The $2.1 billion project that will extend the light rail from Old Town to University Town Center may not actually help commuters who need it the most, contributor Alon Levy writes.

Levy wrote that as the region waits for other major mass transit projects, we could increase the frequency and timing of the east-west lines from the beaches to the inland areas around Clairemont, which would increase the number of riders who could partake in the Mid-Coast line. This would also improve transit service between I-8 and La Jolla.

Lots of options, but limited funds.

No, That Grad Rate Report Doesn’t Disprove VOSD’s Reporting

Yesterday we talked about the new report from UC San Diego researchers that had officials at the San Diego Unified School District very pleased. But in their excitement, they decided to take a swipe at Voice of San Diego. Well, Scott Lewis isn’t going to just let that fly.

He took their charge and reread all our reporting plus the new report to see if we had gotten anything wrong.

Bills Live and Die in Sacramento

In the ongoing saga that is SANDAG, the lawmakers in Sacramento are still mulling big changes to the agency. AB 805, a bill introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez meant to reform SANDAG passed through the Senate, reports Sara Libby in the Sacramento Report. But, not without debate.

We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?

Sen. Pat Bates, the Republican leader in the Senate, feared this bill would disenfranchise representatives in smaller cities: “Think hard folks, this could affect your district if it becomes precedent-setting, that Sacramento starts dictating to local agencies how votes will be counted.” The bill has to head back to the Assembly before it can move on to the governor.

Other new bills are on their way to the governor’s desk, including:

• Sen. Toni Akins bill giving prosecutors a new tool in targeting sex traffickers.

• Assemblyman Todd Gloria’s bill allowing students to wear cultural items during graduations.

• Assemblyman Brian Maienschein’s bill initiating the development of a Continuing Medical Education course for medical professionals focusing on identifying early symptoms of mental illness.

There’s also a fairly sizable list of bills that have died, including two bills we already suggested you watch out for, and a bill that would’ve allowed bars to stay open till 4 a.m. — why can’t we just have nice things? RIP.

VOSD Podcast: It All Comes Down to Poop

For this week’s podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Andy Keatts invited Sara Libby into studio to discuss what exactly took the government so long to respond the Hepatitis A outbreak, and even longer to get anything done. Officials dealt with bureaucracy as usual as people we’re dying.

The trio discuss how the Hep A is spread, the effects of the outbreak throughout the city and the communities that have been hit the hardest.

And they talk about new marijuana regulations being brought before the City Council on Sept. 11. They’ll be making decisions on allowing manufacturing, cultivation, testing and distribution of pot.

• The New York Times’ California Today newsletter also zoomed in on the Hep A crisis. County Supervisor Greg Cox told the Times that he’s not satisfied with how long it took to place hand-washing stations downtown, a sluggish process first reported by VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt.

• The city announced on Friday it plans to start doing street washing downtown in a move to combat the outbreak, the Union-Tribune reports.

Quick News Hits

• Another blow for scandal-plagued Rep. Duncan Hunter: His chief of staff resigned Thursday. (Union-Tribune)

• Dean Spanos hopes that hiring LaDanian Tomlinson will help the Chargers hang onto San Diego fans. (ESPN)

• U-T: Trustees lowered projected returns for the city of San Diego’s pension system Friday. That would normally mean taxpayers would be on the hook to put more money into the pension system but the board overseeing the pension system also put the debt off into the future. In other words, they said the pension system would not be making as much from investments but they also managed to provide the city’s budget some relief.

Top Stories of the Week

These were the top five VOSD stories for the week of Sept. 1-8. For the full top 10 list, click here.

1. Meet the Megaflood: How ‘The Other Big One’ Could Devastate S.D.

A 2011 report envisions hundreds of billions in statewide damage, and researchers say it’s not even the worst-case scenario. (Randy Dotinga)

2. County, City Say They’re Taking Steps to Move Quickly on Hepatitis A Outbreak

After weeks of bureaucratic hand-wringing, San Diego County’s top official directed the city to allow hand-washing stations in at least 30 locations in the city – and the city’s pledging to act quickly. (Lisa Halverstadt)

3. Call it the Anti-Drought: Water Officials Hope to Drive Up Water Usage

As recently as the first months of this year, Californians were asked to conserve water. Well, they did. And they still are. Now, that’s a problem. (Ry Rivard)

4. Turmoil Engulfs Somali Charter School in City Heights

A raft of complaints prompted a San Diego Unified investigation into the school, which found problems ranging from issues with special education to improper hiring practices. The school adamantly denies the findings. School leadership and the board have been disrupted by departures, and some parents have pulled their kids out. (Maya Srikrishnan)

5. City to Downtown Homeless: Don’t Get Comfortable

A hepatitis A outbreak disproportionately hitting San Diego’s homeless reveals a fundamental tenet of the city’s homeless policy. For years, the city has opted against giving a modicum of comfort to the homeless, while failing to put forward a long-term solution. (Lisa Halverstadt)

    This article relates to: Morning Report, News

    Written by Dallas McLaughlin

    Walt Brewer
    Walt Brewer subscribermember

    Comment los appaently.

    See Table 6-1. Tolley and bus times to UTC about the sams.

    Walt Brewer
    Walt Brewer subscribermember

    Table 6-1 of early data for all Trolley and bus options shows very little difference in travel time. Bus somteeimes low sometime hgher. Most differences within around 10%perhaps affected by need for transfers.

    Regarding transfers being the norm; probably a significant part of reason 30 years attempts to make mass transit meaningful has resulted in less than 2% of travel share.

    Walt Brewer
    Walt Brewer subscribermember

    Regarding Mid Coast,

    2 to3 years ago in the Mid-Coast project sales process, the trolley estimate was $1.2 billion. Bus use was considered, but claimed less cost-effective, though capital cost was lower.

    Buses need not follow the fixed routes needed by trolleys. If enough riders exist in the commute areas M levy mentions, buses could provide service without need to transfer. And the disruption to  community designs in attempts to provide trolley service through residential areas.

    But Trolley-Lovers prevailed. They put emphasis in mo transfer on the blue line from as far the Mexican Border. Demographics are very different in East-West communities; La Jolla Mira Mesa, etc.

    Initially trolleys may have environmental advantage compared to buses. CA electric power is,(was?), very clean. Long term all transportation vehicles will converge using electric power.

    Early Mid-Coast energy comparisons had a series error, perhaps a factor of around 2 in comparing the fossil fuel component of CA power. The combustion process was assumed 100% efficient.

    Greg Martin
    Greg Martin subscriber

    @Walt Brewer The big issue with the bus routes between Old Town and UTC/UCSD is that all of them are slow, unreliable, and stuck in traffic.  The trolley, with its own right-of-way, solves all of those issues.  Until dedicated transit lanes are the norm rather than an empty promise, the trolley is the better option for more reliable service.

    Transfers are already the norm, whether the Mid-Coast Trolley were to be built or not.  But I'd much rather transfer from one faster, higher-frequency route to another, than from one slower, unreliable route to another.

    Nancy Witt
    Nancy Witt subscribermember

    Sure hope Hunter, Jr. gets his comeuppance for his misusing govt. money.  Paying for his kid's pet rabbit airplane seat when charging the govt. and paying his wife 3500 a month seems way off base. He needs to get kicked out of his seat, cuz he likes the money and shows how he isn't real smart.  He got his seat on daddy's shirttails. (shirt 'tale' mainly)