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Councilman Mark Kersey has unveiled a long-awaited plan to fund infrastructure fixes, and it might look familiar. The problems it’s likely to face might look familiar, too.
“Instead of raising new money through a tax, or identifying things he would cut to free up money, Kersey settled on a multi-decade plan to simply force the city to prioritize decaying streets, facilities and other concrete needs,” Liam Dillon reports.
Kersey’s plan identifies three sources of cash the city was already expecting, and would earmark them specifically for infrastructure. Three years ago, former City Councilman Carl DeMaio pitched a similar funding plan, which quickly stalled.
In the short term, Kersey’s plan is only expected to generate a fraction of what the city estimates it will need to fix its infrastructure backlog. And in the long term, the plan’s chances are far from secure.
Dreaming of a Cross-Border Bike Lane
A businessman in Tijuana and his colleagues have a dream: A binational bike lane. They think that fits into a youth-focused, urban-friendly ethos of local food, craft beer and biking to work.
Now, as VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan explains, there’s no way to bike across the border, although cyclists can dismount and walk their bikes across. There are already plans and cost estimates, but a professor who studies the border says the focus should first be on making things safer for pedestrians.
• The author of a new book titled “Tomorrow Is a Long Time: Tijuana’s Unchecked HIV/AIDS Epidemic” writes in Slate about one of 24 people he and a photographer followed for two years: “During the day Oscar was Beto, a gay man who cruised the park. At night he became a transgender woman, Alessandra, Alé for short, who worked the clubs and the streets in the red-light district known as the Zona Norte.”
Why should we look at HIV in Tijuana in the first place? “Logically, places like Tijuana would be at the top of the list for campaigns to ending AIDS epidemics. But no coordinated effort exists in Tijuana to test people at the highest risk, the cornerstone of any such effort.”
At Last, San Ysidro Construction Begins
A groundbreaking that was a long time coming finally happened Wednesday. Mayor Kevin Faulconer officially kicked off construction on a new sidewalk outside San Ysidro High School where kids have been forced for more than a decade to walk up an extremely dangerous hill to get to school.
Faulconer celebrated the day as a win for his reforms in speeding up the repair process. But that seems like a strange thing to do on this project. Residents expected a sidewalk to go in when the school opened in 2002. Then it was promised to be done in 2010. We highlighted the problem in early 2013. Since then, city leaders told us the project was happening in early 2013, then in mid-2014. And here we are today.
The project costs $15 million and it’s much more than a sidewalk. Plans include widening the road, and adding bike lanes, a retaining wall and guardrails.
Bolts & Rams, Sittin’ in a Tree, P-L-O-T-T-I-N-G?
The Chargers and Raiders, normally bitter rivals, have been busily flirting with each other for months as they’ve pondered sharing a stadium in the L.A. area. Now, the U-T reports, the St. Louis Rams are in the hunt for a partner at a stadium in Inglewood, and they’re interested in both the Chargers and the Raiders.
Meanwhile, the U-T reports, the NFL commissioner says it appears to be impossible for the city of San Diego to keep the Chargers here.
• In a column about the state of keep-the-team efforts, CityBeat’s John R. Lamb shows off his writing skills with this description of Mayor Faulconer: “his sweet spot in governing lay not in the grimy ditches of everyday, sleeves-rolled-up sausage making but rather in the rarefied air of ribbon cuttings, repeated mantra pronouncements and economic boom-time largesse.” That’s not all: he’s also “more attuned to a highball clinking, private suite kind of environment than the raucous realm of the bully mosh pit.”
Opinion: Save Florida Canyon by Dumping Road
Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon has striking natural beauty and serves as a home for animals, plants and cars. One of these is not like the other, and local land planner Vicki Estrada says in a VOSD commentary that it’s time for the road to go: “For the sake of providing a much-needed quality, native experience, Florida Drive must be closed. After 55 years of talking and reading about it, it’s time to take action.”
First-Class Status for Second-Class Carlsbad Airport
Los Angeles has Burbank, Orange County and Ontario. San Francisco has Oakland. Chicago has Midway. And when it comes to a convenient and smaller secondary airport, San Diego has … nada.
Yes, there’s McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad. But no commercial airlines currently serve it, so the public is out of luck unless they can fly their own plane or afford to jump on a corporate jet. Now, there’s talk of change.
“The county Board of Supervisors will vote soon on a new 20-year master plan for Palomar, and North County residents have mixed feelings about the airport’s future,” KPBS reports. The vision includes a possible extended runway that could allow airlines like United to return. Neighbors worry about noise and pollution.
North County Report: Mixed Climate Response
VOSD’s weekly North County Report checks with local governments and finds that there hasn’t been a huge rush to adopt “climate action plans” aimed at developing ways to cut emissions by 15 percent (compared to 2005 levels) by the year 2020. Five North County cities have done so, as has the city of San Diego, which encompasses a chunk of the region. But Oceanside, Del Mar, Solana Beach and the county (which oversees unincorporated areas) haven’t bothered yet.
Quick News Hits: Unbottling a New Wine Law
• The county is thinking about changing the law to more “strictly define what is and what isn’t a San Diego wine and reshape the county’s fledgling, and quickly expanding, wine industry.” (U-T via L.A. Times)
• In a nod to gender neutrality, San Diego State will no longer have a homecoming “king” and “queen.” Instead, students will elect “royals.” (sdgln.com)
• An Arizona band named Okilly Dokilly will play at a local bar later this week. Hi-dilly-ho, what could possibly be going on here, neighborinos? This — and I’m not making it up — is a Ned Flanders tribute band.
In honor of the chipperly Christian “Simpsons” character, fans should consider imbibing the Flanders-style adult beverage he calls a “mimosa”: “A little sparkling water in a glass full of regular water.” De-doodly-licious!
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 (asja.org). Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.