For years, cutbacks and fee hikes have dominated many conversations about the future of San Diego State and other local universities.

But SDSU’s in its second year of an ambitious strategic plan it’s dubbed “Building on Excellence.”

Contributor David L. Coddon recently sat down with SDSU chief Elliot Hirshman to talk about his plans to up interdisciplinary research offerings and hire 300 new professors over five years, among other efforts.

Hirshman also addressed the controversial student success fee that’ll help support some of those new investments.

• A former state legislator is floating a San Diego State takeover of the current Qualcomm Stadium plot in the wake of a blockbuster ruling that’s increasingly looking like a game-changer for proponents of both the Convention Center expansion and a new Chargers stadium.

U-T San Diego reports on San Diego native Steve Peace’s vision of a new front door for SDSU in Mission Valley, which could be convenient if the Chargers and city boosters can agree on a joint-use stadium and convention center downtown. The Chargers and city officials aren’t commenting on Peace’s pitch.

A spokesman for Hirshman said an official proposal has yet to land on his desk.

San Diego’s Water Wasting Laws

About five years ago, a team of nearly a dozen city workers cracked down on water wasters who bucked drought restrictions.

Our region’s now facing mandatory cutbacks again but VOSD contributor Randy Dotinga found the region isn’t deploying water police again, at least for now.

Dotinga put together a handy guide to the county’s current water restrictions and the latest local government efforts to enforce them, plus a look at what might be coming next.

Top Cop Talks Police Training, Tactics

• VOSD Radio hosts Scott Lewis and Catherine Green chatted with Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano about some of the big questions that have come up in the wake of protests in Ferguson, Mo., in the latest VOSD Radio podcast.

The trio discussed how police should evaluate the best approach during encounters with potentially violent residents and protests, and touched on the uptick in use of police body cameras.

Bejarano also talked about his own experience with an officer-involved shooting.

• The U-T delved into training local officers receive to help them decide whether to use deadly force in a weekend story.

Quick News Hits

• Our story about San Diego cabbies switching gears to drive for rideshare app Uber topped the list of most popular stories on our site last week. Here’s the full list of our top 10 stories.

• Napa was rocked early Sunday by the largest earthquake it’s felt in 25 years. The quake left at least three people critically injured, damaged historic city buildings and left thousands temporarily without power, the Associated Press reports.

• Two security officers working for the Metropolitan Transit System were caught on camera beating a trolley rider as the train drove through La Mesa last week, according to NBC San Diego. La Mesa police are now investigating.

• City Attorney Jan Goldsmith tells the U-T he’s relying on zoning codes to try to shut down illegal medical marijuana dispensaries, a complicated process that means the city’s unlikely to close down those illegal pot shops before the legal ones open this fall.

• Oceanside’s seaside climate – and yes, apparently its business climate – have apparently lured a biscotti baker and a meat company to the North County city, The Daily Transcript reports.

Kashi, another cereal maker, recently announced plans to move back to La Jolla and hinted that a return to the region would allow for more innovation.

• The Associated Press says an ex-San Diego State football player wants a federal judge to scrap a proposed $75 million head-injury settlement with the NCAA due to concerns college athletes could lose out on millions of dollars in damages.

• San Diego sure loves pandas.

San Diego Community College Chancellor Constance Carroll and public radio host Martha Barnette recently teamed up to start San Diego Republic, a company that sells T-shirts that incorporate a panda into the California flag.

They’re also working on other panda-themed products, NBC San Diego reports.

Let your panda flag – er, shirt – fly.

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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