This post has been updated.

The San Diego region has transformed into a national solar power boomtown, but which areas of the county are their own hot spots for getting energy from the sun? VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt takes a look and finds that solar power clusters tend to be inland, less susceptible to May gray and June gloom, in places like Poway, Scripps Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, Ramona and Lakeside.

People are most likely to go solar if they’re wealthier, own their homes and face big electricity bills because they have lots of space.

Beef Week: Barrio Tensions and Water Rifts

VOSD’s Beef Week continues as we dig into local feuds. Today, we take a look at “The Battle in the Barrio” pitting Councilman David Alvarez, last year’s unsuccessful mayoral candidate, vs. local activist Rachael Ortiz, a onetime family friend who’s become her foe’s top nemesis.

And Beef Week wouldn’t be complete without a look at a major issue on our minds this year: Water. Infighting has long divided Southern California’s major water agencies, with the county water authority battling the entire region’s water district. “In one token of their ongoing struggle, the agencies have spent more than $33 million to fight each other on just one issue,” VOSD’s Ry Rivard reports.

Opinion: Quit Maligning Chaldeans

In a VOSD commentary, Alpine resident and Ghassan Hanna, an American of Iraqi Christian background, calls for an end to “a greater, persistent misunderstanding about our community” in East County. Hanna says a conversation with El Cajon’s mayor Bill Wells, who stepped in it recently, resulted in an agreement “on the need for better communication between El Cajon city officials and other groups within the Chaldean community that represent a wider spectrum of Chaldeans” beyond those who run liquor and grocery stores.

For background on East County tensions, check our previous coverage of a rising star in local politics who’s Chaldean himself. Mayor Wells had said Iraqi Christians in the area were ruffling feathers. “What I’m hearing from my constituents is they’re uncomfortable with the way El Cajon is changing. When they see this new ethnic group coming in and trying to take over, they have problems voting that in,” Wells said.

Judge Criticizes – and Praises – Attorney Briggs

In yet other beefs, inewsource has been feuding with powerful environmental attorney Cory Briggs and publishing multiple stories raising questions about his ethics. Now, a new development: inewsource got a transcript of a court hearing where a judge warned of the serious consequences Briggs might be facing: “Mr. Briggs may be in a whole heap of trouble with not only the State Bar, but potential criminal prosecution.” In the same hearing, the judge also praised Briggs’ legal work.

Stadium Debate Goes Gonzo

U-T sports columnist Nick Canepa is a perennial booster for a new football stadium. Wednesday he tried to capture the post-apocalyptic landscape that would be San Diego without the Chargers. He quoted an academic who says — and I’m not making this up — “historically, there were suicides after the Dodgers left Brooklyn and the Browns Cleveland… I’ve heard of cases of spousal abuse following Super Bowls. San Diego fans will have to go through a grieving process, some will find somewhere else to get their violence fix.”

It’s not clear what he actually means by violence fix. Is he saying suicide rates and abuse cases will go up if the Bolts bolt? We’re checking with him to get clarification.

S.D. Schools Slash Expulsions

KPBS finds that expulsions in San Diego Unified schools have dropped by 60 percent since new rules “gave principals more discretion in expelling students for behavior like smoking, getting in fights and possessing drugs. Previously, 15 offenses got students automatically kicked out of school. Now only five trigger mandatory expulsions.”

We’ve explored the controversy over expulsions in stories about new thinking on discipline and the question of whether the inexperienced teachers who land in poorer schools are more likely to push to expel students because they don’t know how to better handle them.

New Claim in Inmate Suicide Case

“A neighboring inmate of Kristopher Nesmith, the Marine who killed himself at the Vista jail last year, says a guard saw that Nesmith had fashioned a makeshift noose the night before and never placed him on suicide watch,” the U-T reports. The Marine’s family is suing the county, which continues to face questions over the unusually high number of inmate deaths in local jails.

Quick News Hits: Facing Facts

• A remarkable NBC 7 investigation finds that the airport somehow lost more than 270 security badges, with some missing for days or even months.

• More city ratings are in, and we’re doing pretty well when it comes to friendliness to electric cars (No. 5 nationally) and high number of people who work from home, meaning they’re not clogging the streets and buses ( also No. 5 nationally.

• UCSD researchers have developed software that reads the faces of young children to gain insight into how much pain they’re experiencing. The goal is to help doctors and nurses better comprehend pain in young kids, who — like animals — often aren’t able to tell where or how much it hurts.

Now if we can just adjust this technology so it can tell us exactly how much certain San Diegans can’t stand each other. It will really spice up Beef Week 2016!

Correction: The story has been corrected to show that inewsource reporters didn’t attend a court hearing involving Cory Briggs and to add context from the court transcript.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member 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 and follow him on Twitter:

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