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You might have heard bits and pieces about whether the city is ready to flush all the water expected to fall when El Niño really hits. There’s a push among officials to declare an emergency pre-emptively.

They’re also working to assign blame for getting us into this mess.

Our Ry Rivard makes sense of it all in a new story.

City officials say a lack of preparation is because of burdensome environmental regulations. Typically, getting a permit to do flood control work needs approval from up to six agencies and takes more than a year. The city wants those rules waived so they can get to work fast.

Cory Briggs, an environmental attorney who fought some of the city’s flood control work in the past, has a different take, you might imagine: “It is hard to believe that the city – as incompetent as it is when it comes to things like properly maintaining its flood channels – has not learned its lesson. Thus, I’m left having to ask a question that is in no way intended to be rhetorical: Are you trying to get someone killed?”

Area property owners — tens of thousands work or live in flood-prone areas — are caught in the middle.

DA Drops Warrant on San Diego Schools

Sunday night we posted a story about how San Diego Unified School District’s investigation into one of its board members has now been delayed by many weeks and appears to have missed some important questions.

Now we learn it is being suspended and trumped by a probe from District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. The district sent out an announcement Thursday that prosecutors persuaded a judge to serve the district with a warrant “seeking information relevant to a criminal investigation they are conducting into the conduct of Trustee Marne Foster.”

So we now have a confirmed criminal investigation into an elected official going on.

• Mario Koran has an update on how San Diego Unified decides what to spend construction bond money on in this week’s Learning Curve. We’ve had a lot of big announcements lately about money for new schools and universal air conditioning. Koran explains what’s going on as best he can.

San Diego Explained: The Video and the Shooting

Liam Dillon went out with our partners at NBC 7 San Diego to explain exactly what’s going on with our petition to a let the family of a man who was killed in the Midway area by a police office release a video of the shooting.

Again, it’s not a video the police took, and the family wants the video out.

There’s a crucial hearing next week about our case.

The State of the Driveway Newspapers

I asked Randy Dotinga a while back to check in on the state of community newspapers in San Diego. After all, the Union-Tribune purchased a bevy of them when it’s former owner, Doug Manchester, was in one of his acquisition moods.

Turns out, things aren’t so dire though some still predict their demise.

“Certainly it’s not the heyday we used to enjoy, and we’re all working harder to be where we used to be. But community papers have weathered the storm with the recession much better than the dailies,” said David Mannis, publisher of six community papers like Uptown News and Gay San Diego.

Those Signature-Gatherers and This Day in Chargers Drama

I went on KPBS Midday Edition Thursday to try to explain the so-called Citizen’s Plan. If you go out shopping, you might run into a signature-gatherer telling you to save Comic-Con. That’s about the Briggs plan.

I wrote about the genius and problem with the initiative a couple weeks ago.

Signature-gatherers, I hear, are not allowed to promote it as a way to build a stadium. But that drama kept on keeping on Thursday.

The Union-Tribune revealed that Chargers owner Dean Spanos and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer had a meeting at the end of November. Not really a big deal, though as Spanos, of course, went on to lobby hard in front of his fellow owners for a move to Carson.

Spanos’ bid for Carson seems to have gotten quite a jolt from the news that Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, would invest in one of the teams and lead the stadium project if the NFL decides to do it. Thursday, Iger courted reporters and made a presentation to the NFL’s L.A. committee. Turns out, it was Carolina Panters owner Jerry Richardson who recruited Iger to the cause.

Quick Hits

The city of San Diego’s largest employee labor union secured a new contract and raise (Union-Tribune).

The eighth-best-paid employee in San Diego last year was firefighter who earned $26,600 in base pay and $210,500 in overtime. (Union-Tribune)

Real estate sales seem to have taken a plunge (KPBS) and there is an appraiser shortage.

I’ve been bugging Rich Toscano for weeks for an update on the state of the housing market. But the U-T actually called him and got him to proclaim that housing is expensive but nothing like it was during the bubble. I’ll get him to put it in charts or he’ll be dead to me.

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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