A lot of San Diegans aren’t from here, but at least they have company: Most of our water isn’t native, either. We get it from other places, making it more expensive and us more dependent on the whims of people elsewhere.

What to do? The region has big plans to make our water supply more local. Our Catherine Green has the details: The city is going to purify sewage, a plant in Carlsbad will create tap water from salty seawater and the state may borrow a bundle to improve things.

• Also on the environment front, the City Council — with Republicans in opposition — voted yesterday to ask the mayor to come up with a “climate action plan” that legally binds the city to reduce greenhouse gases. The mayor, of course, can do what he wants. “This is meaningless,” complained Councilman Mark Kersey. (No, he’s not new.)

VOSD reporter Andrew Keatts has the play-by-play.

• “The city of San Diego is on the hook for as much as $2.5 million in fines and upgrade costs for failing to properly enforce rules that require businesses and the city itself to make sure runoff is filtered before it drains into the ocean and the bay,” reports inewsource. For background, check our previous coverage.

Special Guest Star at Taxi Hearing

Taxis in San Diego are in the midst of a crisis of sorts. For one thing, companies and drivers are facing major pressure from those Uber and Lyft cab-like services.

Meanwhile, taxi rates in San Diego are among the highest in the nation, giving passengers plenty of reasons to call anyone but a cab. And cab drivers have tense relations with cab companies. So it’s no surprise that a City Council hearing last week drew a huge audience.

What was surprising: The appearance of Tony Young, the former City Council president. What was he doing there? VOSD reporter Megan Burks explains: He’s lobbying for taxi companies and for some drivers who own their own cabs.

• Young and community activist Dwayne Crenshaw are now president and CEO, respectively, of a new group called RISE San Diego. A press release says the nonprofit’s “focus is to drive civic engagement and foster leadership in urban areas throughout San Diego County.” The group will also work with the University of San Diego to develop a program “which will graduate 20-25 fellows annually who have a passion for developing new leadership skills and bringing those skills back into urban communities to effect meaningful and sustainable change.”

Big Dreams Behind Those Little Parklets

Hey everybody, let’s put down some AstroTurf and sit on a bench in the street! It doesn’t sound like the best of clarion calls. But that’s just what downtown boosters have been doing lately as they’ve tried to create new kinds of spaces.

“In that parking space, let’s put a mini-park — if only for a day. In that small cement lot, let’s create a community gathering spot with cool seating and shade. On that overlooked corner, let’s have a pop-up concert. And in that plaza, let’s stretch ourselves with a yoga class,” write Kris Michell, president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, and Keith B. Jones, chairman of the Partnership and managing principal and partner at Ace Parking, in a new VOSD commentary.

Oh yeah, and about that green carpeting: “figuring out how well these interventions work is key to the whole process. You can’t just throw down some AstroTurf and call it a day.”

Quick News Hits: For Once, a Non-Tedious Election

• L.A. public radio station KPCC examines the attempt by Rep. Juan Vargas to allow Chaldean Christians in Iraq to gain refugee status before they leave the country: “Vargas says there is precedent to a more relaxed interpretation of what constitutes a refugee: the U.S. opened the door to Jewish refugees still living in Russia during the Cold War. In fact, Chaldean activists were joined on Capitol Hill by the Rabbi who helped broker the deal that brought a wave of Jewish refugees to America.”

El Cajon is home to one of the largest Chaldean communities in the U.S., and the story says most of Southern California’s Chaldeans live in San Diego County.

• If you’re a surfer or a surfing fan, check out the Surfline website’s big collection of photos and text called “From Keels to Quads: A Tip-to-Base Guide to the Remarkable History of Fins.” Fins, that is, that are on surfboards. There’s a San Diego angle or two.

• A U-T columnist bashes a new state law supported by contractors — not the usual suspects to push for more regulation — that “imposes hefty fines on handymen who advertise construction jobs that cost, in total labor and materials, more than $500.” It’s already illegal for non-licensed contractors to do those jobs.

• The Huffington Post explores how a tobacco plant could be the key to success for a San Diego company’s efforts to fight the ebola virus epidemic.

• San Diego’s in the running to win the title of Best Beer Town as chosen by USA Today readers. Cast your vote here. And feel free to start smack-talking our competitors.

Burlington, Vt.? You couldn’t win a coat factory! Bend, Ore.? You’re over. (Get it?) And you’re between a rock and a big loss, Boulder!

OK, OK. Don’t smack-talk our rivals unless you have professional supervision and maturity above the 7th grade level.

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

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

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