You may not realize it when you put the black and blue bins by the curb each week, but San Diego has a mightily complicated trash removal system. The city and 11 private haulers serve the city, and their routes often criss-cross — not good for our decaying roads.

It might make sense to shrink those 12 trash haulers to one, but that’s not a likely scenario. Another idea is to allow the haulers to operate in specific geographic zones, a prospect that the city auditor believes will save consumers money.

Not so, say trash haulers, who want to delay a decision and, they contend, preserve competition. “What is the difference between the trash haulers and UPS and FedEx — how many times do they go up and down the street?” one local official tells VOSD’s Ry Rivard.

Whatever the case, the city in 2009 backed down on its bid to change things, and things seem to be locked in for years.

San Diego Raiders?

For those following the Chargers soap opera, two entries for you. Vincent Bonsignore at the LA Daily News writes that he has spent some time recently with Chargers owner Dean Spanos and “his concern about missing out on Los Angeles while he waits out what he considers a doomed San Diego stadium plan is real.”

Bonsignore is also the lead distributor of the theory that if the Chargers move to LA, the Raiders may move to San Diego. Oakland is a mess, he writes, and the NFL has stopped engaging the Bay Area with the Raiders.

Which brings us to your second read: The U-T’s Dan McSwain tries to explain what is happening in Oakland as that city tries to keep the Raiders. McSwain introduces us to the Rancho Santa Fe businessman, Floyd Kephart, who has arranged himself at the center of Oakland’s drama.

Convention Center Corrections

One of the amusing parts of the big study the Convention Center Corporation released Monday that persuaded the mayor to try again for an expanded facility — but not for a separate building — was how it referred to the city’s Tourism Marketing District, or TMD. The TMD adds 2 percent to the city’s 10.5 percent hotel-room tax.

But that 2 percent increase was never put to a vote of the people. Tax increases have to go to a vote of the people. It was that reality that shut down the last Convention Center expansion after a court ruled that the hotel-room tax hike the city came up with to pay for it needed to go to the voters.

Thus, the city steadfastly maintains that TMD is not a tax — it’s a self assessment of hotels. But throughout its recent report, the consulting firm Conventions Sports and Leisure, calls it the “TMD Tax.”

At least, it did. Along with another correction, the consultants are reissuing the report and will use the “correct wording.”

We also have two corrections on that story: Scott Lewis wrote that the hotel across the street from the Convention Center near Petco Park would be 600 rooms. But it would be 1,600. JMI Realty wants to build that hotel in conjunction with a separate campus of the Convention Center. The mayor, however, wants to pursue just a bigger facility on the waterfront. But his team asked Lewis to clarify that the mayor is not opposed to the separate campus — it’s just not his preference.

More Debate on Releasing Cop Cam Video

Jeffrey Jordon, vice president of the San Diego police officers union, tells us via Twitter that he thinks prosecutors should release video evidence in cases where cops face accusations once there’s a decision to not file charges: “personally I think this is where DA has obligation to present evidence publicly and explain decision.” We and other local media organizations are fighting in court to force the release of video of a fatal shooting by an SDPD officer.

• Cops across the nation are fearing for their safety thanks to a perception that there’s “a newfound willingness to do harm to those in uniform,” the NY Times reports.

Statistics show that the number of officers killed in assaults is in line with last year, when the number rose sharply.

Politics Roundup: Get Roberts

• “If you relish the smash-mouth chess of politics, you’ll love this race,” writes the U-T’s Logan Jenkins. What’s the race? For the county supervisor seat now held by embattled Democrat Dave Roberts. What the heck is “the smash-mouth chess of politics”? Dunno. Deciphering that verbiage is above my pay scale.

Anyway, Jenkins helpfully digs into the race, which looks to pit Roberts against two GOPers: Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar, a moderate in the Kevin Faulconer mold, and Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, who’s far more conservative.

The big questions so far: Who’ll be able to raise money in a potentially expensive race? Whom will incumbent supervisors endorse? And where will challengers stand on the big, proposed Lilac Hills Ranch project in Valley Center? We published an investigation examining how the project is trying to barrel through various obstacles, including the county’s own blueprint.

• A certain prominent, car-elevator-adjacent La Jolla resident is not pleased about the rise of Donald Trump and may do something about it. Or maybe not.

Culture Report: It’s Back!

The Culture Report, our weekly look at local arts and culture news, has returned! It’s now being helmed by Kinsee Morlan, a veteran of the local arts journalism scene who’s now VOSD’s engagement editor.

In this week’s edition: A bookstore/arts center in Carlsbad called Lhooq/exrealism (don’t try to pronounce that at home) is facing a zoning struggle for its life, UCSD faces a flap over the demolition of a crafts center, a new theater company and murals galore.

PETA Targets Horse Deaths in Del Mar

The Del Mar racetrack says 7 horses died this summer from injuries on the track. PETA says the number is higher, and it is demanding an investigation on animal cruelty grounds. (U-T)

In 2012, the NY Times published a shocking expose about “lax oversight” contributing to the deaths of thousands of racehorses. Last summer, a rash of horse deaths left the Del Mar track struggling with a public relations disaster.

San Diego to Get Fish Farm

• NPR reports on a Hubbs-SeaWorld partnership that will build the largest fish farm in the country, four miles off our coast. For more, check our coverage about how this could change the seafood industry.

• Water conservation is wreaking havoc on pipes, reducing recycling and zapping water agencies in the budget. (LA Times)

Quick News Hits: Jerks on a Plane

• It’s official: L.A. will be the U.S. bidder for the 2024 Olympics, raising the prospect of events in our county. In a related story, I’m going to get on the 405 now to beat the traffic.

• A UCSD professor appears in an NY Times story about a big problem facing self-driving cars: They follow rules, but other drivers don’t. “The real problem is that the car is too safe,” the professor says. “They have to learn to be aggressive in the right amount, and the right amount depends on the culture.”

• Today in allegations: San Diego soccer players were jerks at 30,000 feet, causing a planeload of Southwest fliers to take a detour to Amarillo, and a stage-bound Taylor Swift fan found new digs at the county jail.

• Ex-presidents keep making the news, and not for the right reasons. But your name is safe, San Diego’s McKinley Elementary School.

• Signs, signs, everywhere a sign in the Crown City, and a Coronado councilman has absolutely had it: He says the city needs to get rid of about 200 annoying signs. Who needs ’em, he says, especially since it’s easier to get around thanks to map-happy smartphones.

Clearly, he’s never argued with Siri over whether an off-ramp actually exists. Not that I’d know anything about that.

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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