When a fledgling Poway body shop tried to take wing, a competitor took aim at its owner’s nest egg. The rival sued to stop the body shop from opening, claiming that the city hadn’t followed proper procedures regarding an environmental review.

VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt explains what happened next: $170,000 in legal fees for the new body shop, a delayed opening and lots of stress. All thanks to a law signed by a governor named Reagan more than four decades ago.

Halverstadt explores the criticisms of CEQA, California’s landmark environmental law. Its tentacles spawn “higher rents and capital expenses, and according to some experts, are a major contributor to the lack of affordable housing in the state … outside groups can shape, delay or even kill a development.”

But there are reasons to support the law, and there’s debate over whether it’s really bad for the economy overall.

Chargers Won’t Bolt, for Now

And away they g… Oh, wait. Surprise! The Chargers are staying in San Diego for at least another year. “Great news,” the mayor tells the U-T, which just the other day warned of impending doom on the Bolts-begone front.

Open Government’s Elusive in South Bay

The Sweetwater school board, which runs the public middle and high schools in the South Bay from San Ysidro to National City, has five new members. Why so many? Because one ran for City Council (and won) and the others were convicted in that giant corruption scandal.

All five trustees pledged to support openness and transparency. We decided to talk to each of them. But most were neither open nor transparent, as VOSD’s Michelle Monroy reports: “it looks like some trustees are so afraid to say the wrong thing, they’ll barely say anything at all.”

The district wouldn’t give out one trustee’s phone number. Another says open-government law prevents him from talking to the media. (Wrong.) And another wouldn’t answer a basic question about her goals.

Second Verse, Same as First

• The City Council, worried that its members might have violated open-government law, reaffirmed its new president. Consider it a reverse on “no harm, no foul”: there was a foul, apparently, but no harm came to anybody (like a fine, perhaps) since the law is toothless in this kind of situation. (U-T)

The City Council likes open data. (U-T)

Quick News Hits: Airport Turbulence

• Local public relations maven and VOSD member Gayle Falkenthal is the winner of the first of this month’s VOSD trivia quizzes. Stay tuned for another members-only quiz later this week.

• “San Diego State University and the national office of Delta Sigma Phi have shut down the local chapter of the fraternity, known as Gamma Alpha, after a string of policy violations, which included fraternity members reportedly harassing protesters at an anti-rape march.” (KPBS)

• Southwest Airlines baggage employees are picketing at the airport; the airline says it treats them better than competitors. Protests are ongoing around the country. (KPBS)

• The popular Mexican toll road to Ensenada is reopening after a landslide. (U-T)

• Check, please? San Diegans spend a bigger chunk of their food dollar on eating out than residents of any other major metro area in the county with the exception of Washington D.C.

• MIT Technology Review analyzes San Diego’s desperation for water and its embrace of desalination.

UCSD Pub Takes a Powder

Anti-capitalist student types at UCSD have found another villain besides the administrators who’ve been trying to close the Ché Café. Now, as the VOSD Culture Report notes, campus honchos want to shut down the Porter’s Pub, and student critics are warning of a corporate plot. But the real problem, in part, may be lousy food.

Also in the Culture Report: a conductor departs, San Diego Film Critics Society loves it some Jake Gyllenhaal, and a mod scene erupts in Tijuana.

Presumably, this means you can head down on your Lambretta in some in Sta-Prest jeans and listen to some ska. On your way back, please drop a line and explain to me whatever the heck I’m talking about.

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

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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