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She’s not in New York City. Or Los Angeles. Or even San Francisco.

But when publishers get calls from local literary agent Sandra Dijkstra, they pick up the phone. Even if only know San Diego as somewhere “west of the Hudson.”

Dijkstra, who represents authors as varied as novelist Amy Tan and Civil War historian Eric Foner, has been called one of the “top five literary agents” by Esquire. In this weekend’s Q&A feature, she talks about the imperiled book industry, San Diego’s reputation in the publishing world and the art of the deal.

Attention would-be authors: She also has some tips about how to get published. If you’re a fiction writer, you have to be good. And if nonfiction is your game, that’s not all: you also have to be known.

In other news:

  • San Diego schools are suffering from major cutbacks. “The range of possibilities go from bad to catastrophic,” an official told us recently.

    You’d think they’d be pinching pennies hard enough to make Abraham Lincoln squeal. But are they? You be the judge: the district managed to find money to help send a school board member to China to look at schools there. The cost to the district: $835 for registration and airfare to Los Angeles.

    Other district employees are going too, but the district isn’t paying for them.

  • Friday was yet another exciting day on the floor of the House of Representatives: congresspeople voted on such scintillating issues as the new names for a couple of post offices.

    And they turned to another vital issue. Should they congratulate the New York Yankees for winning the World Series? Absolutely, said 346 representatives. No way, said 17 — including our very own Reps. Bob Filner and Duncan D. Hunter.

    What’s the deal? We investigate this display of bipartisan unity. (In case you’re wondering: Yes, Friday was a slow news day.)

  • In brief: Former San Diego Councilman Michael Zucchet is now permanent chief of the city’s white-collar worker union, and real-estate columnist Rich Toscano looks at slumping housing inventory.
  • Letter writers pondered sharing an airport with the military (why not?), bad teachers not getting fired (maybe there aren’t many), elderly drug kingpins (they might get raided) and a downtown football stadium (yes! and oh heck no).

Elsewhere:

  • San Diego’s medical-marijuana task force wants to allow dispensaries in commercial-zoned areas. (KPBS)
  • USC journalism students tried to get records about swine-flu deaths from 12 California counties. Ten, including San Diego County, refused. “We’re finding that it is incredibly difficult nationwide for a variety of reasons to get the actual names of the people who have died of H1N1,” complained an advocate for open records.

    “Death certificates can help the public see who is dying, and why, and help monitor the performance of health officials,” the journalists wrote.

The Coffee Collection:

Stay Back. Waaaay Back. Thanks to the swine flu, paramedics have something new to think about: The “Six-Foot Rule.

Gold in that Hill? Our story examines the obstacles facing a billionaire developer has he tries to turn a new L.A.-area stadium into reality.

Rough Hood, Pretty Garden: He’s newly alone, he’s bipolar and he’s living in the dumpiest home he could find. So why are people in City Heights raving about this guy?

Quote of the Week: “You’re going to be told to wear it, and you’ll wear it.” — UCSD Medical Center’s Dr. Jake Jacoby, laying down on the law on whether swine-flu patients can decide against wearing a mask in the ER waiting room.

— RANDY DOTINGA

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