Mayor Kevin Faulconer made a pretty bold claim about public safety during his State of the City speech this week: “In San Ysidro, ambulance help is arriving a full minute faster than before. In Skyline, we’re opening a temporary fire station to immediately improve emergency service. In Encanto, we boosted Fire-Rescue response by three minutes.”

Is he right? San Diego Fact Check finds that he is. These neighborhoods have a history of being neglected on the emergency-response front, and all have benefited from new attention.

“Still, the city is far from closing the book on its emergency response problems,” VOSD’s Liam Dillon reports. “Four years ago, a consultant identified the community surrounding Home Avenue in City Heights as the most likely to have a delayed emergency response in the city. Nothing has been done to help Home Avenue residents yet.”

San Diego Explained: Solar Eclipse

It’s not always a huge story when a local company has to shed a few hundred jobs, but the France-based solar manufacturing company Soitec is no ordinary company. It came to town with lots of hoopla and lots of taxpayer-funded incentives, but now it’s cutting hundreds of positions. San Diego Explained, our video series with NBC 7, examines what went wrong.

Political News Roundup: Sherman Tank

Councilman Scott Sherman, a Republican, joined several of his colleagues last month and ousted Todd Gloria from his position as Council president. Sherman sheds new light on the big vote in an interview with KPBS, saying he thinks the position should rotate and that Gloria focused too much on “agenda-type driven mentality and ideas” like raising the minimum wage.

Sherman didn’t rely on government wage help as a young man. He said he asked for a $5-an-hour raise at a landscaping job and got it. It also helped that his father hired him at his insurance company, which Sherman later managed.

• Researchers believe that restrictions on housing forced by NIMBYs force up housing costs and “are the American economy tens — perhaps hundreds — of billions of dollars per year.” (Vox)

Threats Against… the Weather Service?!

The Gawker blog is probing the bizarre story of a meteorology fabulist — a guy who spreads weather hoaxes — who “is now under local and federal investigation for using social media to threaten the National Weather Service’s office in San Diego.”

“During the height of the situation in December, employees at NWS San Diego were informed that management had increased security at the building,” Gawker reports, “and that local and federal authorities were actively investigating his threats against the agency.”

Serra’s No Saint, Critics Say

Never mind all those diorama missions that we California natives had to build in fourth grade: There’s a dark history behind Spain’s colonization of the Golden State. As the pope plans to canonize Father Junipero Serra, we’re hearing plenty about it. The NY Times explains: Native American “historians and authors blame Father Serra for the suppression of their culture and the premature deaths at the missions of thousands of their ancestors.”

San Diego County, by the way, is home to not one but two Spanish missions: the most famous one, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, and the somewhat lesser-know Mission San Luis Rey de Francia in Oceanside. San Diego de Alcalá is also known as St. Didacus of Alcalá, lived in the 15th century. San Luis Rey de Francia is St. Louis IX, King of France, who lived in the 13th century.

Quick News Hits: More Cop Cams

• The Sheriff’s Department wants body cameras for its officers. (SD Reader)

• “A drone laden with methamphetamine crashed into a supermarket parking lot in the northwestern Mexican city of Tijuana, just yards from the United States border,” GlobalPost reports. While this story is making waves internationally since a drone is involved, the amount of meth is only about 7 pounds.

• Several local restaurants make Yelp’s “Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. for 2015.” The top local scorer, at No. 8, is La Jolla’s Bobboi Natural Gelato.

• U-T columnist Logan Jenkins takes a look at brochures touting the Panama-California Exposition at Balboa Park in 1915. One declares we’re a place where “January is the same as June, where Summer never dies, where skies are always blue.”

Boosterism gone amok. And it was always thus. As I discovered a while back, a guidebook to San Diego from 1894 brags about a “perfect” sewer system and “swift electric cars” that “glide along with easy, unruffled motion.” Plus “an excellent library of 9,000 volumes, an elegant opera house built at the cost of $100,000, more than five miles of paved streets and 45 miles of graded streets.”

“Two first-class daily newspapers” covered the news, while coastal caves in La Jolla — pronounced “La-hoy-eh” — gave the town “an air of rugged grandeur and zest of danger.”

Eh, huh? Hmm. Now about that “perfect” sewage system

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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