Pension debts are skyrocketing again years after a pension crisis sent city leaders into a tailspin.

New reports reveal city and county pension fund deficits have surged 90 percent in two years, reaching nearly $7 billion– even despite a slew of reforms, Ashly McGlone reports.

The reasons: longer life expectancies, poor market gains and across-the-board salary hikes after years of status quo.

Now, McGlone finds, the city’s talking about trimming each department’s budget by 3.5 percent while the county says it’s found ways to avoid cuts.

Sacramento Report: Expanding the Pot (Tax Sites)

California’s known for its high business taxes yet one group that wants to pay them confesses it’s not always had an easy time actually turning over the cash.

State Sens. Toni Atkins and Scott Wiener introduced a bill this week to open up more tax-payment possibilities for cannabis business operators, who often go to great lengths just to pay their taxes.

VOSD contributor Sebastian Montes explains the proposed Atkins-Wiener solution and Sara Libby and Ry Rivard round up other Golden State government news – including plans to fight new President Donald Trump – in the latest Sacramento Report.

State Assembly Democrats had their own message for Californians during Trump’s inauguration ceremony.

Special Podcast: CA Ladies Get in Formation

A day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, scores of San Diego women are set to hit the streets in protest – and VOSD decided to podcast about it.

Libby caught up with San Diego Women’s March organizers Alex Zaragoza and Eboney Steward while Kinsee Morlan dropped in on a poster-making party and a “Nasty Woman” art show.

VOSD Podcast: Padres Chief Talks Chargers

As San Diego sports fans mourn the loss of the Chargers, the executive chairman of the group that owns the Padres is offering tissues.

Ron Fowler joined Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis this week for a wide-ranging interview covering everything from the Padres’ plans to fill the Chargers’ void to what the city can do to address its homelessness crisis.

The podcast crew also honored former state legislator Lucy Killea and roasted outgoing District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

 The Kept Faith podcast co-host Dallas McLaughlin is among the Padres fans displeased with the Padres’ new uniforms. In a new story, he talked to the Padres’ chief marketing officer to find out why the team went with uniforms one critic described as “devoid of all imagination and creativity.”

In Other News

 Apple has sued telecom giant Qualcomm, alleging it’s charging royalties it’s not owed days after a separate Federal Trade Commission lawsuit alleged bad behavior on patent licensing. (Bloomberg News)

 The deputy district attorney’s political action committee is set to discuss endorsing a replacement for Dumanis despite the fact that no one’s publicly announced plans to run for district attorney. (Union-Tribune)

 The city’s decision to axe plans to build bike lanes on El Cajon Boulevard as part of a plan to reconfigure a stretch of the busy thoroughfare has disappointed advocates hoping for a more dramatic overhaul. (KPBS)

 The Union-Tribune reflects on the past vision for downtown’s Horton Plaza and what might be coming next for a mall that’s at a crossroads. (Union-Tribune)

The Week’s Top Stories

These were the top five Voice of San Diego stories for the week of Jan. 14-Jan. 20. Click here to see the full top 10.

1. There’s Already a Challenge to the ‘LA Chargers’ Trademark – and It’s Not From the Dodgers
The Chargers’ application to trademark “LA Chargers” ran into an issue even before the team announced it will move to Los Angeles. (David Lizerbram)

2. The Mayor Fumbled in the Chargers Game but It’s Not His Fault They’re Leaving
The mayor is not to blame for losing the Chargers. But he and others consistently got what was going on wrong. (Scott Lewis)

3. How the Spanos Family Built a Fortune Selling Bologna Sandwiches to Mexican Farmworkers
The Spanos family, which owns the Chargers, is worth $2.4 billion. As the team asks the public to help fund a new stadium, many have wondered where the Spanos family fortune came from. For Alex Spanos, it started with bologna sandwiches and Mexican farmworkers. The family has long faced questions, in fact, of whether Spanos helped exploit farmworkers in the notorious Bracero program that started nearly 70 years ago. (Ry Rivard)

4. Opinion: The Chargers Stopped Caring About San Diego Two Years Ago
I was tired of listening to Mark Fabiani. For more than an hour he arrogantly presented a series of rigid deal points on behalf of Chargers owner Dean Spanos to Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s newly formed stadium task force. I had heard enough so I quietly opened my laptop to check Twitter. What I saw surprised me. (Tony Manolatos)

5. Is the Drought Over? Depends on Which One We’re Talking About
It’s still too soon to know if the drought is truly over. We can’t predict the future, for one thing. Nor can we agree on what is meant by “drought.” President-elect Donald Trump, the California Department of Water Resources, the U.S. Drought Monitor and some top climate scientists all have different definitions. (Ry Rivard)

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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