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Once upon a time, San Diego was going gangbusters on population growth, adding an average of 30,000 people from domestic migration alone per year from 1970 onward. But in 1990, that flow of new residents from other parts of the country stopped, and all of the region’s growth started coming solely from babies being born and people living longer. But that didn’t stop officials who estimate population growth from dreaming big by continuing to predict strong growth for San Diego’s population into the future. Those official projections have been overestimating growth ever since, Andrew Keatts reports.
“Long-term projections still haven’t found their footing,” Keatts writes, and getting those estimations wrong has serious impacts for how the city plans its future. San Diego has hit a wall on growth primarily because of that old saw: housing prices. Young adults “are not able to afford suitable housing to raise their families and therefore move elsewhere,” Keatts writes.
Solar’s Golden Era Ending
For a while, installing solar panels has been referred to by some as a “no-brainer” decision for many power consumers. That’s because solar panels helped get the biggest consumers of energy down into lower rate tiers, so they could pay far less for the power they do use from the grid. As part of her quest to understand the solar industry’s impact on San Diego, Lisa Halverstadt reports on how the days of no-brainers might be over.
Officials are “deciding how to transition to fewer energy usage tiers, which would result in a smaller gulf in rates between high- and low-energy users,” Halverstadt writes. If the lower-tier rates don’t stay super low, that might make solar panels a harder sell. Other incentives for solar panel users are set to expire as well, which adds even more hesitation for solar shoppers.
Lincoln Club Honcho Talks Shop
Ryan Clumpner, perhaps best known locally for running Carl DeMaio’s 2012 mayoral campaign, is now the executive director of the Lincoln Club of San Diego County. That’s an organization infamous for its role in trying to get their conservative candidates elected, sometimes using controversial political mailers. For our most recent episode of special podcast conversations, Scott Lewis sat down with Clumpner to talk political shop, his rise to the fore of the Lincoln Club, his organization’s approach to raising the minimum wage and what he thinks is going on in the debate over a new Chargers stadium.
Lewis previously interviewed labor leader Micky Kasparian, who offered contrasting opinions about many issues currently impacting San Diego.
Balboa Park Plan Back From the Dead
In 2011, we were all talking about a controversial plan for Balboa Park that would rid the Plaza de Panama of cars by building major new infrastructure, a plan backed financially by Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs. A group sued to stop the so-called “Jacobs Plan,” and in 2013 a judge agreed with their argument, blocking the plan. Mayor Bob Filner would later order the plaza’s parking lot painted over, and barriers installed to block cars.
But the San Diego city attorney’s office continued to defend the Jacobs Plan in court, and on Thursday an appeals court reversed the decision blocking the plan. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the victory may be “hollow” if interest in the project has been lost due to delay, the U-T reports.
At Long Last, a New Ambulance Contract
The City Council on Monday will decide whether a new contract with Rural/Metro, the company providing ambulance services to the city, has earned its stamp of approval. The U-T reports that services would improve, with more ambulances on the road more often, but at a cost. “Patient fees would increase 9 percent under a proposed five-year contract extension,” the U-T writes.
The city has been trying to get a better deal on ambulance services for a long, long time now, but the new contract deal arrives ahead of some projections that said a deal may not happen until 2017.
• County Supervisor Dave Roberts has been appearing in every news outlet he can, explaining how offended he is by allegations made by his former staff against him.
• Five years after the homicide of Anastasio Rojas at the hands of border agents, still no justice in sight. (KPBS)
• During this drought, don’t bother watering your lawn. It will probably get plenty of water when one of the city’s chronically failing water mains breaks and floods your neighborhood. (NBC 7)
• inewsource continues its look into the web of nonprofit companies related to the complicated operations and lawsuits of local environmental attorney Cory Briggs.
• Bicycle thefts in San Diego are becoming such a problem (“millions” stolen each year!) that police are recommending locking up your bike even if it is stored indoors. (NBC 7)
• Pacific Beach will get its very own authorized marijuana dispensary. (U-T)
• San Diego’s Lifeguard Services is over-run with old white dudes and needs more money to ensure public safety, according to city auditors. (San Diego Reader)
When Fit People Rule
Athletes are taking over San Diego this weekend with two big events, one focused on promoting cycling and the other on promoting jogging in the fast lane of highways.
San Diego Bike to Work Day 2015 was postponed at the last minute earlier this month, and its do-over is today. Pit stops will be open across the city from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. where cyclists can meet up for support and assistance. You’re on your own for the ride home, though.
On Sunday, runners racing in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon will take the streets by storm, and will share their glorious suffering with all San Diegans by shutting down a whole bunch of roads, including a chunk of Highway 163 North. Here’s a handy guide of all the ramp closures to avoid (or a Google Map if that’s your thing).
Correction: An earlier version of this post misrepresented the way in which San Diego’s population growth changed beginning in 1990.
Seth Hall is a local writer, technologist, and lover of all athletes. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.