San Diego is no public transportation nirvana, nor is it a wondrous place for basically any kind of transportation, cars included. With the mayor’s new Climate Action Plan, the city wants you to stop driving so much and walk, bike or take a bus or trolley to work.

Actually, it doesn’t just want you to do this. It will need you — or at least many more of you — to do this in order to meet the plan’s new goals, assuming its implemented as the mayor laid it out. The city’s especially interested in getting more people to walk, bike and take transit to work in targeted areas near transit access that cover about 60 percent of residents.

Debate Showdown: Beiser vs. Redding

School board president Kevin Beiser and his challenger, Amy Redding, met for a debate this week, but their performances weren’t exactly inspiring. VOSD’s Mario Koran was there and offers a review of how they did. Beiser, facing a round of bad news about how thousands of district students might not graduate in 2016, didn’t do well in his response to his rival’s criticisms over the negative numbers. Beiser was also “flat-footed and clumsy,” while Redding got lost in jargon and failed to follow through on her slams at his record.

Environmental Lawyer’s Remarks Draw Crowd

Marco Gonzalez may be one of the most prominent environmentalist lawyers in town, but his mouth — the one that transformed him into one of former Mayor Filner’s top avenging angels — sets him apart from some other liberal types. Case in point: His recent comments bashing some anti-growth activists for blocking construction due to what he considers to be barely hidden concerns about minorities and the poor.

Our commenters aren’t all on board with his views. We take a look at some of their pithiest responses here. “When all else fails,” snaps one, “use the ‘race card.’ Classy.”

Election Roundup: About that Handshake Snub

• Carl DeMaio didn’t shake the hand of his rival Rep. Scott Peters the other day at it was caught on camera. Roll Call isn’t impressed, calling it one of “6 House Debate Moments That Reminded Us of High School”: “The expression on Peters’ face is worth watching – twice.

Meanwhile, Politico says the race is still a toss-up, one of the five most suspenseful in the House.

• Can there possibly be anything new to say about Peters vs. DeMaio? U-T columnist Logan Jenkins has actually found something: a revealing look at how they came across when he met them a while back. “The first time I profiled Peters, I alluded to his ‘wintry charm,’ a metaphor that seemed to amuse him (in a chilly sort of way). In describing DeMaio, the default metaphor always seemed to be ‘dervish’ to convey his whirling energy.” They were both, he writes, “smart, interesting, articulate.”

Parking App Gets Chilly Reception

I’ve made the jump to using Uber and Lyft instead of taxis, finding they’ve more convenient and cheaper — two things that are relevant to my interests. Now, new apps might make parking easier (if not cheaper) too: They aim to sell soon-to-be-vacant parking spots to the highest bidder, saving drivers from driving all over the place in search of a spot.

Sounds great! But, the LA Times reports, “California cities have been moving aggressively to keep some parking apps off the grid, contending that individuals and companies should not be allowed to profit by, effectively, auctioning off taxpayer-owned parking places.”

Speaking of the Uber-ing and Airbnb-ing of the world, a recent episode of “South Park” brilliantly “Takes Down Tech’s Absurd Transportation War,” as Valleywag puts it.

Legal Roundup: Rogue Cop Suit Settled

• The City Council “unanimously approved Tuesday a $5.9 million legal settlement for a woman who was sexually assaulted by a then-San Diego police officer in the Gaslamp Quarter three years ago,” City News Service reports. For background, check our coverage.

• “A North County family is going to trial… to accuse Vista Detention Facility staff of walking by and ignoring calls for help as their 21-year-old son slowly died from asthma asphyxiation.” (NBC 7)

The city may come to deeply regret a police policy that allows women to wear ultra-skimpy outfits at the beach but cracked down on a man in a kilt celebrating gay pride. (Reader)

Quick News Hits

• Balboa Park’s iconic California Tower will finally be open to visitors as of 2015. That’s just one of big stories that VOSD’s weekly Culture Report is tracking in its latest edition. There’s more: a new piece by the “Surfing Madonna” guy, the Old Globe goes on the road, and our Culture Report scribe is made “awkwardly hot” by the unexpected sexiness of a version of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” No, it wasn’t Charles Laughton that did her in, old movie fans.

• As we told you in a recent story about the history of Mexican food in the U.S., the locally based Rubio’s chain popularized the fish taco to America. Now, Rubio’s is switching things around: It’s remodeling and rebranding its 193 restaurants, focusing more on seafood and potentially dumping items like soup and street tacos.

Co-founder Ralph Rubio tells the Orange County Register that even the secret menu is disappearing, and he won’t even disclose what’s on it: “I don’t want to tell you because I’m trying to phase those items out.”

Wow. This is also relevant to my interests. You can tell me, Mr. Rubio. I won’t tell anybody. Just whisper it into my ear. Then stuff me in a vat of green salsa so I won’t tell anyone.

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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