Morning Report: Alvarez Versus the Establishment - Voice of San Diego

Morning Report UNVEILING THE UNSEEN

Morning Report: Alvarez Versus the Establishment

Five facts about Fletcher, breaking open data, and your brain on gunk.

David Alvarez’s time on the City Council has been marked by his struggles against what he views is “the establishment” that controls the agenda at City Hall. In the second of three reports about Alvarez, Liam Dillon writes that Alvarez clashed with former Mayor Jerry Sanders and wasn’t afraid to be the only “no” vote when it came to financing plans for big downtown projects.

His relationship with the next mayor, Bob Filner, was much different. Amid Filner’s standoff with the Tourism Authority, it was Alvarez that was able to broker the deal resolving the situation. “He was the only person who could get through to Bob,” said one prominent hotelier.

How to Open Up a Government

We’ve been writing a lot about the idea of “open government” recently; the idea took center stage when Filner briefly employed former City Councilwoman Donna Frye to head the city’s efforts to formalize open government practices. But what does it mean when journalists open up some government records?

To break down the process, Joel Hoffman took a report from an ethics complaint hotline run by San Diego Unified. The 22-page report, which wasn’t searchable, detailed 123 open complaints. He started by making it searchable, then went through all the stages of converting a piece of paper with hundreds of numbers on it to a useful infographic that helps tell a story.

FoodCorps Coming to Schools

When it comes to progressive school lunch programs, San Diego is no slouch. We’ve got “meatless Mondays” (as if Monday’s weren’t hard enough), lots of local, organic tofu on the menu and a robust farm-to-school program. As food blogger Clare Leschin-Hoar discovered, we aren’t stopping there. “San Diego is now just one of three Southern California school districts to be assigned a FoodCorps service member,” she writes.

The service members are tasked with connecting kids to “real food.” One example of how they do that: replacing ailing salad bars with dipper bars. And, no, that’s not ice cream. “A dipper bar has wedges of celery, cucumbers and carrots, with dipping choices like hummus, organic honey mustard and ranch dressing.”

Fletcher Facts: San Diego Explained

Come this time next month, you’ll undoubtedly be making plans for how to skip work and go vote in the special election being held on Nov. 19 to elect the next mayor of San Diego. One of the candidates who will appear on the ballot is Nathan Fletcher, who is running for mayor for the second time. Our Liam Dillon and NBC 7 San Diego’s Catherine Garcia brought together a few Fletcher highlights you really oughta know in our most recent San Diego Explained.

Also, on Thursday Fletcher picked up the important endorsement of the San Diego Police Officer’s Association.

News Nibbles

• Interim Mayor Todd Gloria hopes the next mayor will be a champion for the city’s languishing infrastructure.

• Despite recently passed laws stripping felons of their government pension benefits, Bob Filner will still receive his.

• Air pollution is giving commuters lung cancer and might be more dangerous than smoking, according to the  International Agency for Research on Cancers.

• The Cabrillo National Monument has reopened for visitors, thanks to a law passed by Congress that reopened the government.

• The San Diego congressional delegation’s lone “no” vote on the law that re-opened the government explained his vote.

• This giant machine might be crawling under your house within the next few days. Don’t worry, it’s just inspecting the gas lines.

On Brains With Gunk

Scientists think that you might have gunky brains. While studying mice, they observed “cellular waste” flowed out of the brains of sleeping mice faster than awake mice. They speculated that getting a good night’s rest (or napping) can flush out the gunk and may explain why well-rested people can learn and make decisions better than their deprived brethren. The research might also have implications for brain disease.

The Morning Report usually arrives in your inbox around 6 a.m. To all of you reading at that hour: It might be time for a nap.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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