Considering it’s just a patio with a few tables where there used to be two parking spaces, San Diego’s first parklet got a lot of ink when it was unveiled in North Park in 2013.

Since then a whopping one other parklet has opened.

Parklets are sidewalk extensions that replace parking spaces for seating areas, a sort of mini-plaza meant to make urban areas more inviting.

While San Diego has labored to build two such spaces, San Francsico has almost 60.

The city is now promoting a new policy to make it easier to build new ones outside of businesses in certain areas, but people who’ve gone through the process still say it’s tough, Kinsee Morlan reports in a new story.

The hoops businesses need to jump through and upfront costs they need to cover make it easy enough to say ‘no thanks’ instead, and San Diego’s been left on the outside of another urban trend.

San Diego’s Successful, Climate Change-Denying Business Executive

Peter Farrell is one of San Diego’s most successful entrepreneurs. He founded the local company ResMed, which manufactures apparatuses that help people with sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

The conservative businessman also does not think humans are meaningfully contributing to climate change, which is why he confronted Mayor Kevin Faulconer over the city’s new Climate Action Plan, a story he recounts in a special, lengthy podcast interview Farrell did with Scott Lewis. (Farrell says Faulconer’s wife agreed with him).

Farrell also explained why his love of free trade made him happy to manufacture his company’s products in Singapore, and said if sea levels really are rising then insurance companies should stop giving policies to people in Miami Beach. Listen to the interview to hear the rest of his outspoken, sometimes controversial, opinions.

A Cross-Border Mother’s Day

Friendship Park is the only place along the United States-Mexico border that holds organized meet-ups for friends and family members to touch finger tips and talk face to face.

They have to do it through a border fence, but family members forced to live on different sides of the border and no way to cross easily got together Sunday for the park’s annual binational holiday party. Mariachi musicians play on both sides of the border and the Mexico side even had cake and food.

Brooke Binkowski included a dispatch from the scene in this week’s Border Report, our round-up of news items related to the border.

She also wrote up farmworkers in Mexico that are pushing for a global boycott of Driscoll’s, the largest berry supplier in the world, in their push for better pay and labor conditions, and how May Day protesters in Baja California are pushing for transit, education and labor reforms.

San Diego County’s Office of Education, Explained

Local parents are probably used to thinking of their childrens’ schools in terms of the district to which they belong. But the school districts also answer to a countywide Office of Education, an agency with a $600 million annual budget that has some big-time authority, such as potentially taking control of a districts’ budget in a financial crisis.

Our own Scott Lewis and Monica Dean, from our media partners at NBC 7, got together to sum it all up in this week’s San Diego Explained.

It’s especially relevant now because four of the five spots on the County Office of Education are up for grabs in the June primary election.

Business Groups Go All-in for Ray Ellis

Republicans are seizing the moment in a race that could determine control of the City Council.

The San Diego Union-Tribune’s David Garrick reports of nearly $300,000 in recent donations to independent committees supporting Republican Ray Ellis’ bid. If Ellis wins, it would give Republicans a 5-4 majority on the Council.

One political committee is run by the conservative Lincoln Club, and the other is a joint effort of the Lincoln Club, the regional Chamber of Commerce and other business and construction groups.

Republicans are going all in on Ellis now in hopes that he can win the seat outright in June by earning more than 50 percent of the vote over his primary Democratic challenger Barbara Bry. If nobody wins outright in June – there are three other lesser-known, poorly funded candidates – the top two  move to a November run-off.

But come November, the higher turnout that comes with a general election would give Bry an advantage. Republicans are spending money now when the electorate is more favorable.

State Regulators to Revisit San Onofre Settlement

A two-year-old settlement that determined who would pay what related to the forced shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is being reconsidered.

The California Public Utilities Commission has asked interested parties to weigh in on needed changes. Consumer advocates had been lobbying to redo the agreement since it was revealed one commissioner had undisclosed settlement discussions with the plant’s operator, Southern California Edison. (City News Service)

California Voter Registration is Booming

A new report from the National University System Institute for Policy Research predicts higher than usual voter turnout in the June election after voter registration numbers this year came in at an historic pace.

The author of the report, Vince Vasquez, joined KPBS’s Midday Edition yesterday to discuss his findings.

Vasquez gave me an exclusive peak into his findings for last week’s installment of San Diego Decides, our bi-weekly summary of what’s happening on the way to June’s election.

In Other News

• A $6.5 billion project to expand Interstate 5 in North County, adding four lanes to the freeway, is set to begin this summer. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

• A Coronado City Councilman is accused of breaking election laws for wrongly accepting campaign contributions made with a credit card. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

• The Society of Professional Journalists have joined a lawsuit before the California Supreme Court in which plaintiffs are seeking access to bulk data law enforcement agencies collect through automated license plate readers. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

• Attorney Cory Briggs, the man behind the Citizens Plan that would raise hotel taxes and potentially make way for a new convention center-football stadium downtown says he’s also supporting the Chargers’ competing measure for a similar facility. (NBC 7)

• Here is a video in which the city’s most influential people dance and make insider political references. (H/T to KPBS’s Andrew Bowen for alerting me to it).

Andrew Keatts

I'm Andrew Keatts, a managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at

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