David Alvarez, a firebrand progressive, and Scott Sherman, a business-friendly Republican with conservative bona fides, are not natural allies on the San Diego City Council. But they’re uniting to support more affordable housing through a series of proposals.

Today, their council committee will launch a summit to push their ideas. “They’ll ask developers and housing advocates which policy changes could make a difference and stand a chance of passing before they introduce specific proposals,” our Andrew Keatts reports.

Sherman’s ideas include allowing more granny flats, less parking for new homes and more leeway for owners to ignore historic status. Alvarez has some of the same ideas but is also floating the idea of turning the old downtown library into a homeless shelter.

Experts Write: Ideas for Qualcomm Stadium

The football stadium in Mission Valley suddenly has a lot less meaning now that the Chargers have skipped town. We asked urban planners, architects and community members for their ideas of what to do with the vast swath of Mission Valley land. We’ve compiled their responses here.

Among the ideas: Open space, River Park, homes, the site of a world’s fair (!)… or even the same thing it is now. “The concrete shell of Qualcomm Stadium is solid and simply needs a good power-washing…,” an architect writes. “Qualcomm Stadium is a classic work of functional architecture, not an outdated iPhone.”

Homeless Get Free Tickets to Ride

In the past, cities and agencies in other states — like, most notoriously, a Nevada mental hospital — would put homeless people on buses and send them to San Diego and elsewhere in San Diego. This “dumping” did not go over well.

Now, inewsource reports that a program spearheaded by downtown business interests has shipped more than 1,000 homeless people away from San Diego over five years via free bus tickets. They’re supposed to be heading to friends and family who will take them in. However, “with little data showing how individuals fare once reaching their destinations, homeless advocates are concerned about the program’s value.”

A spokeswoman defended the program: “Everybody needs a support system, and if that means you need to get back to Ohio to get it, so be it.”

Mayor Faulconer has said that he hopes to dramatically expand the program. But efforts may be haunted by controversy.

Governor to President: Drop Dead

Without mentioning his name, Governor Brown scorched the new president in his State of the State speech this week, promising “a forceful defense of California’s efforts on climate change, healthcare and assistance to those in the country,” the L.A. Times reports.

In regard to immigration, he said, “let me be clear. We will defend everybody — every man, woman and child who has come here for a better life and has contributed to the well-being of our state.” For more on the speech, including fact checking, take a look at this annotation by radio station KPCC.

• Former Rep. Xavier Becerra is the new California attorney general, replacing new U.S. Senator Kamala Harris.

• The Christian Science Monitor explores two lawsuits that seek to kill off the state’s cap-and-trade program that limits greenhouse-gas pollution. The program is one of only two (the other is in Quebec) in the world that cover the entire economy, the Monitor says.

The cases, scheduled to be heard by a state appeal court this week, are expected to reach the California Supreme Court.

• A poll finds that a third of Californians are ignoring the lessons of the Civil War (bloodshed, heartache, Ken Burns documentaries) and think the state should leave the union. (Times of S.D.)

State Misses Mark on Hospital Inspection

“Scores of California hospitals with high rates of patient infections have not been inspected within the last five years, according to a petition filed Monday by Consumers Union,” the L.A. Times reports. “California law requires hospitals to be inspected every three years, but the state has fallen so far behind that the period has stretched to at least five years for 131 hospitals, the group said.”

The list of uninspected hospitals includes the San Diego area’s Alvarado, Scripps Mercy-Chula Vista, Sharp Mary Birch and UCSD Thornton hospitals.

Consumers Union also provided a list of California hospitals with “significantly higher” infection rates in at least one of five areas in 2013, 2014 or 2015. A whopping 20 hospitals in the county are on the list, including major ones like Scripps Mercy-Hillcrest, Scripps Memorial-La Jolla, Sharp Memorial, UC San Diego Medical Center, Palomar Medical Center, Tri-City Medical Center, Grossmont Hospital and Rady Children’s Hospital.

Dean Spanos: Not Coming Back

For a year, many San Diegans and elected leaders convinced themselves the Chargers would never actually move in with the Rams in Inglewood. So when ESPN reported last week that NFL owners were very upset with their colleague, Chargers President Dean Spanos, and wanted him to consider moving back, that fire ignited again.

If you are among them, Spanos wants you to get over it. In an interview with LA Daily News writer Vinny Bonsignore, Spanos said LA is it: “There’s no looking back.”

• UC San Diego is getting closer to becoming a Division I sports school. (U-T)

• In this week’s edition of the Kept Faith sports podcast, Councilman Chris Cate and VOSD’s Scott Lewis discuss the aftermath of the Chargers moving to L.A. and the new developments regarding Major League Soccer’s potential expansion to San Diego.

Culture Report: De-Fluffing the Reputation of Arts

Basket-weaving got a bad rap decades ago, and art shares a similar reputation in some parts. In a word, certain people seem to think art is fluff.

A local professor who studies such things tells VOSD’s weekly Culture Report that “there’s been quite a bit of research out there that says basically that kids who participate in the arts do better. But what I found is that the research isn’t enough.”

What to do? Change the reputation. She’s doing that with a big new grant.

Also in the Culture Report: The artist who blamed San Diego, not himself, for his failure to make it here has sparked a big conversation about the arts here. We’ve compiled a few of the most incisive comments.

Also, big news in the book world: Hillcrest’s erstwhile Fifth Avenue Books is going out of business.

Quick News Hits: The Hair Apparents

Two public-private water projects could get a boost from the Trump administration. A list of the new president’s infrastructure priorities, first reported by McClatchy, includes a new desalination plant in Huntington Beach, which would be built by the same company, Poseidon, that built one here in Carlsbad. Another project comes from a company, Cadiz, that is looking to import water into urban Southern California from the Mojave Desert.

KBZT FM 949 has fired morning hosts Chris Cantore and Steven Woods.

The Facebook group Vintage San Diego just pointed out this amazing 1990 video of the longtime radio team of “Jeff & Jer” (now broken up) appearing on “People’s Court.”

“What you are witnessing is real,” the announcer says, in words that will ring a bell in anyone who was conscious and watching daytime TV back then. “The participants are not actors.”

Check out the amazing hair choices of the female plaintiff, Jeff & Jer, and their producer, Tommy Sablan. It just goes to show you: Decades, like the 1980s, don’t end when they’re supposed to. They linger on and on like a really bad perm.

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

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