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Roundtable: Rolando Megadorm, Bitcoin Fever, Holiday Films



Tom Fudge


Jeremy Ogul, Mission Times Courier

David Wagner, KPBS News

Beth Accomando, KPBS News


Rolando Residents Riled Up Over "Megadorm"

A group of Rolandans claim in a lawsuit that the city of San Diego ignored its own laws and development rules when it approved a large student dormitory without extensive public review and approval of a new permit.

The developers, Carmel Partners, are marketing BLVD63 (at the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and 63rd Street near SDSU) as luxury family apartments and strongly insist that it is not a megadorm.

The development consists of four four-story buildings, 4,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 332 residential units with a a total of 915 bedrooms.

The attorney for Rolandans for Quality Infill Development says the development does not comply with zoning or land-use regulations, the city's general plan, the Subdivision Map Act and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This group also says the developers misrepresented the nature of the project, which Carmel Partners denies.

The development is well underway, so what can result from the suit?

Bitcoin: Currency Of The Wild West

It’s hot, it’s digital, it’s sky-high, and nobody controls it.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that seems to have arisen out of the ether about 5 years ago. You can't buy much with it, with the exception of the odd space flight on Virgin Galactic. It's hard to get, too, but there is a Bitcoin ATM in Vancouver, British Columbia.

You can also speculate on Bitcoin values (which have risen dramatically) and be subject to all kinds of fraud at the same time. And because Bitcoin is digital, hackers are no doubt licking their chops.

But can you use it this holiday season in San Diego to buy a new Xbox for the kids? Maybe.

So what is Bitcoin, where did it come from and who backs it? Why are libertarians attracted to it? Should we (and the U.S. dollar) be afraid of it? And what the heck are the Winklevoss twins doing with it?

Swamped By Movies

At the end of the calendar year, we generally get swamped with movies trying to hook holiday audiences and/or Academy voters come Oscar season.

Some cost gazillions. Few earn them back. The tendency of films to be either small and earnest or huge and splashy is driving a certain type of film — the mid-budget indie (around $20 million) — out of existence.

Is there a correlation between big budgets and box office success? Even a reverse correlation? How important are the big blockbusters to the studios? And what films are worth our time and money this season? We check in on three “serious” films coming out this season: "Nebraska", starring Bruce Dern; "Inside Llewyn Davis," the latest from the Coen Brothers; and the Matthew McConaughey film "The Dallas Buyers’ Club."

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