The new Trolley line being built from Old Town to University City will have stops along the way. And what gets built around those stops has been a source of tension we’ve been following for years.

Neighborhood activists near the Clairemont station revolted over the suggestion of high-density zoning plans city officials subtly floated a couple years ago. Now, neighbors seem to support a new developer’s plan for 40 apartments, retail space and commuter parking.

It’s the kind of development planners say they’re aiming for — if not quite as many living units as some urbanists would hope.

Nonetheless, SANDAG decided to go to court to try to seize the land through eminent domain and turn it into a parking lot alone. But the showdown might be avoided. The developers told us they’ve think they’ve they’ve come to a compromise and are trying to delay the court hearing so things can be worked out.

• Speaking of density, Hillcrest may get more high rises and a whole lot more residents, according to a gushy U-T story about plans for the community. One local says residents want to build up the area around Park Boulevard, not the congested center of Hillcrest around Fifth Avenue, but that may not happen.

Opinion: Why Facts Still Matter

As journalists in an age dominated by “fact checks,” we like to imagine that the public listens to our earnest quests for the truth and acts accordingly. But the year of Trump has tested us more than ever before.

Even Nate Silver, the geeky data journalist who upended decades of assumptions about sports and political reporting, is having second thoughts about the way we inform the public. As he writes, his “and most other American news organizations are founded on the premise that more information is better, even if it risks being misinterpreted. I’ve never questioned that premise more than I have over the course of this election.”

What about, the popular website devoted to fact-checking urban legends and debunking online myths? Turns out that our contributor Brooke Binkowski is the managing editor at the site. In a VOSD commentary, she writes that information needs a gatekeeper.

“I’m still the idealist I always was. I still believe in the free flow of information,” she writes. “However, I believe that training in vetting that information and providing it within an accessible context is absolutely key to releasing it into the world.”

Defeated Dem Promises a Rematch

Retired Marine colonel Douglas Applegate, who shocked Rep. Darrell Issa by giving him the race of his life, says he’d defeated but not gone for good. He’s ready for a 2018 rematch.

Noted: “Issa’s victory stemmed from strong support in Applegate’s home base in Orange County. In a turnabout, Applegate received more votes than Issa in San Diego County, where the incumbent resides.” (Times of S.D.)

• The defeat of sole Democratic County Supervisor Dave Roberts doesn’t seem likely to make the board of supervisors more friendly to the Chargers and their eternal bid to convince local elected officials to help them build a new stadium. (U-T)

• Rick Shea’s lead over Mark Wyland in the race for a seat on the County Board of Education is razor thin but slightly wider than it was yesterday. It stands at 866 votes out of more than 222,000 cast.

Saving a Treasured Golf Landmark

• U-T columnist Logan Jenkins finds that plenty of local duffers want to restore the declining Presidio Hills “pitch-and-putt” golf course, which has a treasured history of teaching youngsters how to play the game. He asks: “What philanthropist(s) or what company wants to earn laurels and be Presidio’s champion?”

• This week’s edition of the Kept Faith Podcast features Craig Elsten, from Mighty 1090 and the San Diego Gulls, and our own Andrew Keatts, who talks about the new Padres uniforms. Also on the agenda: Hockey and San Diego.

Culture Report: From Vacant Lot to Art Showcase

The VOSD Culture Report, our weekly look at all things artistic and cultural, leads off with a look at how a southeastern San Diego neighborhood is trying to transform a temporary vacant lot into a showcase for murals, performance and more. A proponent tells us that he wants to show the city what it could do with the space permanently, but he’ll need to first navigate rules and regulations.

The Culture Report also notes the unusual anti-immigration graffiti — tiny, articulate and nasty — that struck the New Americans Museum in Liberty Station, prompting news coverage that spreads the vandalism’s message. The museum’s executive director says she wants it to serve as a conversation starter.

And there’s much more in the Culture Report, including a choir of homeless people and a claim that the Salk Institute is “entering its grande dame period with panache.” Better than entering it with sciatica, I guess.

• NPR checks in with Tijuana’s first Haitian restaurant. It just opened to serve the needs of hundreds of Haitian refugees who now live in Tijuana; others are here in San Diego. “When they first started to arrive, they were so happy,” the owner says. “They would say, ‘Amiga! I’m here dying! I’ve gone three, four days without eating. Please make me some food! Make some more rice!’”

Quick News Hits: Julian’s Gritty Old Days

Prosecutors won’t go after former City Council President Tony Young in regard to a domestic violence arrest earlier this year, the Reader reports.

• Ron Donoho, the now-former editor of CityBeat, suggests he was sacked because the alternative weekly is struggling financially. The publisher disputes that. (Times of S.D.)

• Real-estate bubble, bubble, toil and trouble? Well, no, it’s not the bubbly times of 2005 and 2006 all over again when you take inflation into account. Still, the news from the U-T is a bit startling: “The median home price in October exceeded a half-million dollars for the first time in a decade in San Diego County, real estate tracker CoreLogic reported Tuesday.” (Keep in mind that the median isn’t the average.)

Meanwhile, the L.A. Times notes that “sales flat-lined in a region where home ownership is increasingly out of reach for the middle class.”

• The dairy industry is trying to fight back against new state rules that aim to combat methane emissions that cows create when they fart, poop, and burp (or, as the AP delicately puts it, when they “belch, pass gas and make manure.”)

• Speaking of making manure, people are still talking about how California may secede from the union, even if just as an excuse to discuss other stuff.

• San Diego Magazine digs into the history of Julian, the small backcountry town that’s a big destination for locals who want a glimpse of snow. Gold was the initial draw in the 1870s; “I reckon [Julian] wasn’t any tougher’n most minin’ camps of that time. Every other place of business was a saloon, a gamblin’ joint, or a dance hall; but on the whole things was pretty orderly,” said one old timer. Then apple orchards kept things afloat.

The town was supposedly named for the best-looking man in town, ol’ handsome Mike Julian. Now his name conjures pie, cider and snowflakes instead of a pretty face. And the biggest gamble anyone takes in Julian is deciding to drive without chains.

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 ( 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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