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Many of us are imagining how self-driving cars might change our commutes and our lives. So is San Diego’s regional planning agency.

SANDAG’s most recent transportation noted driverless vehicles could be a thing by 2025.

Now the agency tells Maya Srikrishnan the 30 miles of express, carpool and bus lanes it’s added on Interstates 15, 5 and 805 could double as testing zones for self-driving and connected cars. (For the uninitiated, connected cars exchange information with other vehicles and street infrastructure like traffic lights.) And SANDAG’s looking to more than triple that mileage over the next three decades.

Srikrishnan explores SANDAG’s latest discussions on the emerging technology and what folks have to say about its current vision.

Sacramento Report: Clearing the Committees

A trio of San Diego lawmakers has gotten big bills through initial committee votes this week.

State Sen. Pat Bates pushed legislation to increase penalties for mega dealers of a dangerous painkiller. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez got support for a bill that aims to give farmworkers protections already given to other workers statewide. And Sen. Ben Hueso continues his quest to add regulations for ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.

Anita Chabria offers details on that legislation and more in the latest Sacramento Report.

Preservationists: Mayor Faulconer’s Ignoring Us

Historic preservation groups are officially peeved with Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

A handful of groups are frustrated with Faulconer’s failure to prioritize appointments on the city’s Historical Resources Board and to consult with them on his picks, Kinsee Morlan reports.

The 11-member board, which weighs in on projects that affect historic structures or places, now has nine members and they’ve all reached the end of their term.

The preservationists say that the group’s current status is “preventing the city’s work from being done” and they’re making their grievances official with a Monday letter to the mayor’s office.

VOSD Podcast: The La Jolla Startup Movement

Local boosters were all about that boosting following entreprenuer’s Andrew Gazdecki recent TechCrunch post about his decision to move his company from San Francisco to San Diego.

Gazdecki joined the VOSD Podcast crew this week to chat about why he decided to move his business app company, Bizness Apps, to La Jolla.

Hosts Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis also talk about the week’s Chargers and Padres news, the latest on the wonderfully-named East Village People brainstorming efforts and more.

Another Chapter in the Water Wars

The Metropolitan Water District and the San Diego County Water Authority really, really don’t like each other.

The two groups have been mired in a years-long battle over water charges and other grievances. Ry Rivard revealed this week that Metropolitan’s refusing to reduce the water delivery rates that the Water Authority – and a judge – said were too steep in hopes another court will have a change of heart.

Now Metropolitan’s looking to raise rates again. In a new commentary, Metropolitan special projects manager Meena Westford doubles down on the message that the Los Angeles-based agency’s choices are based on strong financial practices – and repeatedly dings the Water Authority’s practices.

News Roundup

Cory Briggs, the mastermind behind the Citizens’ Plan initiative, says an absence of political leadership has inspired a Monday meeting with the Chargers to see “if there’s something we can do that’s better for the community.” (Union-Tribune)

A national energy publication digs into San Diego’s Climate Action Plan, particularly its 100 percent clean energy mandate and potential roadblocks to getting there by 2035. (Environment & Energy)

A man who attacked several women in North Park over a four-month span in 2014 was sentenced Friday to at least 57 years in prison. (10News)

Thinking about going solar? Many of your neighbors already have. A new report declares San Diego second in the nation when it comes to solar production per capita. Oh, and the window’s closing on the state’s current deal for solar customers. (Times of San Diego & NBC 7)

A freelance photographer from San Diego has been released by the Syrian government four years after his capture. (Associated Press)

Sen. Ted Cruz is set to rally in Mission Valley on Monday. (CBS 8)

Top Stories of the Week

Our list of the 10-most read VOSD stories of this week is here. Below are the Top 5:

1. Opinion: The Chargers’ Plan Asks Too Much of Taxpayers
The Chargers are asking us to increase the tax paid by visitors while spending less money persuading them to come here. (Chris Cate)

2. San Diego Politicos Pan Chargers’ Convadium Plan
Things seemed to be falling into a place for a downtown convadium. Then the Chargers released their funding plan, and local politicos didn’t have a kind word to say about it. (Lisa Halverstadt and Andrew Keatts)

3. A Hotel Tax Hike Has Been in the Chargers’ Playbook for a Long Time
The gulf between what the Chargers are willing to spend on a stadium, and what San Diego politicians seem willing to contribute, proved too big to bridge. (Scott Lewis)

4. SD Police Hoping to Rehire Retirees — and It Could Save the Chief’s Job Too
A wave of retirements is expected from the San Diego Police Department and Chief Shelley Zimmerman is among them. She’ll be forced out of her job in 2018 unless something changes. (Andrew Keatts)

5. San Diego Explained: Homeless Camp Clean-Ups
The growing downtown homeless population – and increased real estate developments downtown – have prompted a rise in complaints with the city’s environmental services department about trash, abandoned items and waste near increasingly-common homeless encampments. (Lina Chankar)

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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