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The San Diego Association of Governments, the coalition of local governments known as SANDAG, has been coping with quite a spot of bother lately. First came the scandal revealed by a VOSD investigation over financial projections. Then came Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, who’s pushing a bill to dramatically boost the power of big cities like San Diego and Chula Vista.
What’s SANDAG to do? Fight back at the ballot box, maybe. As our Andrew Keatts reports, SANDAG is considering whether to ask county voters to weigh in next year. That could spell trouble for the Gonzalez Fletcher plan if enough voters feel like their communities are being shut out.
Or perhaps not. Things are quite early, and there haven’t been any public hearing about what kind of ballot measure would appear. “It’s hard to tell if SANDAG’s hypothetical measure would ask voters to approve or disapprove of [Gonzalez’s bill] — which by that point would either already have been killed or signed by the governor — or would represent a competing reform proposal,” Keatts reports.
Gonzalez Fletcher is having none of it. “Except for creating a new argument for themselves against AB 805, it’s unclear what they’re intending to do, or if they know what they’re intending to do,” she said.
All Irradiated and Nowhere to Go
The L.A Times has an in-depth look at the radioactive nuclear waste at the defunct San Onofre nuclear power plant that, like nuke leftovers elsewhere in the country, has no permanent home.
“The nation’s inability to find a permanent home for the dangerous byproduct of its 50-year-adventure in nuclear energy represents one of the biggest and longest running policy failures in federal government history,” the Times reports. “Now, the Trump administration and Congress are proposing a fast track fix. The new plan aims, after decades of delays, to move the waste to one or more temporary central storage sites that would hold it until a geologic repository can be built in Nevada or somewhere else.”
But this plan may be another non-starter.
Gov Candidate Bungles Crime Claim
Republican Orange County Assemblyman Travis Allen is running for governor, and he declared this about California when he launched his campaign: “I have seen crime increase in every major metropolitan area. Crime is on the rise in every major market.”
Is he right? Nope, says Politifact, which accuses Allen of cherry-picking and gives him a verdict of “Mostly False.”
Local Literary Agent Signs a Killer
Del Mar’s Sandra Dijkstra, whom we profiled in 2009, may be the most powerful and pre-eminent literary agent on the West Coast. Now she has another distinction: She signed a Michigan prisoner who’s behind bars for murdering a man, and got him a six-figure book contract. His collection of fictional short stories — most set in prison or jail — was released by a major publishing house this week to critical acclaim and controversy.
“He should be doing nothing in that prison but going through hell for the rest of his life,” a brother of his victim tells the New York Times. For his part, author Curtis Dawkins says, “there’s often so much sadness and grief in my heart, it feels like I might explode.”
North County Report: Cities Reach for SDG&E Alternatives
This week’s VOSD North County Report offers a handy guide to the gusher of North County cities that are exploring how to detach themselves from SDG&E and get their power from someone else. As we’ve reported, SDG&E doesn’t take kindly to this kind of thing, and it’s been lobbying hard to keep communities from breaking away from the mother (power) ship.
Quick News Hits: A Pearl of a Gem Story
• The city has announced an $80 million Housing Commission effort to help the homeless. (10News)
• “Minors who enter the U.S. without permission must be given a court hearing to determine whether they can be released, a federal appeals court panel decided unanimously,” the L.A. Times reports.
• Recycling of bottles and cans is down in California, and the L.A. Times looks into the reasons why: Fewer recycling centers amid declines in prices paid for recyclables due in part to falling oil prices. Energy is needed to manufacture recyclable materials, the Times writes, and they’re worth less when the cost to make them goes down.
• Earlier this week, we published a history flashback story titled “When the Civil War Came to San Diego” about a tense 1861 face-off between Union troops and Confederate wannabes in our backcountry. The leader of the Southern sympathizers was an assemblyman named Dan Showalter who’d recently shot another legislator to death in a duel.
I just found what’s said to be the only photo of him, which you can view here. With a big bushy beard and a carefully coiffed ‘do, he looks like he wouldn’t seem too out of place in a hipster haven like North Park. Just don’t cross him by insulting his cold brew coffee or whatever.
• CityBeat columnist Ryan Bradford drops by the annual Gem Faire in Mission Valley and finds that things may have gotten a bit out of hand (or something) when he comes across this actual sign on some fish-shaped stones: “Genuine Mother of Pearl Fetish—$1 each or 10 pc. for $5.”
Sounds like there’s some serious Fifty Shades of Off-White going on over there.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.