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San Diego’s landmark Climate Action Plan gained national attention, precisely because of one thing: It is legally enforceable.

The city committed to cutting in half its greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years by adopting the plan.

It was not just an aspiration — a resolution to do something big. It had specific goals and citizens could hold the city legally accountable for not reaching them.

Except, that may have been a mirage.

Mara Elliott, a city attorney candidate, was the chief deputy city attorney who oversaw the vetting of the policy. She says the plan’s major selling point is just not true.

Elliott told our Andrew Keatts she’s tired of hearing candidates and the press repeat that the Climate Action Plan is enforceable.

Nicole Capretz, who helped usher the plan through City Hall as a staffer and now runs the nonprofit Climate Action Campaign, initially said Elliot was dead wrong.

Then Capretz gave the plan another look and said, “we do need clarification and likely need to fix any weaknesses in the existing language to ensure there is no legal question about whether the (climate plan) is enforceable.”

Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office stood by the popular understanding of the plan, that it is enforceable as written.

Penny Pinching the Arts

San Diego arts leaders want the City Council to fund the arts, as it promised to just several years ago.

Passed in 2012, the city’s Penny for the Arts plan laid out a five-year blueprint for increasing arts and culture funding, from about 5 percent of the city’s transient occupancy tax collections at the time to 9.5 percent by 2017. If the city kept its promise, the arts budget for this year would be about $20 million.

But the mayor’s proposed 2017 budget is out, and it devotes about $13.8 million, or just 6.4 percent, of the hotel tax to the city’s Commission for Arts and Culture. The city agency reallocates a large chunk of the money it gets to local arts nonprofits and directs the city’s public art program.

At a budget hearing Monday morning, arts leaders are hoping to persuade the City Council to increase arts funding, our Kinsee Morlan reports.

Commentary: Barbara Bry on Chargers Plan

Bry, a candidate for San Diego City Council District 1, weighs in with a commentary that opposes public financing for a Chargers stadium, talks about the merits of a convention center expansion, and takes some shots at her opponent, Ray Ellis. Last week Ellis wrote a column for us laying out his Chargers thoughts. It is telling that they are both trying to outdo each on not helping the Chargers.

 News from Elsewhere

• The eye-raising campaign expenditures by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, continues to build up: the U-T’s Morgan Cook finds trips to Jack and the Box and the Disneyland gift shop.

• When most of us have slow internet speeds, we can only pound the table. Rancho Santa Fe may build its own super-fast internet service provider. “But this story isn’t just about one of the nation’s wealthiest communities writing checks for better service,” Dan McSwain at the U-T says. “If the Ranch can pull this off, we’d also suddenly have a shining example of effective government infrastructure policy — plus a new source of competition for the cable industry in San Diego County.”

• Two local stories pulled at my heartstrings this weekend. NBC San Diego reports on a man who is reunited with his family after going missing nearly a decade ago. ABC 10 has a story on a woman who wants the city not to cut down a tree her late husband planted 57 years ago. In a Facebook note, the woman, Marie Ostwald, writes, “I just ask that the tree stay as long as I’m alive, I’m 91 now. I make a plea to Mayor Faulconer to step in and save our lovely tree. He’s my last hope.”

Ry Rivard

Ry Rivard was formerly a reporter for Voice of San Diego. He wrote about water and power.

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