Transit and smart growth advocates had hoped a new strategy document from SANDAG, the regional planning agency, would compel or at least encourage cities to plan for development around transit stops, but they’re feeling misled.

The document turned out to be a sort of handbook on what cities might do if they want to build for a future where more people use transit — like almost all of their long-term planning documents say they do. Andrew Keatts reports that Circulate San Diego’s policy lawyer says the new plan from SANDAG “contains no actual policy changes.”

Advocates would prefer SANDAG increase the amount of money they can give to cities, Keatts writes, so that cities can make plans to increase the density of development around transit areas.

In his newest Learning Curve column, Mario Koran wrestles with a question familiar to all parents of school-aged children: “If my wife and I don’t advocate for our child, who will?” Knowing when advocacy has crossed the line into “helicopter parenting” is hard to know, and new technology only serves to tempt parents across that line more quickly.

Koran pulled Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of “How To Raise an Adult,” into the conversation and asked her about the impact of helicopter parenting on children.  “In many ways [schools] have become enablers of overparenting behaviors and are inhibiting opportunities for kids to develop independence,” Lythcott-Haims says. She thinks a district-wide policy that limits parental involvement in student responsibilities might be the way to go, even to the point of penalizing students whose parents are caught interfering.

Lilac Hills: San Diego Explained

If everything went according to plan, Lilac Hills Ranch would eventually get around 100 new homes and continue to be a cozy little place about 15 miles outside Escondido. But developers have big new plans for the place instead, envisioning 1,700 new homes and a busy town full of traffic and businesses. Andrew Keatts has been following this development as it maneuvers around the rules and through the County Board of Supervisors, and he shows how such a change in plans is possible in our most recent San Diego Explained.

Atkins Makes Way, Makes Plans

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins announced her replacement on Thursday, puzzling many who had expected her to keep the search for her replacement quiet until January. Speaker Atkins announced Anthony Rendon would replace her as Assembly Speaker in January.

Meanwhile, San Diego Citybeat peers under the hood of San Diego politics and finds some potential for democrat-on-democrat action may be brewing. Atkins has hinted she might just take a run at State Senator Marty Block when she is done with the assembly. “It might be a bloodbath,” labor leader Micky Kasparian says.

Atkins staffer Dave Rolland made the case that getting a successor for speaker so soon is exactly what Atkins planned. She’s been speaker since May 2014 and will hand over the office in January. But she’ll still have a year left in the Assembly.

State Opens Up Crime Database

A new searchable state database has been published on the state government’s website, and it “paints a clearer picture of the racial disparity in arrests and deaths across California,” NBC 7 reports. African Americans, for example, account for only six percent of California’s population, yet they account for 25 percent of deaths that happened while in custody. Of 6,837 in-custody deaths between 2004 and 2014, 10 percent were suicides, NBC 7 writes.

Familiar Pension Boss

The man brought in to clean up the city of San Diego’s troubled pension system nearly a decade ago was hired Thursday to take the reins of the county’s $10.6 billion pension system on a permanent basis, the Union-Tribune reports.

David Wescoe will become CEO of the San Diego County Employees Association on Sept. 18 and continue to supervise 80 employees working on behalf of 39,000 county employees and retirees. Wescoe has been working as interim CEO under a consultant contract that pays $25,000 a month since April 2015, when longtime SDCERA CEO Brian White abruptly resigned. Since then, Wescoe’s overseen an overhaul of the agency’s investment methods and helped build a new executive team that includes recruits from the city pension fund, as well as an in-house chief investment officer, moving away from the costlier outsourced job used in recent years.

More Short-Term Rental Shuffling

City Councilman Chris Cate on Thursday published his thoughts about how the city should deal with Airbnb hosts and similar short-term vacation rentals. Cate wants the city to fund three new police officer positions to handle strict enforcement of the proposed rules. Cate also zeroed in on the issues city staffers left up for debate: how many visitors are allowed, and how often. He suggested the city shouldn’t put limits on the number of visits and that the city stick with state guidelines on how many folks can occupy an Airbnb. Cate has been out in front of the Airbnb issue early and often.

News Nibbles

• A sports columnist in LA thinks some other NFL team might be interested in just fixing up Qualcomm. Insiders here in SD told us there is no way the Q survives.

120 iPads have been stolen from San Diego High School, Fox 5 reports. Yeah, those iPads.

• Brian Fennessy is the new fire chief of San Diego, the NBC 7 reports. What does he like? Our Liam Dillon hears he likes two-man fire crews that increase coverage and bring down response times.

• District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis doesn’t think juveniles should be able to apply to have their felony crimes reclassified as misdemeanors under Prop 47, and she’s taken it to the California Supreme Court. (LA Times)

• San Diego is one of many American cities sprouting Muslim-friendly billboards in an effort to get out what organizers call the “true message of Islam”. (New York Times)

• California State Lifeguards wear GoPro cameras and save people’s lives so you don’t have to. (Fox 5)

• Add another strange lawsuit to the list of lawsuits flying around over the closure of Haggen’s grocery stores in California. One employee says she was fired when she complained the store’s prices were higher than advertised. (LA Times)

Stadium Throws Curveball

Some things go together naturally. Take for example peanut butter and chocolate, or Doritos Cool Ranch chips and taco shells. And now: ball games and prostate exams. Scripps Health has teamed up with the Padres to offer men, who probably thought they just wanted a casual day at the park cheering the home team, the exciting opportunity to have their prostate checked out. Men over 50 can receive blood testing and “digital rectal exams” privately in a mobile unit, with results delivered by email later on, Times of San Diego writes.

Maybe watching the Padres hold down fourth place in the NL West doesn’t seem so bad, after all.

Correction: We apologize for spelling Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins’s name incorrectly in the original post.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall is co-founder of the community group San Diego Privacy, which is a member of the TRUST SD Coalition.

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