Voice of San Diego members voted for the top five finalists for the Idea Tournament happening this Saturday at Politifest in Liberty Station. Check out the top five and be sure to show your support for your favorite community project by coming to the event. The winning group will receive a $2,500 cash grant and professional mentoring from Mission Edge San Diego.

The Politifest fun starts with guest Neel Kashkari at 10 a.m., followed by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins at 10:45. The day culminates with the Idea Tournament starting at 1:30 p.m.

There’s a lot worth seeing in between, so plan on spending the day with us. There’s beer, ping pong, food, lots of shade, a kid zone and more than 50 community booths to visit. You won’t be bored. For details visit voiceofsandiego.org/politifest.

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Comic-Con has come and gone, and we’re once again free of those Hollywood celebrities, costumed comic-book characters and congested downtown streets. So what’s it worth?

As we report in a new story, there don’t seem to be firm numbers about Comic-Con’s economic impact on San Diego. Never mind that one of the city’s main motives for expanding the Convention Center is to keep Comic-Con in town.

Sure, there’s a $178 million figure that’s been floating around, but “it’s based on outdated information. It includes assumptions of visitor spending from events that aren’t anything like Comic-Con. And it counts certain effects on San Diego’s economy twice,” writes Lisa Halverstadt.

• The Convention Center wants to sell naming rights (hello, Bumble Bee Foods Convention Center?) to raise some dough. It does need to fix a few things, as we’ve explained.

• Many local business people are calling on San Diego government to make our region more welcoming by slashing taxes and red-tape. On the other hand, subsidies funded by taxpayers are seen as acceptable, even by Republicans like Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Not everyone is pleased by these kinds of arrangements. In Dallas, government subsidies of almost $14 million to woo two San Diego companies are raising the specter of “corporate welfare,” The Dallas Morning News reports.

New Urban Renewal Chief’s Vision

In a Q-and-A, we check with Reese Jarrett, the new chief of Civic San Diego, whose job is to continue urban renewal efforts despite the state’s killing off of redevelopment.

“My goal is to make Civic San Diego more nimble and more entrepreneurial in their approach to community development,” he said. “We’re going to try to do different and innovative things that start to put public-private partnerships together, and create some energy about being able to invest in these neighborhoods.”

• Dave Little, a resident of La Jolla’s Bird Rock neighborhood, writes in a VOSD commentary that the city’s efforts to reduce red tape for builders are hurting neighborhoods: “gated communities with minor commercial space and little to no appropriate parking abuse the spirit and intent of the land use code, if not the letter of the law … the real goal is to densify our communities — even if the land use code has to be ignored to do it.”

Quick News Hits

• The University of Phoenix is “pushing back” against a media report regarding a federal audit of its San Diego campus, Inside Higher Ed reports.

• “California never adopted the recommendation that the caseloads of agents supervising sex offenders be reduced, despite the urging of a blue-ribbon task force that was set up after an arrest in the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard, and the deaths of others at the hands of those under the state’s watch,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

• “A time-tested signal of weakness in the housing market is flashing yellow,” a U-T columnist warns. What’s going on? Not many people are buying, possibly because people think prices are too high.

• An experimental Ebola virus treatment came from San Diego. (NBC News)

• We told you last month about how this summer is turning out to be a banner season for whale watching. Now, the U-T notes that an estimated 1,500-1,600 gray whale calves were born off Baja California this year.

• UC San Diego has some mighty drab concrete buildings that look like they could survive Armageddon. Many of the original ones are in the architectural style known as “Brutalist.” Enough said.

But the conservative Daily Caller website dings one of the campus’s most striking landmarks, the “repugnant main library” that “looks like a cross between a spaceship and an especially drab head of broccoli.”

• Who makes the best fish taco in San Diego? A journalist on assignment for the Huffington Post took on the culinary duty of finding out. He spent a weekend chowing down on fried Baja fish tacos at restaurants up and down the coast. (Chain restaurants were verboten unless they’re purely local, so no Rubio’s.)

The fish tacos ranged from the awful (fish that resembled cotton balls, to the pretty darned good (at a Roberto’s, of all places, plus Kotija Jr. Taco Shop, Oscar’s Mexican Seafood, Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill and Puesto Mexican Street Food). The best of all, five-star fish tacos, were on offer at Bahia Don Bravo, “a bare-bones Mexican restaurant at the ragged southern edge of La Jolla” and the Mariscos German food truck.

“I had become a convert to the Church of the Fish Taco, and this was my baptism,” the diner declared after visiting the fish truck. Hallelujah and pass the tortilla chips!

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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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