In order to win some state money for affordable housing and smart growth developments, those projects need to be near public transit. Maya Srikrishnan reports how San Diego finds itself struggling to compete with Los Angeles and San Francisco for these state dollars.

We’re actually winning some decent money for projects here; $16 million flowed our way from the last round of awards. But SANDAG is still “asking the state to lower the program’s standards for how close projects must be to transit stations, so that more local projects can compete,” Srikrishnan writes. Instead of requiring development to be within half a mile, SANDAG would like projects within a mile to eligible.

• Public transit ridership in San Diego is at an all time high, according to the Metropolitan Transit System. (KPBS)

School Board Contoversy, Explained

It seems like almost every day that we’re telling you about some new development in the saga of San Diego Unified Board President Marne Foster, who said she made a “mistake of the heart” when she threw a private fundraiser for her children where some donors also turned out to be doing business with the district. Interest in Foster’s misdeeds have snowballed since then, including investigations into a $250,000 claim against the district by the father of her son and into her role in the reassignment of a school principal she didn’t like. Mario Koran and NBC 7 San Diego’s Monica Dean break down all the swirling questions for those who might need to catch up in our most recent San Diego Explained.

Fire Rescue Needs Technology Rescue

When you dial 911, you start counting the seconds until help arrives. The city starts counting, too; they want most of their ambulance response times to be within 12 minutes. But NBC 7 reports how a recent technical problem with computers means that accurate response times won’t be able to be reported for the first part of this year. “It was showing ambulances arriving at a scene before they were ever dispatched and so on,” said a fire department official. The department recommends not issuing a report on response times during the effected date range due to the problems.

We’ve often written about the shortcomings of emergency response in San Diego.

Big Lawns, Big Gulps

According to numbers obtained by Reveal, the single top residential water user in San Diego used 4.6 million gallons of water in one year, enough to cover approximately 35 homes of average water use, according to their calculations. Overall in San Diego, 92 residential water users individually used over 1 million gallons of water. That’s compared to use of around 125,000 gallons for average households. “Despite the drought, well-heeled residential customers in affluent neighborhoods are being allowed to use as much water as they want,” Reveal reports.

Who are these unquenchable guzzlers? The water agencies won’t say, saying identifying water users “would raise privacy concerns.”

Oversight For Civic San Diego

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is pushing to get a bill over the finish line that would make projects approved by Civic San Diego eligible to be appealed to the San Diego City Council. Citybeat reports how business opposition to the bill has so-far failed to stop it from getting to Governor Brown’s desk, but the fight isn’t over. Business groups have hired a close friend of the governor to lobby for a veto to the bill. Kris Michell, CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, said stopping the bill is “very important.”

News Nibbles

• A lawsuit against Mark Arabo, filed by members of his own group, the Neighborhood Market Association, alleges Arabo improperly took around $250,000 from the NMA.

• Balboa Park was rated one of America’s top public spaces, KPBS reports. You know what would make it better, though, is a gondola!

• California is trying to lend a hand to people who can’t afford to pay their traffic ticket fines. (NBC 7)

• We previously mentioned KPBS’s investigation into potential wrong-doing at the county’s YMCA. An outside investigation turned up nothing to see, please move along.

• After previous images showing the Union-Tribune’s printing presses being dismantled, a U-T writer posted another picture Thursday saying the presses were themselves being pressed… into scrap.

Blue Angels, New Pilot

If you were near downtown on Thursday afternoon you may have had the chance to catch the Blue Angels flying their trademarked jets over Petco Park. But did you know that, sitting in the cockpit of one of those jets, is the first female pilot to perform as a member of the Blue Angels? That’s Capt. Katie Higgins, and performing tricky maneuvers at top speed is an experience that pales in comparison to her experiences fighting the enemy in Afghanistan, she told the Union-Tribune. “I loved the idea of going out and inspiring excellence to the American people,” Higgins said.

The Blue Angels will be flying in San Diego as part of this weekend’s Miramar Air Show.

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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