Briefs – March 18

Posted: March 18th, 2016 | Briefs, Calendar, Opinion & News Briefs, News | No Comments

San Diego opens data to public

A new program called DataSD will make available to residents all the data used by government and the city wants input on what data should be made available first.

“This is about including residents in the conversation so we can make government more responsive and transparent,” Mayor Kevin Falconer said in a press statement. “Data is a key public asset, one that can be used to make our city government work smarter, faster, and potentially cheaper.”

DataSD includes a list of 115 datasets representing 20 city departments and programs, ranging from street sweeping to schedules to park restroom locations. This initial offering includes items that are frequently requested by community members and the media. Based on the votes, quality, readiness, value and security, the city will start releasing actual datasets on July 1 of this year.

“San Diego’s approach will set us apart as a national leader in open data,” said Almis Udrys, director of the Performance and Analytics Department. “Many cities identify a few data sets, throw them up online and declare themselves transparent. We are setting a much higher bar, starting with an inventory of city datasets, continuing with public input and releasing datasets to a portal that ultimately will be adopted automatically.”

Cybersecurity and personal privacy of residents and city employees is a key part of the development of the open data effort. Before any dataset is published, it is reviewed to ensure personal information is protected.

As San Diegans weigh in on the data priorities, they can also help work out bugs on the site itself. The code used to build the site is open sourced so the public can see how it is built and programmers can give input to the DataSD team and suggest fixes and improvements.

To visit the DataSD site and begin requesting what datasets you’d like to see first, go to

Grossmont, Cuyamaca eight-week courses

In a hurry to earn college credits at Grossmont or Cuyamaca colleges?

Eight-week courses beginning the week of March 28 are a great way to pick up general education or subject-specialty classes in less time, but at the same affordable cost of regular semester-length classes. The classes ending May 21 offer from one to five credits at a cost of $46 per unit. They consist of traditional, online and hybrid classes, which require both in-classroom and online attendance.

For students looking to complete general education course requirements, classes offered include: Interpersonal Communication, U.S. History, Principles of Macroeconomics, Introductory Psychology, World Religions, Spanish, Public Speaking, History of Rock Music and more.

Other offerings focus on career technical education and specialty areas such as: Principles of Baking and Pastry Making, Perioperative Nursing, Introduction to Administration of Justice, and Introduction to Local Area Networks at Grossmont College; and Business Law, Cisco Networking Academy, Applied Hydraulics, and Advanced Wastewater Plant Operations at Cuyamaca College. Business office training is available in online, self-paced courses such as Essential PowerPoint, Keyboard/Document Processing, and Using Microsoft Outlook. Students can increase their learning power by enrolling in online courses in Career Decision Making, Study Skills, and Time Management.

Lists of class offerings at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are posted at

Grossmont College is located at 8800 Grossmont College Drive in El Cajon. Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego. College applications and online registration are available at  and

The deadline for registering is April 1.

City makes sandbags easier to acquire

To coincide with the rains last weekend, the city of San Diego made it easier for residents to receive free sandbags. The city moved sandbag distribution from fire stations to selected recreation centers in each City Council district. The new plan will ensure that the sandbags are readily available in advance of potential storms.

“The city’s Fire-Rescue Department handled sandbag distribution and gave out more than 70,000 bags over a three-month period between November and January,” Fire-Rescue spokesperson Capt. Joe Amador said in a press statement. “While we were proud to serve our neighbors, we couldn’t always be on site to hand out bags when crews were out on calls. The new distribution plan will ensure that the sandbags are available on a regular schedule and in convenient locations.”

When rain is expected, people who present proof of residency can get up to 10 empty sandbags from centrally located recreation centers. Residents offering identification showing their home street address can pick up bags between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon until 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The pick-up location for Navajo area residents is at the Allied Gardens Recreation Center, located at 5155 Grennbrier Ave. For more information on storm preparation, visit

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