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There was plenty to clap about in Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s first State of the City address.
“It wasn’t a speech filled with bold policy pushes or splashy pledges that might get a mixed reception from the crowd,” writes Lisa Halverstadt. “Indeed, even the most contentious issues Faulconer broached during his speech had a vanilla twist.”
On two contentious issues, income inequality and a new Chargers stadium (more on that in a minute), Faulconer’s big plan is to form a task force to recommend ideas on how to move forward. On another controversial city program, managed competition, Faulconer promised to unveil “sweeping changes” soon — but a government efficiency expert has already recommended a bunch.
Lights, Camera … Little Action
Mayor Faulconer has not-so-boldly gone where at least one mayor has gone before: He’s creating a task force to figure out what to do about a new football stadium.
VOSD’s Scott Lewis parses the language of the mayor’s announcement and finds something interesting in this bit of verbiage: The committee “will study two different options: Building a stadium at the current Mission Valley location. Or building a stadium along with an expanded convention center downtown.”
On the whole, though, there’s little new: “It’d be nice to see a new idea — a proposal of some kind. It’d also be refreshing to see a leader just be honest that he doesn’t want to give the Chargers what they’re demanding and so they should just leave.”
Injured Cop Recovers in Hospital
SDPD Officer Jeffrey Swett is recovering from being attacked near I-5 and Main Street by a suspect who stole Swett’s police vehicle. His injuries are said to be serious. NBC 7 has details about the officer, who spoke in 2011 at a funeral for his partner, who was killed by a vehicle on the job.
Our Guide to Who’s Watching You
Big Brother has company these days in San Diego: There’s Big Sister, Big Brother-in-Law, Big Cousin … we could go on. In fact, we will. To help you figure out who’s monitoring whom, VOSD has put together a handy guide to the surprising state of surveillance in our fair city.
Among other things, cops might be spying on your cell phone, and not just in the usual way that you might have seen on shows like “Forensic Files” or “The First 48.” Plus, they might be watching you via hookups to store security cameras (or not, since the program’s had major problems.) And law enforcement could be tracking your license plate and your face as you tool around town.
The message from cops about all this: Trust us. The message from privacy and civil liberties advocates: Oh c’mon.
City Hall Roundup: Climate Claimant
• The city’s going to take a look at its charter, a kind of municipal constitution, but “it’s not yet clear whether that process will involve simple language clarifications or substantial policy changes.” (KPBS) For background, check our 2013 story about the most troublesome issues regarding the charter.
• “A legal-defense fund benefiting Democratic City Councilwoman Myrtle Cole was in the hole $42,159 at the end of September,” the Reader reports, based on financial documents. The fund was created to help Cole defend herself against a suit from a former rival who sued for libel over a false campaign attack targeting him.
• A now-former City Hall staffer played a crucial role in developing the city’s plan to make itself more green. Now she’s now running a tiny advocacy group devoted to making sure the city does what it’s supposed to do. She believes SDG&E is Public Enemy No. 1. Not so, says SDG&E. (CityBeat)
For details on the mayor’s surprisingly bold plan to protect the earth, see our story from last fall.
GOP Meets Here, Makes News
The Republican National Committee is meeting here this week and quickly got to newsworthy business by censuring a “party leader who has repeatedly posted racist and homophobic material to social media.” (Time)
Quick News Hits
• Local Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez wants to protect cheerleaders by making cheerleading an official sport via legislation. “If passed, the law would create new safety guidelines for training and spark changes in athletic department funding.” (KESQ)
• San Diego Unified plans to reduce class sizes and tackle other issues with new money coming from the state. Schools in the poorest neighborhoods will see the biggest impact in terms of class sizes. (KPBS and City News Service)
• UCSD engineers are testing a temporary tattoo that measures glucose and could eventually become a convenient tool for diabetics who need to measure their blood sugar.
Sounds great as they forbid all glucose-measuring tattoos from using those annoying tribal designs. It should be OK, however, to create glucose-measuring tattoos with the design of a heart that says “Mom” and has an arrow through it.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.