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Week in Review: Zigging and Zagging for SDG&E, Counting Bikes for Health

‘Twas the night before the decision on whether SDG&E or its customers will pay for the 2007 wildfire costs, and there was a lot of stirring going on in the house.

First, a California Public Utilities commissioner said customers shouldn’t have to pay extra to cover the fire costs. Then, in an 11th-hour revision, he changed his mind and said customers should pay. Then, he withdrew that opinion.

Just when you think he’ll zig, he zags.

The CPUC ultimately voted that customers shouldn’t pay, but also left the door open for SDG&E to return again to argue that customers cover its losses.

Our reporter Amita Sharma has been following every turn of this tumultuous story. See all her coverage here.

Other Stories This Week

-San Diego is using electronic sensors to count the number of bicyclists riding the streets.

The count, undertaken by researchers from San Diego State University, is the most extensive bicycle count system in the nation. Researchers hope the data will tell them where people are riding the most, which will help cities plan out where facilities like bike paths should go.

Data has also revealed another surprising fact: about 80 to 90 percent of cyclists are men.

Photo by Tom Fudge

Some cyclists approach a bike trip scanner, embedded in the street on 5th Avenue in San Diego.

-After the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn. last week, California Senator Dianne Feinstein vowed to draft new legislation banning assault weapons. The news generated heated debate in the comments section of our story. If you haven’t already, read through the responses and share your thoughts.

-New Mayor Bob Filner announced this week that San Diego is in much worse financial shape than outgoing Mayor Jerry Sanders had said. The city won’t be getting almost $30 million in state funds for redevelopment projects, including its permanent homeless shelter. On KPBS Midday Edition, the city’s COO Jay Goldstone called that decision “ridiculous.”

The city’s budget will also take a hit as it transitions new employees from pensions to 401(k)-style retirement plans, as is required by Proposition B. Pension system changes will cost the city more than it will save for the first four years or so, according to Goldstone.

Combined with the state's redevelopment decision, the city could lose a total of $41 million next year.

And with that good news, happy holidays! We will be here covering the news all next week, so make sure you stay tuned.

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