre and the San Diego Opera, are among the top 10 recipients of the money. The others include an East County school district, a library/museum in the Chula Vista-area community of Bonita (it got $2 million) and a golf academy.
Quick News Hits
• The New York Times explores how mayors across the country are trying to boost minimum wages: “at the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors, which convened over the weekend, the subject of income inequality seemed to be on almost everyone’s lips.”
• The city of San Diego is growing faster than its suburbs, CityLab says. This is a sign of “of a great inversion from the previous era of mass suburbanization.”
If you suffer from a great inversion, please see a doctor immediately.
• NBC 7, our news partner, will move in 2016 from its nifty location next to Horton Plaza. It will now be based in San Diego’s broadcast hub: “scenic Kearny Mesa,” as one local radio station calls it with tongue in cheek.
• Alex Torres, a relief pitcher with the Padres, is the first player in Major League Baseball to wear a protective cap to prevent injuries from a speeding baseball, NBC 7 reports. The baseball cap is bulkier than usual and includes plastics that are supposed to provide protection for the head.
Now if only they could come with a baseball cap that prevents the crowd from seeing the score.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.