The San Diego Union-Tribune declares in a new advertising campaign that it’s “Here to Stay.” In our weekend Q&A, publisher Ed Moss shows that he’s definitely with the program.

Never mind the loss in paid readership, a much thinner printed paper and severe staff cutbacks. Moss, who took over the U-T when new owners came in last May, says the paper is committed to its print edition plus local news and local advertising.

Moss also discusses the paper’s circulation (no longer falling), its editorial tilt (no word on whether it will still lean to the right) and the future of offering readers free access to online news (iffy).

In other news:

  • San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders met with Chargers President Dean Spanos to talk about new stadium options downtown. It was the first time the two had met since the team and the city reignited discussions in January.

    The Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal has often been discussed as a potential site — and often dismissed as a site by port leaders. But the terminal seems to be off the table while another location seems to have been crowned the front-runner: The site of the Wonder Bread building east of Petco Park.

  • Nancy Graham, the former president of San Diego’s downtown redevelopment agency who resigned under a cloud, showed up in court to answer questions about a long delay in submitting records requested by the San Diego Ethics Commission. “I don’t believe I did anything wrong,” she told us, adding: “Ever since all this started, I never got to say my side because the lawyers tell you to keep your mouth shut.”
  • We have gathered a week’s worth of your voices: Dianne Parham writes about her prediction about how the bid for the library will be within budget until… Richard del Rio notes that the news of business leaders convening discussions on education sounds familiar … Hank Cunningham has no sympathy for residents of De Anza Cove … Bill Bradshaw isn’t buying the idea that Mt. Hope Cemetery could become an artistic attraction … A school board member, John De Beck declares that fees charged to students to participate in extra-curricular activities are unconstitutional … But Lisa Chavarria says parents should stop complaining about them and … Francis O’Neill Zimmerman says philanthropy should cover them … Finally, Carrie Schneider says potential border hillside erosion should be blamed on our local delegation in Congress.
  • Elsewhere: The U-T says SDG&E and Cox Communications have agreed “to pay $17 million to settle claims by state investigators that their shoddy maintenance led to three huge North County wildfires two years ago.” Also: troubled San Diego National Bank is kaput. (U-T)

The Coffee Collection:

  • A Not-So-Grave Graveyard: San Diego’s Mt. Hope Cemetery might not be so somber: the city is thinking about turning it into more than a place for the dead and the grieving.
  • The Seven-Year Eviction: The city started trying to kick out residents of Mission Bay’s De Anza Cove Mobile Home Park years ago. So why are people still there?
  • Quote of the Week: “Nonetheless, your passion for trying to kill the new Main Library, at whatever the cost, is duly noted.” — Jay Goldstone, San Diego’s chief operating officer, icily responding to Councilman Carl DeMaio. 

Finally, it’s Halloween and a perfect time to remember a late October evening when San Diegans were scared silly.

It was 71 years ago yesterday when Orson Welles and his infamous “War of the Worlds” broadcast convinced hundreds of thousands of Americans that an alien invasion had begun. San Diegans were among them: they besieged the city police department with calls shortly after 5 p.m. on Oct. 30, 1938.

Local radio listeners tuned in to L.A’s KNX-AM, which still exists, heard announcers reporting “live” on explosions on Mars. Then came a Martian landing in New Jersey and a death-ray attack on New York City. The broadcast, largely based on an H.G. Wells story, sounds vivid and real even today.

The San Diego Journal reported that some residents “dashed” from their homes in panic and flagged down cops on motorcycles and in “prowl cars.” In Tijuana, “several cases of near-pandemonium reigned in cafes & bars,” the Evening Tribune said.

There was even a local twist: early on, the “War of the Worlds” broadcast mentioned that a conference of astronomers was being held in San Diego. One of them, the announcer said, confidently declared there was no reason to worry about those explosions on Mars.

Now if that isn’t a reason to panic, I don’t know what is.

— RANDY DOTINGA

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