Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a moderate Republican, is uniting with progressive Democrats to attack climate change. His widely anticipated Climate Action Plan proposal is now out, and it wields quite a stick: It requires the city to cut greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2035.

“To do that, the city will have to support new housing in established neighborhoods, expand public transit and access new sources of renewable energy,” VOSD reporter Andrew Keatts writes. “It would also give the city a backbone of sorts when future development controversies arise. In the past, the city has quickly caved to neighborhood concerns over new housing or transit projects — if the plan becomes law, the city could argue it’s legally required to support environmentally friendly urban growth principles.”

So did the mayor go Democratic when we weren’t looking? Not necessarily. He could have gotten the city into legal hot water if the climate plan was too weak. And he’s touting it as a job producer. Business groups like the Building Industry Association are on board as well.

• “Solar power is growing so fast that older energy companies are trying to stop it,” Vox reports.

Schools Pull Back on Strict Discipline

VOSD reporter Mario Koran examines the state’s new law that makes it harder for school officials to expel kids for mouthing off, not doing what they’re told or even letting their cell phones ring in a classroom.

Kids outside of the earliest grades (K-3) can still get in big trouble for “willful defiance,” but they can’t be booted just for that. And those districts can’t use willful defiance as a reason to expel those youngest kids.

The issue has to do with a move “away from punitive measures like expulsions and out-of-school suspensions that are doled out far more often to students of color.”

Local News Roundup: New Water Rules on Tap?

• Two councilmembers want the city to get tougher on water users. (NBC 7) For background, check our story here.

• There was a critical accident this week at a deadly City Heights crosswalk that we detailed back in 2011. Residents said then that the city’s new crosswalk wasn’t enough, and they wanted a stop sign. (U-T)

• KPBS meets the ultra-long-shot candidates for Congress.

• U-T publisher Doug Manchester has new plans for the U-T property in Mission Valley. The new focus is on apartments instead of offices. Pundits like to assume that Manchester was mainly interested in the property when he bought the paper. (U-T)

• Inewsource has concluded its series about sick people being kept alive in a vegetative state.

Kensington Video Will Live On! (Online, that Is)

• Don’t mourn the soon-to-be-departed Kensington Video too much — and don’t feel guilty if you’re a film buff who stopped going there years ago. (I sure did.) The co-owner of the legendary video store tells VOSD’s weekly Culture Report that he’s closing the business on a high note: “We’ve had a great ride, watched a lot of great movies and I was able to put my children through college while working here.”

And here’s some news you may not know: Kensington Video and many of its 75,000 videos will remain online.

The Culture Report also has news about artists from Iraq and Iowa, new murals in Carlsbad and La Jolla, the 2015 summer season at the Old Globe and the surprising local character who created the word “nerd.”

• A used-car lot in Encinitas could be the star of a new reality series. Expect to see a lot of “lemon” pun in headlines.

Quick News Hits: Tanks but It’s Not a Tank

The state will ban plastic bags. (NY Times)

• The FCC has pulled back on NFL blackout rules, which have hit San Diego especially hard over the years. Now, the (blackout) ball is in the court of NFL and TV networks. (U-T)

• A new law targets fraudulent farmers market vendors. (CityLab)

• As you’ve probably heard, San Diego Unified officials are sending back their armored military vehicle (no, it’s not a tank) after a nationwide fuss erupted over why schools would ever need such a thing.

At the one time when schoolkids might actually notice what district administrators are doing, they’ve failed to acknowledge that they made a bad decision. To make matters more complicated, Education Week reports that the district is having trouble sending the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle back to the military in a prompt fashion: it’s holding on to it so “the Defense Department can address a bottleneck of agencies seeking to return equipment and find a new location for the vehicle.”

Fine. There’s only one thing to do now: figure-eights in the parking lot! Who’s with me?

Hello? Is this thing on?

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 and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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