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Other than a certain mayor who became governor, she’s the highest-ranking San Diegan in state government in history. So what does Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, the Assembly speaker, have in mind going forward?

We asked her at Saturday’s Politifest. Among other things, she says she wants to revamp the state’s environmental protection laws, do more to protect small business and make it easier to fire teachers.

But, as our story about her most revealing comments shows, she didn’t get to be a powerful politician by not acting like a politician. Atkins did some bobbing and weaving, and offered a non-answer about whether she might want to run for mayor, a job she previously had (if only on an interim basis).

VOSD Radio Times Two: Politifest and a Chaldean Spokesman Talks Iraq

In the last edition of VOSD Radio, our crew talks to Mark Arabo, who’s both president for the Neighborhood Market Association and a top representative in the U.S. for Iraq’s Chaldean community.

He praised the president’s decision to act against the terrorist group ISIS, saying Obama “put hope in a hopeless situation.”

• VOSD Radio was putting in overtime this week, and fielded four interviews live from Politifest. Check out the conversations with bike advocate Sam Ollinger, border expert Mario Lopez, Modern Times Beer founder Jacob McKean and PR pro Mindy Fletcher.

‘Rather Bizarre’ Lawsuit Over Pot Shops

“Marijuana patients claim in court that San Diego and the California Coastal Commission will foul the air, snarl traffic and force people to grow marijuana indoors, wasting energy and increasing global warming, because of their wrongheaded decision to allow no more than 36 marijuana co-ops in the city,” Courthouse News Service reports.

The news service calls a new lawsuit, by the L.A.-based Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, “rather bizarre and quite technical.” Why is the Coastal Commission, of all things, involved in the lawsuit? Because, the lawsuit says, it had to approve the city’s pot shop rules regarding zoning.

Quick News Hits: Politico Freakout over Gas Taxes

• Big Brother? Nah. More like big whoop. Privacy advocates have been worried about the San Diego Police Department’s plan to tap into feeds from private and public security cameras all over town. But as we reported last week, the system is a mess.

Our story was the most popular on VOSD’s site last week. Check out the full Top 10 list here.

• Gas prices have settled down a bit lately, but politicians are getting antsy about blow-back as new climate-supporting state gas taxes loom on the horizon, Capital Public Radio reports.

How bad could it be? Ten cents a gallon, perhaps, or even as much as 69 cents a gallon, or perhaps nothing.

• A San Diego family was reunited with its dog this summer thanks to canine facial-recognition technology.

The three shelters run by the county are now using the technology, which works to tell individual dogs apart. “Eyes and noses are important areas that differentiate pooches, including eye size and their position near the snout,” the AP reports.

No word on whether a similar program for cats is in the works. I’ll just be happy if science can figure out why felines with no facial expressions still manage to express such haughty disdain when a dog’s around.

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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