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Roundtable: Filner Speaks; Local Gun Control; Building Heights; Chargers Hires

Andrew Keatts, Coastal Heights
Roundtable: Filner Speaks; Local Gun Control; Building Heights; Chargers Hires
GUESTSKatie Orr, Metro Reporter, KPBS News Tony Perry, San Diego Bureau chief, Los Angeles Times Andrew Keatts, Land Use Reporter, Voice of San Diego Bernie Wilson, Reporter, Associated Press

Low Buildings = Coastal Views: In 1972, San Diegans passed an initiative limiting the height of buildings west of I-5 to 30 feet, with exceptions, including downtown and Little Italy.

The limit has successfully preserved ocean views, for the most part. In spite of near-constant nibbling around the edges by both politicians and developers, it has survived for 40 years.

But opinions on the limits vary widely. Many believe that the height limit and the resulting coastal views and access are what makes San Diego so unique and liveable.

But others believe that the removal of the height limit would mean more housing units and therefore more density, lower prices and less sprawl. Still others say the limit is arbitrary, leads to uniformity and stifles architectural creativity.

Because the law was passed by initiative, voters would have to weigh in on any exemptions or changes to the limit.

Mayor Filner's Busy Week: On Tuesday, Mayor Bob Filner gave the State of the City address -- introduced, by the way, by his former rival Nathan Fletcher.

The mayor stressed fiscal responsibility, asking for a five-year freeze of pensionable pay for all city workers to help offset the expected $40 million in costs associated with switching employees from a pension plan to a 401K-type plan.

He also wants an urban forestry program, trolley access to the airport, and a new department of neighborhoods, in addition to the city office in Tijuana scheduled to open February 1.

The mayor announced that he will be accessible once a month in the lobby of city hall to anyone who wants to talk to him.

Also this week, reports surfaced that Filner told the Port Tenants Association that he will veto the City Council’s days-old appointments to the Port Commission.

Just before 5 p.m. Friday, Filner vetoed the Port appointments.

Going Off Guns: This week President Obama released several proposals for dealing with the vast number of firearms in private hands in the U.S. They included both executive actions, which he implemented immediately, and longer-term initiatives, which he will need Congress for.

Not so fast, said the National Rifle Association, whose leaders vowed many times during the week to defeat any attempt at any change.

Meantime, the City Council of Del Mar voted to ask the Fair Board not to renew contracts with Crossroads of the West, which holds four gun shows a year at the fairgrounds. So far, the Fair Board has been unmoved. And the City Council of Chula Vista this week passed a resolution supporting gun control legislation at the national level.

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Bernie Wilson, Chargers

Chargers Hire McCoy and Telesco: Adding weight to the truism that timing is everything, Mike McCoy, the much-praised offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos, was hired on Tuesday to coach the San Diego Chargers.

McCoy had been interviewed for coaching jobs by three other teams. But fact that the Broncos lost on Monday to the Baltimore Ravens by three points due, many think, to an ultra-conservative offense, may have enabled San Diego to get him. McCoy is 40.

Another 40-year-old, Tom Telesco, director of player personnel for the Indianapolis Colts for six years, has been hired as the Chargers general manager, to general approval.

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