The state wants businesses to use 30 percent less energy, so it’s ordered them to overhaul their lighting systems when they upgrade buildings or move into them. These retrofits may sound like fairly simple things to accomplish, but landlords and business owners are crying foul over what they say are huge costs.

“The state Energy Commission says part of that might be the businesses’ fault,” reports VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt, “and that some are misinterpreting the regulations and overestimating what they must do to comply.” But some local businesses are still steamed, and there’s a chance that they won’t recoup much on their power bills.

Rush, Rush, Rush! Oh Never Mind

Hurry! That was the attitude at the City Council when it considered a very long — 55-year — lease for the company that manages the Belmont Park amusement area, best known for its rickety antique roller coaster. As VOSD’s Andrew Keatts explains, the company said it needed approval lickety split. Or, as kids and annoying adults like me would put it, now now now!

Except it actually didn’t need the deal right away. That’s prompted “some skepticism that the deal ever needed to be locked in so quickly.” A lobbyist for the company insists that it wasn’t bluffing.

• Also in City Hall news, Mayor Kevin Faulconer suggested on KPBS that cops won’t be getting basic pay hikes for a couple years, which cops are warning could create problems for the police department.

County Pension Board Wants New Chief

Stung by national criticism, the county pension board — which oversees pension funds for county employees — wants to hire a new investment chief. The current chief’s firm makes $8 million a year. As the Wall Street Journal explains, the chief has pushed a strategy described as high-risk and high-reward. In other words, the county could make a bundle or lose a bundle. That latter prospect has focused minds.

For background, check our previous stories here and here.

Graveyard Voters Get Evicted

The U-T recently discovered some suspicious cases of dead people continuing to vote despite not being alive, a possible sign of election fraud even though nobody was ultimately prosecuted. Now, “while elections officials in many counties are waiting for a long-delayed statewide database to help them remove deceased and duplicate citizens from the voting rolls, the registrar in Orange County has found a work-around,” the U-T reports.

An election official there is using different databases and has dumped hundreds of dead people from the election rolls and thousands who moved out of state. But the local registrar here hasn’t taken this kind of action.

Culture Report: Like Lambs to the Slaughter

The weekly VOSD Culture Report leads off with the bizarre tale of a local project that aimed to teach people where their food comes from by teaching them to slaughter farm animals. The idea actually makes sense, but some weirdness ultimately killed “Death for Food.”

Also in the Culture Report, as if that isn’t enough: digital art in Tijuana, never-before-seen art by local celebrity Dr. Seuss, the Xtreme Justice League and potential King Tut mania. (Excuse me while I break out into song: “Born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia…”)

Quick News Hits: Holiday Double Pay?

• Local Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez plans to push for a law requiring double pay on Thanksgiving and Christmas. “What people are being called in to do now is a real slap in the face of family values, frankly,” she tells The Sacramento Bee.

• The rapper accused of benefiting from murder through album sales is talking to 10News from jail: “I’m just painting a picture of a story, that’s it. I’m not telling anybody ‘hey go commit this crime.”

The local prosecution of “Tiny Doo” has gotten national attention because it’s so bizarre. “He is the first person to be charged under a little-used statute approved by California voters in 2000 that allows for the prosecution of gang members if they benefited from crimes committed by other gang members,” 10News says.

• San Diego State students said they were harassed when they marched on campus last week. Some of the protesters want the university to suspend fraternities amid greater awareness about rape and sexual assault among college students nationwide. (KPBS)

• Besides prompting those giant and confusing street signs, the city’s new overnight parking ban on RVs is creating other issues. (NBC 7)

Say It Ain’t SoNo

Hello, Associated Press? It’s me, the Morning Report. Just wanted to have a word with you about your story about hipster neighborhoods and this surprising tidbit: “San Diego’s South Park-North Park neighborhood is called SoNo… it claims a mix of Brooklyn and Southern California vibes.”

It is? It does? In fact, nobody outside of a chili festival calls it “SoNo,” and it’s hardly Brooklyn West or Pacific Beach East, for that matter.

Get it together! As a public service. I asked Twitter for thoughts about this last night, and got a few responses: NoNo, SoNot Cool, and my personal favorite, SoNOPE. Or we could just borrow a phrase from Brooklyn. All together now: “Getouddahere!”

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:

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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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