History. Exercise. And if you’re lucky, a tale of a juicy scandal or two.

There’s plenty to enjoy during the weekly San Diego walking tours led by Patty Fares, who strolls through local neighborhoods in search of the hidden past.

In this weekend’s Q&A feature, Fares talks about the gems we find when we take a moment to look up and down instead of straight ahead.

You’ll learn about the ghost who still has fans, the future kid mayor who developed Ocean Beach, and the college that gave University Heights its name (Normal Heights too).

On the news front, the former president of the downtown redevelopment agency is pleading the Fifth. Nancy Graham refuses to provide documents to the San Diego Ethics Commission, which is none too pleased and flexing its own legal muscle.

Also at City Hall, a deputy chief of staff may not be running for his boss’ City Council seat after all.

And the mayor answers questions about his spokesman’s refusal to provide 692 emails in response to a public-records request. According to the mayor, journalists are part of the problem.

In education, we look at a strange-sounding idea about how to preserve reduced-class sizes. It all has to do with convincing the state to say “never mind” regarding a costly penalty.

The Coffee Collection (If you missed these good reads this week, check them out over a cup of java).

— This Hotel Is Not a Home: So the city and a developer agreed on a plan to renovate a motel in Little Italy into an attractive hotel/apartment complex.

That’s nice. But the developer seems to have forgotten something. A very big something.

— Dysfunction Junction: Caltrans tells public-safety agencies which roads will be closed each night so ambulances and firetrucks don’t get stuck behind orange cones.

Sounds like a good idea, right? Well, there’s a complication. A very big complication.

Quote of the week: “… trapping the sea lions, shooting them with rubber-tipped arrows, broadcasting fake killer-whale sounds, exploding underwater fireworks” — Some of the unsuccessful strategies used in Seattle to get rid of pesky sea lions.

Other non-working tactics included foul-smelling fish and nets. One approach actually worked, however.

Term of the week: “Efficiency expert.”

The owners of the Union-Tribune have brought in efficiency experts to monitor how employees do their jobs and get them to be more productive.

We hope the monitoring is a bit more sophisticated than this.

A last note: One of our reporters is leaving. Rani Gupta, who’s covered City Hall since last December, is off to attend a law school in Massachusetts.

Harv-something or other. Total safety school!

Come back and visit, Rani. Just don’t sue any of us. We’ll know to settle on the spot.

This is a new feature sent to subscribers of the Morning Report (formerly known as the Daily News Alert). We’re publishing it here until the end of the month, but you’ll need to sign up to receive it after that.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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