Like the Barrio Logan neighborhood nearby, Logan Heights is a prime example of what happens when the city neglects a poorer part of town and allows a crazy quilt of houses and industry to sit next to each other.

On Commercial Street, homes sit not-so-charmingly next to auto-wrecking plants, scrap metal yards and warehouses. Logan Heights is hardly an ideal place for young urban types, but it’s in the right place: Next to transit and right smack next to downtown. So will it become the next North Park?

It doesn’t look like it. “A new plan for the area is finished and the eastern portion of Commercial Street is set to remain a place for industrial businesses, not people,” VOSD’s Andrew Keatts reports. “That decision has surprised the city councilman for the area and could be another setback in the city’s vision for an urban future.”

But a city planner says the community likes this plan, and some property owners seem to want to keep the industry around. There’s also still a chance things could change.

How Gangs Fill Gaps Left by Law Enforcement

In her new best-selling new book “Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America,” L.A. Times reporter Jill Leovy explores the toll of homicides in black neighborhoods and says law enforcement’s failings allow gangs to flourish.

San Diego doesn’t have the same kind of gang problem as L.A., but deadly gang violence still bloodies the streets of southeastern San Diego. And, as in L.A., blacks are much more likely to be victims of homicide; while Latinos have gangs of their own, they’re not killed in numbers much higher than their portion of the population.

In a VOSD Q-and-A with me, Leovy talks about the roots of society’s neglect of crimes with black victims and her rejection of the usual liberal and conservative platitudes: “There’s romanticism on the left about community and communalism, and there’s romanticism on the right on the power of individual self-improvement.” The truth, she says, is that law enforcement is both too harsh and too weak. (For more, check my story about 6 startling revelations in “Ghettoside.”)

One Paseo Poised to Go 2-for-1

Carmel Valley’s One Paseo project may have beaten back the haters: Opponents filed 60,000 petition signatures in a bid to overturn the City Council’s support of the project, but a huge chunk of them may be invalid after being withdrawn by voters.

A spokeswoman for One Paseo confirms a bit of political skulduggery: It purposefully snapped up signature-gatherers to push a meaningless petition regarding the Chargers.

Not-so-fun fact via KPBS: “If the group is successful, it would be San Diego’s fifth referendum since December 2013. Since 2012, there have been only four local ballot referendum measures combined between the five other biggest cities in California.”

What the Cops See When You Drive By

Cops in the San Diego area use license-plate scanners to track the locations of cars, but no one’s been able to get the police to cough up the data so we can figure out who’s being monitored. It’s one of those “just trust us” situations that we’ve been faced with a lot lately. Not so in Oakland: the Ars Technica website got car-tracking data and finds that “if you have driven in Oakland any time in the last few years, chances are good that the cops know where you’ve been.”

“Where someone goes can reveal a great deal about how he chooses to live his life,” a law professor says. “Do they park regularly outside the Lighthouse Mosque during times of worship? They’re probably Muslim. Can a car be found outside Beer Revolution a great number of times? May be a craft beer enthusiast — although possibly with a drinking problem.”

Politics: Killer Initiative May Get Snuffed

• That wackadoo state ballot initiative calling for the deaths of gay people, by shots to the head or other methods, may not get anywhere near a petition drive. (L.A. Times)

• The left-leaning ThinkProgress news site says San Diego’s lawsuit against the monolith Monsanto company “shows just how hard it is to hold polluters accountable.”

• The inewsource news outlet is once again going after prominent land-use attorney Cory Briggs, a longtime enemy of City Hall types, in a story that features people accusing him of unethical behavior in a case that he took on for free: “In the end, the only one who walked away with anything of value was Briggs.” He’s not talking.

How Cities Pick Your Pockets

This week, HBO comedian John Oliver tackled the menace of municipal fines, which pad city coffers. As Gawker puts it, “a traffic ticket can put a low-income person in an inescapable spiral of additional fees and eventually land them in jail.”

How persistent are cities about chasing scofflaws? Just ask a Seattle man we interviewed a while back: He got a fix-it ticket in 1990, and said he paid the $72 fine. But the San Diego County court system’s collection agency says he didn’t. It found him in 2009, even though he hadn’t been hiding (he’d even bought a house) and wanted him to cough up $322; like a normal person, he hadn’t saved canceled checks for 19 years. So he was in pickle.

At the time, in 2009, the county’s collection agency was trying to track down people who hadn’t paid about 84,000 fines that were at least 9 years old. The take-home lesson: Paid a ticket? Save that canceled check, and save it forever. The government doesn’t care about any measly save-for-seven-years-then-dump-it guideline about financial records.

Quick News Hits: (Non-)Hospitality, Santee-Style

• Sea lion and otter shows are back at SeaWorld after a break while the theme park took care of sick sea lion pups. (L.A. Times)

• The Padres have gone way up in value thanks to new stars. (Forbes)

• Orange County is creaming San Diego County when it comes to “health outcomes.” (L.A. Times)

• Randy Voepel, Santee’s forever mayor (he’s had the job since 2000), is running for state Assembly. ( We know him best for being another one of those ever-quotable East County elected officials: Back in 2012, he snapped back at a Chinese person who dared to ask for his autograph. He’s not a fan of China: “Please accept me as a very determined enemy, as I assume you to be to me.”

Can’t wait to hear what he has to say about his rivals in the legislative race. And if he wins, the Assembly fact-finding trip to China is going to be epic.

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:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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