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The public agency that provides water to North County’s city of San Marcos is mighty worried about the future, on paper at least. It’s the only one of 341 water agencies in the state that thinks it’ll be hit by a massive shortage by 2020.

Residents are concerned about rationing and a big housing project is facing a lawsuit because its residents may not have enough water. But other water agencies aren’t freaking out. What’s different in San Marcos?

The answer: Its numbers are different, and they might be totally off the mark. “It looks like they overestimated their demand for some reason,” a state water scientist tells our Ry Rivard.

The water district “assumed that per capita demand in 2020 would be 275 gallons of water per day. That flies in the face of recent history, when average demand has been far less. Last year, per capita demand was 117 gallons per day.”

However, “assurances like that may not matter — especially not to lawyers — so long as the district’s official Urban Water Management Plan says something else.”

Today in Earthquake Freakouts

As news comes of another big quake in Japan, here’s yet another reason to make sure your bookshelves are latched to the wall: New research suggests that San Andreas fault could “unzip all at once, unleashing a rare, singular catastrophe,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Damage in an 8.3 magnitude quake could reach 3.5 million homes and $289 billion.

Researchers say an earthquake of that size is unlikely to happen very often, perhaps once every 2,500 years. Still, this threat could do more than just make your mind reel: It may cause the cost of California earthquake insurance to go up; only about 10 percent of homeowners have it.

Attorney Says Uber/Lyft Fee Is Illegal

An attorney says the airport’s $4.06 “trip fee,” levied on Uber and Lyft riders who pick up incoming passengers, is an illegal tax that should have gone before voters. “Staff has tax blood on its hands,” declares the attorney, who we imagine must be a riot at Thanksgiving dinner (“If you prick the turkey with a meat thermometer, does it not bleed?”)

The fee has jumped from $1.67 a few months ago. The airport says it went up to pay for a lot where drivers could wait for riders.

An airport spokeswoman told the U-T that the fee could dip by a few bucks if the services “reported the use of alternative fuel and clean air vehicles — something the companies last week made clear they were not prepared to do, citing driver privacy concerns.”

Culture Report: Fighting Crime with Dance

Our weekly Culture Report leads off with a look at an affordable housing project’s unusual program in the Skyline neighborhood: It’s offering a free, 40-day dance, exercise and nutrition class led by a modern dancer.

One participant has this to say: “It’s been really a life-changing thing because we weren’t taking the time for us — most of us are busy moms with young kids and we’re always doing things for them and nothing for ourselves. So this was a reminder that we need to take care of ourselves in order to be better moms.”

Also in the Culture Report: The big architect Louis Kahn exhibit at the Museum of Art gets a mixed review from the L.A. Times, a painting of LeBron James has been stolen and downtown Oceanside is going ga-ga over murals. Plus: Our engagement editor explains why she’s no longer in the homemade cranberry sauce business. (Spoiler: Because people think the canned stuff is better.)

Maybe, just maybe, vegan-friendly Hillcrest wasn’t the best place for a restaurant called “S&M Sausage & Meat” that specialized in exotic foods like kangaroo and featured a dead pig in its logo. It’s closing. (U-T)

Quick News Hits: Spoiled Food, Spoiled Ballots

“A man who stole a San Diego police patrol SUV and then used it to run down an officer was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years and four months in prison,” the U-T reports. The injured officer is back on duty; he appeared in court and said he accepted the defendant’s apology.

Police are looking for bystanders who recorded an attack in the Gaslamp Quarter on Aug. 27 that left a good samaritan paralyzed. (NBC 7)

The local Competitive Edge polling company says it’s moving its call center and its approximately 75 jobs to El Paso, mainly because the minimum wage is going up here. The CEO says replacement workers there will make less than the $11 an hour or more that his call center employees make here.

An audit finds “an extensive list of financial irregularities and transparency transgressions committed in the name of in-house charities” at San Diego State, the Reader reports.

And the vote counts go on and on. The AP has issued a late call regarding Proposition 53, which would have required certain kinds of state bonds — money borrowing by the government — to go before voters if they’re $2 billion or more. AP says the measure has failed. (L.A. Times)

Also, it looks like the Democrats are close to maintaining a “supermajority” in the state Legislature thanks to the latest count in a close state Senate race in an Orange County-based district.

Meanwhile, another media outlet is exploring why it takes so darned long for votes to be counted in California. Capital Public Radio has a unique take: It finds that election officials need to remove coffee stains and jam and jelly from ballots in order to make sure that votes are properly counted and that counting machines aren’t gummed up.

Considering how long the ballots were this year, they’re lucky they aren’t spoiled with leftovers from lunch and dinner too.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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