There’s a good chance that de-salt-ed water from the ocean has flowed through your faucets, a testament to technology and the influence of the folks behind Carlsbad’s high-profile new desalination plant.

So why are folks still debating the merits of the plant?

As our Ry Rivard reports, at least three other similar plants are in the works, and their fate depends in large part on whether the Carlsbad project is a success. And why wouldn’t it be? Well, Rivard writes, “the desalination process is energy-intensive and its water is currently far more expensive than our other water supplies.” Even so, “the San Diego County Water Authority has committed to buying water from the plant’s private developer and owner for three decades, whether the water is needed or not.”

One other thing is clear: “Current desalination technology does not seem likely to on its own solve Southern California’s water problems.”

Politics Roundup: Chamber Says Yes on Measure A

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, where former Mayor Jerry Sanders serves as president and CEO, has endorsed Measure A, which would hike the sales tax in the county by a half-penny to pay for transportation fixes and construction, among other things.

The move shows a rift of sorts among conservatives in the county. Mayor Kevin Faulconer opposes the measure. (City News Service)

The city may have to pay millions of dollars in fines over a January sewage spill. (NBC 7)

• The California gnatcatcher won’t vanish from the endangered species list, KPBS reports. “The California Building Industry Association and others asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove federal protections because the gray songbird is not a valid subspecies. The petition argued the California gnatcatcher is closely related to another gnatcatcher that is plentiful in Baja California, Mexico.”

North Park Father’s Good-School Journey

On a website called Fatherly, North Park dad Andy Hinds writes about how a local group of parents — Concerned Hipster Parents, to be exact — decided to not opt out of sending their kids to Jefferson Elementary, a local school with a largely poor and minority student body, and just-OK test scores. How’d it go? “The truth is, we couldn’t be happier,” Hinds writes. “Our kids are learning the stuff they are supposed to be learning, and they love their teachers (as do my wife and I).”

Hinds also appeared in a recent VOSD story about the impact of gentrification and changing neighborhoods on neighborhood schools.

Judge Hesitates on Voting Bid

A San Diego “judge ruled that a former NPR producer who had a traumatic brain injury has so far failed to demonstrate he is qualified to vote despite a new state law that makes it easier for people with developmental disabilities to keep and restore the right to cast a ballot,” the AP reports. But the judge may still let the man vote if his caretaker can prove that he wishes to vote.

Proceedings have begun in the civil trial that pits fired San Diego State University’s women’s basketball coach Beth Burns against the university. According to CBS 8, she claims “she was fired in retaliation for demanding equal treatment of women’s athletics programs. However, school officials claim it was because she struck an assistant coach.”

Opinion: Stop the Housing Charade

In a VOSD commentary, urban designer Howard Blackson takes aim at the assumption that regional plans have local housing growth handled over the next few decades. “The status quo is not saving us. It’s time to stop being sanguine about our plans, lest we experience a Bay Area-esque housing cataclysm,” he writes.

Blackson says neighborhoods in the city’s urbanized core — “from University City in the north, to College Area in the east, west to the beaches, and through Southeastern San Diego and Encanto” — need to take in more people. “In 2015, San Diego built roughly 6,000 new homes. Let’s increase that number to 9,000 homes per year, with the additional 3,000 homes all concentrated in our older, urban neighborhoods that are close to transit, jobs and the city’s amenities. If we succeed, we would have increased our housing supply by 15,000 units.”

Opinion: Flag Down on Measure C

Tim O’Reiley, a retired newspaper reporter who lives in Mission Hills, criticizes the downtown San Diego football stadium plan — Measure C — in a VOSD commentary. Add up all the weaknesses in the measure, he writes, and it benefits Chargers chairman Dean Spanos: “you have the biggest shutout in San Diego history: taxpayers, $1.1 billion; Spanos, $0. Spanos wins.”

Culture Report: Intimate Look Into Black Fatherhood

This week’s VOSD Culture Report, our look at all things artistic, begins with local hip-hop artist Beleaf Melanin, who’s been chronicling his life as a stay-at-home father via YouTube. “People get to see black people being normal,” he tells us. “It demystifies everything they see in the media and everything that’s being pushed in front of them from their friends on Facebook.”

Also in the Culture Report: the departure of a Balboa Park icon, an unusual partnership for San Diego Opera’s scenic studio crew, new offices in Barrio Logan for Comic-Con staff members and a “clean food” restaurant.

Quick News Hits: City Makes Tracks Toward Tracking

A local drugmaker says his company is trying to produce a much-cheaper EpiPen (which treats emergency allergy attacks) than the versions on the market whose prices have skyrocketed, prompting cries of price-gouging. Mark Baum of Imprimis Pharmaceuticals tells CNN that he think his EpiPen will cost less than $100 compared with the $600-plus version. Can he do it? Last year, his company “launched a $1 alternative to Daraprim, the AIDS drug that overnight saw an incredible 5,000% price increase from the company led by the infamous Martin Shkreli.”

A coalition of governments plans to ask 200,000 local residents to take part in a transportation survey and download an app that will track them when they travel. Those who agree will get a $20 gift card. (U-T)

Hmm. Privacy and confidentiality are promised, but do we really want government types monitoring where we go every day?

Honest, Mr. Mayor, I only went to that Baskin-Robbins three times on a hot summer afternoon because I was researching ice cream prices!

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also a board member and ex-national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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