The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
Over the past 13 years, the city of San Diego has spent $15 million to update 12 neighborhood blueprints known as community plans. So how many are done and adopted? One.
It may not entirely be the city’s fault. One of them, for Barrio Logan, met a bitter end when business-led opponents threw it out with a referendum. Still, it’s clear that the blueprint updates designed to promote wise and efficient growth have “been marked by delay and dysfunction,” reports VOSD’s Andrew Keatts. The system has “been plagued by poor consultant management, trying to do more work than is really necessary, bad decisions and inconsistent funding.”
Now, more blueprint rehabs are on the way for Mission Valley, Clairemont Mesa and Kearny Mesa. “Planners say they’ve learned their lesson and this batch will be different.”
Rallies Reject Gang Prosecution
You’ve likely heard of the local rapper who’s facing a prison term for rapping about gang violence, and we recently told you about another man who could go behind bars for life purely because he (allegedly) showed support for a gang by doing things like posting photos on Facebook.
Prosecutors say the men are guilty of being part of a gang conspiracy. Free-speech rights may not protect them from going to prison. A court hearing today could set them free.
The U-T reports on how citizens, especially the black community, have stood behind the men at rallies and court hearings. The district attorney’s office is unmoved: “It’s about using the law to prosecute a small number of the most active gang members who are responsible for the onslaught of killings and shootings that terrorized San Diego neighborhoods for months.”
Commentary: Hands Off Urban Renewal
In a VOSD commentary, two of San Diego’s top power players call out Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez for her effort to give the City Council power over Civic San Diego, the urban renewal agency born out of the death of redevelopment.
The bill “actually upends Civic San Diego’s whole permitting process, adding unnecessary layers of bureaucracy while creating uncertainty that could scare off developers and inhibit investment,” write Kris Michell, president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, and former Mayor Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Water Reserve’s Down to One Year
In an L.A. Times commentary, water scientist Jay Famiglietti says the state has only a year of reserve water left in reservoirs, while the backup — groundwater — is running out too.
“California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain,” he said. Famiglietti calls for instant water rationing and other action.
Quick News Hits: Late-Night Bites
• A man injured when he stepped into a gopher hole at an Ocean Beach soccer field has won a settlement of almost half a million dollars. He claimed that the city failed to properly control gophers at the property. A spokesman told the U-T that an insurer for a city-hired pest control company will pay the settlement.
• Police departments in San Diego County and elsewhere are quickly equipping cops with body cameras, but NPR finds there’s a problem nationwide: They’re often not on when they need to be. In Denver, they only caught video a quarter of the time during use-of-force incidents, “similar findings have been reported about body-mounted cameras used by police in other U.S. cities, including New Orleans.”
• The U-T profiles the case of a local man who drove home drunk a year ago this month and killed a young graduate student in North County who was merely walking across the street. This was a hit-and-run crash. In recent months, we’ve covered the deep toll of hit-and-run crashes in the community.
• Lindbergh Field has major weaknesses in terms of poor access to public transportation and the claustrophobic, often-mobbed Southwest terminal. But the airport creams the competition when it comes to delays, the news site fivethirtyeight.com reports. Only two of the top 30 airports do better.
• So much for March madness: While they appeared ready for some slap-and-tickle last week, San Diego Zoo giant pandas Gao Gao and Bai Yun did not actually get down to business. So the zoo turned to artificial insemination thanks to its “Frozen Zoo, a repository at the zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research that collects and freezes biological material from hundreds of species, many of them on the brink of extinction.” It’ll be a while before anyone knows if Bai Yun has a bun in the oven. (LA Times)
• Thanks a lot, San Diego State and Salk Institute researchers: Your new study suggests that late-night snacks could spell trouble for the heart. Oh wait: The research is just in flies, not people. Pass the midnight snack. And the 1 a.m. snack, and the 2 a.m. snack…
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.