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California gets more than 5 percent of its power from solar energy, and state officials want to boost that number. VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt looks at the state’s existing targets and new ones on the state and local front.

What’s behind all this? “One goal has forced utilities to ramp up the power they’re getting from renewables and that’s helped the state exceed its targets for large-scale projects. The other success story gave home and business owners rebates to go solar, making the decision easier for those with hefty energy bills. Meanwhile, a slowdown in home building also slowed a state push to put solar panels on new homes.”

Quick Guide to the Urban Renewal Fuss

Real talk: The latest struggle over the future of Civic San Diego is a little hard to understand — in large part because the agency itself is hard to understand. It rose from the ashes of redevelopment, it’s been going through a bit of an identity crisis ever since and even its own board members are seeking clarity on the organization’s responsibilities.

So, we’ve put together a guide to the big controversy over the future of the city-run nonprofit.

More Newspaper News

The pending purchase of the U-T by Tribune is still spawning stories. On Friday, we took a look at the challenges facing the new owners and explored how Manchester’s big dreams didn’t come true.

The L.A. Times says a regional strategy is afoot, and the U-T reports that the paper’s new publisher wants to embrace a new digital future. The story hints at one big challenge: The U-T may be printed in Los Angeles, forcing early deadlines and making it difficult to fit in late news like scores from sports games.

• U-T columnist Logan Jenkins reminisces about another time a big Chicago media company named Tribune swung into town to snatch up a newspaper. He also calls Manchester a “swashbuckling entrepreneur.”

VOSD Podcast: Economist Slams Regulations

How come homes cost so much in our not-always-so-fair city? Point Loma Nazarene University economist Lynn Reaser is out with a report that blames the rules. Reaser is the guest on this week’s VOSD podcast: “There is a very large premium that everyone pays in San Diego County for inefficiencies, lack of streamlined processes, redundancies and really poor governance … There’s no incentive to be efficient.”

Legislator in the Firing Line

“The Capitol’s big guns came out recently — and they were aimed at a 66-year-old grandmother who dared to buck two of California’s most powerful political interests — teacher and cop unions,” writes Sacramento columnist Dan Walters.

He’s talking about local legislator Shirley Weber, a Democrat who usually keeps a fairly low profile but has suddenly grabbed attention for trying to tinker with teacher tenure (her bill is dead) and set strict rules about cop body cameras.

Weber, a San Diego State professor emeritus, landed this zinger at an Assembly committee meeting about the tenure bill: “When I see what’s going on, I’m offended, as a senior member of this committee who has probably more educational background and experience than y’all put together on top of each other.” Then she went after a colleague: “You’re going to rape me, rape my bill, and take it as your own?”

Fire Season May Be Tardy

The rain late last week will delay fire season — but not for long: “It might buy you seven to 10 days, where it really moistens things up, but for the long term outlook it’s not going to be that big of an impact,” a meteorologist tells KPBS.

Another meteorologist, also from the National Weather Service, tells the U-T that the rain might buy us two weeks before we need to fear Santa Anas. Last year’s big wildfires popped up in the unusual month of May. (U-T)

• Should we stop building during the drought? The U-T asks economists this question, which we’ve examined too.

• If you think we have it bad here with the drought, Slate says it’s worse in Arizona.

Recycled sewage still grosses people out. Of course, all the water we drink once had all sorts of nasty stuff in it but is diluted and treated so we don’t notice or think about its gross origin story. (NYT)

Violent Farmworker Protest in Baja

• Violence broke out over the weekend about 200 miles south of San Diego as Mexican farmworkers protested their poor treatment. “Farmworkers have been seeking higher wages, at least $13 per day,” the L.A. Times reports.

Reporting by the Times about labor abuse spawned a coalition of government officials, growers and Wal-Mart, which buys produce from the area, but that wasn’t enough.

Briggs vs. Inewsource: Update

Prominent attorney Cory Briggs has withdrawn his legal demand that the Inewsource news outlet cough up details about how it got information for a story about a tangled situation involving his personal and professional lives. Legal fighting appeared likely to continue until Briggs said he got the information he wanted from City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

The executive director of Inewsource says the demand was a “ruse to distract us from our reporting and to force us to spend money on legal costs.” The news outlet “contends the subpoena was in retaliation for the stories we have published over the past two months about Mr. Briggs’ business practices and conflicts of interest.”

Quick News Hits: Rolling Stoned

• The most popular story on our site last week was our investigation into questions about the fatal police shooting of an unarmed young man in Mira Mesa three years ago. Check out the full Top 10 list here.

• The convention center may be killing its own prospects for expanding without splitting itself. (U-T)

• The new tour by the Rolling Stones (insert aging-rockers joke here) begins in San Diego on May 24 at Petco Park. Reminds me of a story (insert chin-stroking reminiscing music here) …

Back in the day, the Stones were playing at the football stadium, and I got some co-workers together at the Escondido newspaper to go see them. As we were organizing things, our strait-laced editor-in-chief walked by. He wanted to know what was going on. I asked him to join us at the concert.

Oops. To the eternal regret of my co-workers, who were hoping to enjoy the concert with the appropriate recreational enhancers on board, he said yes. Everybody was on their best behavior even amid the haze of other concertgoers who weren’t.

Pro-tip: Don’t try this at home. Or at work.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). 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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