Dec, 7, 2016. I Poway, CA. USA. | Poway City Hall. |Photos by Jamie Scott Lytle. Copyright.

State law says one thing about city governments and their emails: They’ve got to keep them for at least two years. But half the cities in the county do another thing: Delete them before that, sometimes way before that.

“A recent survey by Voice of San Diego showed that Encinitas and Poway have the shortest retention policy, deleting emails after 30 days. Del Mar deletes theirs after 60 days,” VOSD contributor Jonah Valdez reports in a new story. “Carlsbad, Escondido and Oceanside wait until the 90-day marker, while Solana Beach waits for 100 days, Santee for 180 days and Coronado for one year.”

What gives? Some officials say the state law isn’t clear, but open-government advocates are still crying foul. Our story examines the issue and offers perspective on the apparent gap between what the law says and what cities do.

The county’s two biggest cities do keep emails indefinitely — sort of. Both San Diego and Chula Vista have lost years of email due to technical problems.

Mayor’s Muddled Message on Bike Lanes

The mayor wants better bike lanes downtown than previously planned and they’ll cost more, but he may support less funding to help cyclists in the city overall. And on top of all this, improving the planned bike lanes downtown will mean cyclists may have to wait longer for them to be available than promised. The lanes, which would now come with concrete barriers, might not be done until beyond 2021.

This all comes via a new U-T story: “While advocates seemed tempted by the proposed upgrade, many balked at the idea of blowing the city’s self-imposed deadline,” the U-T reports.

North County drivers on the endlessly aggravating Highway 78 will be part of an experiment designed to see whether they’ll be willing to slow down, as directed by signs, in order to speed up. NBC 7 explains.

• The backlash to new companies that have made it cheap and easy to rent bikes — and motorized scooters — continues. In a new op-ed, Chris Brewster arguest that the companies that provide motorized scooters are clearly making money by encouraging people to disobey the law, and the city should do something about it.

Water Department Follies Continue

San Diego water meter weirdness continues. CBS News 8 weatherman Matt Below has been trying to alert the city to a street water leak that’s created a crack in the asphalt. Multiple calls finally got this stunner of a response, as he recounted via Twitter: “Just off the phone w/@CityofSanDiego water department; they have a ‘new system’ this week and my previous notifications about this water leak in the street they ‘had not gotten to’ and ‘were lost in the transition from old to new system.’ Wow.”

KPBS has tips on how to check your own water meter if you’d like to avoid being overcharged like other residents have been.

• Spring is here, and the time is right for… a major storm that’s heading our way. It could bring up to 1.5 inches of rain in much of the county with the potential for up to 1 inch an hour from Wednesday night into Thursday. (National Weather Service)

Politicis: Foes Don’t Thank Butner for His ‘Service’ Remark

Josh Butner, a former Navy SEAL and Democrat who’s running to kick Rep. Duncan Hunter out of office, is facing criticism for telling the VOSD Politics Report in an eye-raising comment that “it should be a requirement to have served to even run.” Now he’s clarifying his remarks by saying he was referring to national service.

The U-T has details and notes that a candidate for county assessor asked “(What) the hell is wrong with you” via Twitter.

• City Council members yesterday avoided a political non-starter in an election year and declined to raise their own salaries. Council members make $75,386 a year, while the mayor makes $107,095. (City News Service)

• The L.A. Times asked the state’s Republican congressmen to comment on the firing of an FBI deputy director and whether legislation should protect special Robert S. Mueller III, who’s leading the Russia probe. Our two local Republican representatives, Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter, didn’t comment. Two congressmen supported the firing of the deputy director, and two others stood behind Mueller.

• Get ready for an unexpected word you’ll be hearing a lot in the governor’s race: Herbalife.

Critics are pouncing on former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s links to businesses, especially Herbalife, the L.A. Times reports, saying he has “benefited from the largesse of companies and industries that prey upon some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.”

He has been a senior adviser to Herbalife, which critics say “is behind a pyramid scheme that exploits the poor and people of color.”

So Just How Packed Is SDSU Anyway?

San Diego State has told voters it needs to grow, which is why they should support the SDSU West project in Mission Valley. But filings with the state indicate university facilities are full of students less than 75 percent of the time, which is the goal for the California State University system, according to a new report from KPBS.

And there’s this: “Last year, the Legislative Analyst’s Office told lawmakers none of the state’s public universities currently need to expand past their existing footprints, citing their facility use filings. It suggested they expand summer enrollment. Both systems have also been working to graduate their students faster to help with enrollment capacity.”

San Diego State’s architect says the figures given the state are misleading.

• The president of the University of California (SDSU is part of the separate California State University system) wants to guarantee that all qualified community college students will be accepted into UC schools.

Quick News Hits

Charges have been filed against several juveniles in connection with threats made against local schools since the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., the U-T reports. The DA’s office has investigated 19 threats.

• A Sierra Club lawsuit challenging the county’s approach to carbon credits for new developments is gaining support from environmental groups. (U-T)

In other environment news, Rep. Juan Vargas and other Southwest members of congress are pushing for $10 million in funding to improve border infrastructure. (Times of S.D.)

• This is a mighty purty picture of San Diego. (Imgur)

• The U-T is featuring coverage from the past in celebration of its 150th anniversary. Yesterday, the paper posted the front page of the Union on May 19, 1915, highlighted by one of the most memorable of all San Diego historic photos: A picture that shows both the toppling of the tower of downtown’s 1887 Victorian-style Santa Fe train station and the new mission-style station (which is still there today) right next to it. A three-stack headline declares: “Old Santa Fe Tower Pulled to Earth/New Station Saved from Falling Ruins/Passing of Landmark Spectacular.”

Our Santa Fe station is tiny compared to the gigantic and beautiful Union Station in Los Angeles. Why? Blame the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad for upending our dreams of glory.

When the transcontinental railroad first came to San Diego in 1885, we became a bustling boom town. Then we went bust when AT&SF discovered it would make a lot more money by focusing on L.A. We were left to wonder what might have been if we’d become SoCal’s top city instead of you-know-where.

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

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

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