A Carmel Valley shopping center and its owner really don’t want a $650 million residential and commercial project next door. They can’t stand the One Paseo development so much that they’ve spent more than $1 million since July in a bid to kill it off.

Records reveal that the money has supported lobbying efforts and the group What Price Main Street? The developer of One Paseo claims to have spent just $100,000 on lobbying since October, but a project opponent says other lobbying spending is wrapped up in its long effort to get the project approved.

What’s with a “neighborhood group” taking so much money from business? “Under the marketing juggernaut of Kilroy spending unlimited funds, it became clear that our grassroots organization could not stay in the fight alone,” explains a member of What Price Main Street? “We recently decided that if we were going to be accused regardless of what we did, we might as well work together to get our message out.”

Holy Cow, Look at This Thing!

There have been some mighty weird proposals for projects at the waterfront, but nothing may be stranger than this new one that’s to be discussed today: an observation tower (think a demon child of the Seattle Space Needle and the SeaWorld Skytower) “Resembling a giant coffee press with a double-helix rail carrying 10-passenger gondolas.” (U-T)

Transit Drama Roundup

“The North County Transit District improperly handled millions of dollars in federally funded contracts in recent years, a consultant’s report has found, highlighting missed opportunities to save taxpayer money,” the U-T reports. The news outlet Inewsource has extensively reported on problems at the agency.

• Remember those plans to extend the trolley up to the UCSD area? The president’s proposed federal budget includes $150 million for the project, which will presumably need to clear some NIMBY hurdles. (KPBS)

• SANDAG, the coalition of local governments, has its eye on a sales-tax increase for the ballot in 2016 to pay for things like improvements to the transportation system. As we explained, its leaders have been thinking about a ballot measure for quite a while.

Politics Roundup: Capped

• The county board of supervisors has officially set limits on how much political parties can spend on county-level elections: $25,000 on individual supervisor races and $50,000 for countywide offices like sheriff and district attorney. (City News Service)

Why this? Why now? Well, U-T Logan Jenkins reports, GOP state Senator Joel Anderson is thinking about running for county supervisor in 2016 in a bid to oust forever-incumbent Dianne Jacob. Anderson, Jenkins writes, “was the huge elephant in the room.”

• A historic plot of land in Point Loma once owned by Joseph Jessop is the site of a neighborhood row. Locals are protesting the plan of the current owner to keep Jessop’s old house but get permission to build three others on the land. Organizers say they’ve gathered 700 signatures to oppose the plan. (NBC)

• Chris Ward, a candidate to replace Councilman Todd Gloria when he has to leave office in 2016, writes in the national gay publication advocate.com about the continuing importance of electing LGBT people into public office.

• The county grand jury says the city’s system for setting salaries for City Council members is “fundamentally flawed.” The council members and the mayor haven’t gotten a raise since 2003: they make just $75,386 and $100,464, respectively. The grand jury thinks voters should consider a measure that would base salaries on a benchmark like the inflation rate. (City News Service)

Quick News Hits: A Penny for Your Paper?

• VOSD’s weekly Culture Report highlights a new production of a timely 1950s play about race, a free San Diego Opera performance, and art by prisoners on display at an upscale sandwich shop. Plus: Surfer talk!

• The Columbia Journalism Review examines the possible purchase of the U-T by mogul Malin Burnham and turns up a tidbit of news: He’s asked the San Diego Foundation, the Jewish Community Foundation and National University to consider overseeing a deal (but not putting up money). Last year, we took a look at what we know and don’t know about talk of the U-T’s potential sale.

• One of the big factors in a new stadium efforts is the fact that cities finance those projects with tax-exempt bonds. Proceeds from a private company cannot pay off more than 10 percent of those bonds. So that means if you use those bonds, a team like the Chargers, for example, could not pay for more than 10 percent of the debt. President Obama, however, has just ruffled some feathers proposing a change to that rule. Politico says it is unlikely to pass, though.

• The controversial mini-Target in the South Park neighborhood is now scheduled to open in October, a few months later than planned. (U-T)

• The state used a lot less water in December than the previous year. Rain had a lot to do with it. (AP)

• KPBS hears from a couple fans of the Balboa Park carousel and discovers that it’s older than the current 100-year-old incarnation of the park itself. A couple nifty tidbits: a once-famous Hollywood actor got kicked off the carousel for being too soused, and some of those horse tails are real. And the carousel may be home to “the only active ring toss game west of the Mississippi.” (Yes, we’ll look into fact-checking that.)

• The Wall Street Journal checks in with a San Diego State professor who’s confirmed a not-too-surprising theory: High-strung Type A people are more punctual than laid-back Type B people.

Considering how San Diegans are often both passive (dude) and aggressive (DUDE!), it would seem like we’d be somewhere in between: not on time but not too late either. At least I think that’s what the study says. It’s hard to read without the light on. But don’t mind me. I’ll just sit here in the dark…

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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