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At Friendship Park in Imperial Beach, people used to gather at a fence to chat with friends on the other side of the border, often touching each other lovingly through the mesh dividing two countries.

Now a barrier on the U.S. side keeps visitors away from the fence, making it impossible to engage in normal conversation with people they can see on the other side. Many still talk via walkie talkies and cell phones, but activists have found a new way to communicate with the help of binoculars, sign language and translators.

“We wanted to break not only the border barrier but also the language barrier,” one organizer said.

Many in the local business community haven’t bothered to communicate with San Diego schools in recent years, stung by the dismantling of a former superintendent’s reforms. Now, the apparent departure of the current schools chief seems to be energizing business leaders, who fear a return to the grim old days.

But “reviving the business interest in schools is bound to stir up old passions and resentments, and the path is strewn with obstacles, from a dismal economy to bad timing.”

Boosters of the proposed Convention Center expansion say that it is one of the most powerful things the city can do to protect and expand the local economy.

But columnist Scott Lewis continues to question the mayor’s priorities — or whether he even has outlined them.

“There is true dissension from the idea that this is the city’s top priority right now,” he writes.

The task force the mayor appointed to study the issue is wrapping up its work, and Lewis continues to explore the rationale for its existence.

About that economy. Could it be improving? Tuesday brought another sign that the local housing market is picking up, good news for many (except, of course, those who are in the market for a home). Even so, one skeptic isn’t ready to put on her “party hat.”

Also on the housing front, we have an update on the fallout of the “staggering swindle” that we uncovered earlier this year, including bad news for a Navy officer who rented out his identity.

We also have more photos of Friendship Park and details on departing San Diego schools superintendent Terry Grier’s speech to hundreds of principals and managers.

Sounding positively poetic, he told the audience to “dance in the rain” — be creative despite constraints. “It doesn’t have to be the same dance, but dance it must be.”

Interesting advice from a man who’s jitterbugging out of town during tough times.

Elsewhere, the NCT reports there won’t be prosecutions in the infamous case of the fracas at a fundraiser for congressional candidate Francine Busby. There will, however, be at least one more press conference.

In CityBeat, columnist John Lamb digs into talk of a “civic leadership team” that will advise Mayor Jerry Sanders. Its first meeting apparently drew 70 people from among local movers and shakers.

In another government story, the U-T says simply negotiating over a new City Hall with a developer could cost nearly $1 million.

That’s a lot. Maybe the city can hire a negotiator to negotiate a better deal with the negotiators.

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RANDY DOTINGA

Dagny Salas

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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