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Our Andrew Keatts spent a good part of the last year learning how the city of San Diego’s permitting works and unlocking data about it. He has pulled together his  key insights from the effort.

For one, it’s not so clear that developers always want to develop. During tough economic times, developers themselves can be the reason a permit is held up. This showed up clearly in 2008, when markets were crashing. “Things slowed down because developers didn’t really want things to go fast anymore,” Keatts wrote. Another: if developers play by the rules, which are laid out in a community’s official plan, permits happen really fast.

Just one problem: Of the 12 community plans the city has been working on updating, it has only successfully implemented one. Can you guess which one?

• For this week’s San Diego Explained, Keatts and NBC’s Cathering Garcia break down why the city has struggled to update those community plans. When community plans are not updated, you end up with more controversies like the One Paseo development. The community where that project is proposed, Carmel Valley, hasn’t updated their plan since 1975. Keatts and NBC 7’s Catherine Garcia showed how out-of-date plans can lead to problems for neighborhoods in our most recent San Diego Explained.

The Learning Curve: How Parents Choose Schools

We recently kicked off The Learning Curve, a column helping readers understand the workings of San Diego’s schools. We asked you to send your questions to Mario Koran and have been hearing from you. Koran dove into the fray on Thursday with explanations on why parents can choose which school they send their kids to, and how it works.

The next question was how to make that decision.

One metric parents can look at is a school’s API score, Koran wrote, but those scores are old and may be a thing of the past. “You can get a pretty good sense of a school’s attributes by looking at School Accountability Report Cards,” Koran writes.

Aguirre vs. Chargers, Party Like It’s 2005

Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre sent in an op-ed with thoughts of a former time when a new stadium was under consideration in San Diego. Last time, it was the Padres looking for public support for a new stadium they wanted downtown. Their tactics to earn support, Aguirre remembers, were notably different than those used by the Chargers. “Padres CEO Larry Lucchino used a good old grassroots campaign to win support,” Aguirre wrote. “The Chargers need to… stop using their superior market power muscle to force us to spend money we do not have.”

Think he’s full of it? Contact Catherine Green about getting your own opinions posted or submit it here.

• ESPN looked into billionaire Stan Kroenke who “sparked NFL chaos” with his plan to build a stadium in Inglewood.

• U-T San Diego noted that AEG, a giant sports conglomerate who owns a stadium in Carson, thinks the Carson and Inglewood stadium plans are “an open invitation to litigation” due to how those cities handled the environmental review requirements.

• Mayor of Los Angeles: plan for downtown stadium not quite dead yet! (LA Times)

• Meanwhile at home, the chair of the committee tasked with finding a proposal that keeps the Chargers in San Diego said the group will have a plan by May. There was very little news in his presentation to the City Council except that they’ve decided not to approach San Diegans about a tax increase to make it happen. (KPBS)

Identity in the Eyes

The U.S. Border Patrol announced it’s rolling out a new system that will take detailed pictures of people’s faces and eyeballs at border crossings. The program will start at the Otay Mesa border crossing and will initially target non-U.S. citizens. One of the benefits of the “Pedestrian Biometric Experiment” will be to “test the viability of facial and iris image capture in an outdoor land exit environment.” It’s unclear how the data collected by the system will be stored or used, KPBS reported.

Water Worries

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday said California needs to put a rush on implementing emergency drought relief legislation, KPBS reported. Brown wants to see money already approved by voters make its way to its intended targets much more quickly than law currently allows.

The blog Marginal Revolution thinks California has plenty of water, just not enough for unlimited water use at no cost.

News Nibbles

• Our Sara Libby talked to The California Report about Bonnie Dumanis’ failed prosecution of a San Diego man who was caught doing nothing except being friends with the wrong people.

• Are you a taxi cab company who can’t compete with ride-sharing services? Maybe try suing. (KPBS)

• Questions continue to swirl around the $3.3 billion California ratepayers are on the hook for after the San Onofre Nuclear power plant was forsaken. (NBC 7)

• UC San Diego is trying to evict the Che Cafe again. (NBC 7)

• The CEO of the county’s pension system is resigning. Our Scott Lewis called his a “fascinating stint.” You might find his explanation of the county pension’s decade in 350 words handy.

• A documentary of San Diego’s underground music scene called “It’s Gonna Blow” is floating around, trying to find support. (Boing Boing)

Tough Choices

We fans of snacks sometimes must make difficult choices. Chips with salsa or guacamole? Cool Ranch shell on our tacos, or Nacho Cheese shell? San Diego’s Donut Bar has done us a favor. No longer will we have to choose between having a donut or a Pop Tart in the morning. Thanks to modern technology and the hipsterization of everything, we we will now have a donut with a Pop Tart inside of it, KRON 4 reported.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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