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If you’re around San Diego public policy long enough, you’ll hear some version of the dream about the Desert Line — the mythical railroad that, if made operational, would allow goods to come over the border much faster. It would be more efficient than current means and allow locals to cash in on importing and exporting efforts that bypass San Diego.
But the old track is a nightmare, its history is nothing but failure and catastrophe. Now, San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System, MTS, owns a big part of it. It has been leasing it out to the latest company trying to pull something together to make it work. And now, that company has attracted serious concern and criticism. Its last press release, for instance, touted a new CEO. But that guy is now the company’s top critic.
Andrew Keatts and Ari Bloomekatz pulled the whole tale together into one place.
• “It’s tough to look at this mess and defend MTS’ actions,” says the U-T in an editorial about the Desert Line imbroglio.
Barrio Logan’s Gentrification Dilemma
Gentrification — the renewal of a down-on-its-luck neighborhood — isn’t always as great as it sounds, and not just because of all the hipster mustaches everywhere. Bars, nightlife, tall condos and expensive historic homes can turn off residents who like things to be quieter (and maybe cheaper).
Barrio Logan, a poor and Latino-centric community, feels a wave of renewal coming. In a new story, we examine how a new organization called the Barrio Art Association is pushing “to fulfill two missions: promote Barrio Logan artists and to conserve the Barrio way of life.”
Scholar: Central Americans Are ‘Fleeing,’ Not Migrating
The VOSD Radio Show and Expanded Podcast digs into the exodus of undocumented immigrant children from points south. The show’s guest is Elizabeth Kennedy, an SDSU doctoral candidate living in El Salvador on a Fulbright fellowship. She works with kids who’ve been sent back home after trying to make it into the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Heroes and Goats of the Week are on opposite sides of the battle over the release of a college recommendation letter. It all has to do with the district attorney and the campaign finance scandal.
Centennial Debacle Not Over Just Yet
The outlandishly elaborate plans for a centennial celebration at Balboa Park have been greatly scaled back, and the pricey organizing group is out of business. But at least one investigation continues, and it’s starting to get a bit dicey.
As the U-T reports , the city auditor says Julie Dubick, former head of Balboa Park Celebration Inc., isn’t cooperating with his probe. He wants to subpoena Dubick, a former mayoral chief of star.
“The centennial was supposed to present events every day of 2015, and once again lure millions of tourists to the region,” the U-T reports, and millions of dollars were spent. The celebration will actually be modest.
For background about the centennial celebration disaster, start with our our extensive here
Peters vs. DeMaio on the Issues
KPBS has quizzed the two candidates in one of the hottest congressional races in the country.
Candidate Carl DeMaio’s answers are more vague than those of Rep. Scott Peters. For example, DeMaio confirms that climate change is real but he doesn’t offer solutions other than more research, “global solutions” and green-energy programs. He also supports preserving guaranteed insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, but it’s not clear how he’d do that while dismantling much of Obamacare.
Brief News Hits: Does OTL Cross Over the Line?
• A contributor’s commentary about “The Silver Lining to San Diego’s Obscene Housing Prices” — more home equity for start-up companies to tap into — was the most popular article on our site last week. For the full Top 10 list, click here.
• The U-T runs the numbers and finds 162 San Diego cops have quit or retired over the past fiscal year. The police union chief warns that “it takes five years to train somebody to be effective on their job,”
• Southern California’s reservoir’s are “fairly robust,” a top regional water official tells KPBS, “but we’re moving through them at a pretty good clip.” The Metropolitan Water District’s stored water may be 40 percent depleted by this time next year.
• The U-T tracks the history of beach culture in San Diego and notes what must be three of the most G-rated Over the Line team names in history: “Menace to Sobriety,” “Cougar Hunters,” and “The Dirtier the Better.”
The paper also adds that critics of OTL “see it as a sand-blown orgy interrupted by the occasional athletic competition. Still, even defenders admit that OTL is an Olympic display of exposed skin, boozy behavior and creatively obscene team names.”
I will now solve this dispute: Hey, you’re all right! You’re welcome.
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.