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When you finally make the choice to install solar panels on your home, it can be a very exciting decision. It’s all high-tech devices, environmentally friendly results and it could save you a bunch of money. But just like other gadget purchases, it’s easy to end up with buyer’s regret if you don’t think through all the potential problems that can come with those shiny new toys sitting on your house.

We’ve got your back. Lisa Halverstadt spent some time digging into the dark side of solar power: the gotchas, the risks, the things that can break and the hidden costs few buyers think about. For example, solar panels rarely break, but the device that converts your solar power to the stuff that comes out of your wall? That can break. “You’ll likely pay a few thousand dollars for a new one,” unless you are leasing panels or have a warranty, Halverstadt writes.

And then there’s the really far-out circumstances rooftop solar panel users may have never thought of. Consider this: If fire fighters need to come extinguish a fire at your home, they may need rooftop access. What if your roof is covered in solar panels? New state fire code laws require roofs with solar panels to leave some open space for emergencies, Halverstadt reports.

San Diego County’s Poorest City

A few days back, former state Sen. Wadie Deddeh wrote in to throw support behind political hopeful Mark Arabo, and in doing so made a claim that caught our eye: “El Cajon is the poorest city in the county.” Since there’s plenty of poverty to go around in San Diego County, we decided to check up on the claim.

Turns out, Deddeh is mostly right, depending on which measure of poverty you use. “El Cajon has the highest rate of poverty in San Diego County, at least in terms of the federal poverty line,” reports Zoe Schaver. But if you look at another measure — household incomes — National City actually has the lowest average. And Imperial Beach has higher unemployment than any of them.

The Learning Curve: School Foundations

Last year, we took a long look into the issue of school foundations, which are parent-run fundraising organizations that aim to provide additional funds to particular schools. Now that we know what school foundations are, Mario Koran takes on a simply put question from a district parent: “Is it fair?”

School foundations tend to support schools in wealthy neighborhoods, Koran notes, leaving schools in poorer neighborhoods without the benefits of extra teachers or expanded programs. “The disparities between the have and have-nots are exacerbated,” Koran writes. But schools in the poorest neighborhoods get government help. Middle-class schools may not have a lot of impoverished students or extra government help, nor do they have support from foundations. “They’re often the ones who miss out most,” Koran reports.

School Choice: San Diego Explained

It’s the time of year when parents start thinking about what school they will send their child to for the next school year. Not everyone is thrilled with their neighborhood’s public school, and for those folks San Diego Unified offers a period of “open enrollment” when parents can apply to send their kids to any school they want. Catherine Green and NBC 7’s Catherine Garcia take you to school on the ins-and-outs of navigating open enrollment in our most recent San Diego Explained.

Brewers Got Beeves, Too

San Diego is unarguably the center of gravity in the world of craft beer-making (come at me, Portlanders!). West Coaster Magazine counts 107 operating breweries in the county, with another 46 still in the fermenting stage. But, as The Coast News points out, not a single solitary one of them is located in the city of Encinitas. So what’s beer makers’ beef with that city?

Encinitas claims it doesn’t have a lot of space for the industrial type of building breweries need. There’s also a bunch of hoops a brewery would have to jump through to open in Encinitas; hoops that don’t exist in nearby cities. People in Encinitas are apparently resisting more alcohol permitting in the city, and there’s some hard feelings after a major local brewer had to scuttle plans in Encinitas and move instead to Oceanside. All of this is apparently news to Encinitas officials. “I have never heard that we are ‘anti-brewery,’” Encinitas Planning Director Jeff Murphy said.

Stadium Round-Up: Faulconer ‘Unsophisticated’

Chargers Special Council Mark Fabiani and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith both discussed the state of play on the stadium during interviews on KPBS. Fabiani claimed San Diego is out of time to come up with a solution for this year, adding how he thinks the city’s attempt to rush through an environmental report will lead to problems in the courtroom when someone sues using CEQA, California’s notorious environmental law.

“I don’t think we have a CEQA problem. We have a Chargers problem,” Goldsmith countered, arguing that the Chargers are refusing to negotiate.

Fabiani fired back even harder later in a Q-and-A with 10News. A day after Mayor Kevin Faulconer questioned the Chargers’ commitment to staying in San Diego, Fabiani said Faulconer’s approach has been “remarkably unsophisticated and, so far, singularly unsuccessful.” He went on to criticize some of Faulconer’s previous efforts that have failed, concluding the mayor has a “poor history of predicting legal outcomes.”

Having thoroughly vented against the mayor, Fabiani moved on to the U-T to wonder why the city isn’t more civil to the Chargers. In other cities, Fabiani claimed, “you see a calm, respectful approach both toward the NFL and toward the local team.”

• Fabiani’s reputation continues to precede him, with some in L.A. taking notice. (U-T)

• The honeymoon period in Carson is definitely over, with troubled meetings and accusations of corruption threatening to undermine the whole stadium project there. (L.A. Times)

News Nibbles

• What to do when your deeply dug water well stops producing water in a drought? Dig deeper. (KPBS)

• Reminder: pumping water out of the ground is causing California to literally sink into the ground. (NBC)

No more e-cigarettes or vaping on buses, trolleys or at transit centers. They’re officially banned. (NBC 7)

• Don’t bring your selfie stick to Comic-Con, they’re officially banned, too. (Tech Times)

• A San Diego man will stay on death row thanks to a split decision Thursday by the U.S. Supreme Court. (U-T)

That’s Why They Call You Iceman

Do you find yourself watching airplane stunt pilots operate and wonder what it would be like to fly dangerously in the cockpit with them? Do you dream of participating in “aerial dogfights and wild aerobatic flights with spins, barrel rolls and loops?” Well, dear reader, you are in luck, because a company operating out of Gillespie Field in El Cajon will soon be offering such a stunt plane adventure attraction, where you will be flung into the air at top speed and then be repeatedly abused by gravity, all while you are in (assisted) control. (NBC 7)

On an unrelated note, you should make an appointment to update your will.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. Tell him what you think: voice@s3th.com or via 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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