If you’re a refugee seeking help in San Diego, Bob Montgomery is your top advocate.

The Vietnam War veteran runs the San Diego office of the International Refugee Committee, where he oversees nearly five dozen employees and hundreds of volunteers. Its job is to help refugees resettle here, about 1,300 this year alone.

In this week’s Q&A, Montgomery talks about the regions that produce the most refugees (Iraq, Burma, east Africa and Bhutan), the disappointments they sometimes face in America, and the challenges of helping people find jobs that meet their needs.

In other news:

  • If you’re like me, you’ve learned a lot thanks to our real-estate and economic coverage. A “double-dip” doesn’t just refer to careless grazing at the hors d’oeuvres table. And a “shadow inventory” has nothing to do with those creepy magazines that the newsstand guy keeps behind the counter. Both topics — a double-dip recession and a hidden housing supply — dominate our coverage of the housing market and economy today. We’ve got thoughts from two major housing gurus too.
  • San Diego’s downtown redevelopment agency is preparing discussions to lift the cap on how much money it can spend over its lifetime that’s imposed on it by state law. That decisions looms large in Chargers stadium talks.
  • Our editorial cartoonist Ashley P. Lewis channels Mayor Jerry Sanders and his hopes for 2010.
  • Our Photo of the Day is a testament to the importance of good lighting. Today’s photo soundtrack, a song that invokes the picture, is a cut from a classic Rolling Stones album.


  • A clarification: Yesterday’s Morning Report mentioned a CityBeat story about San Diego’s urban forester. I should have made it clear that the city saved his position. Go fightin’ trees!
  • The local taxi strike, such as it was, is over. (U-T)
  • Local law enforcement agencies are reviewing that court ruling regarding Taser use that we told you about earlier this week. (NCT)
  • Finally, it’s local history time! President Obama stayed up until 1 a.m. not too long ago, but he’s got nothing on President Woodrow Wilson: 95 years ago tonight, he pressed a Western Union telegraph button at 3 a.m. in Washington D.C. (midnight our time) that switched on the lights at Balboa Park’s Panama-California Exposition.

    A celebratory cacophony erupted: Mortar fire, exploding mines, sirens, whistles, cowbells, rattles, and cheers from a crowd of tens of thousands, reports The Journal of San Diego History. There were fireworks too, highlighting these words in honor of the Panama Canal: “The land divided — the world united — San Diego — the first port of call.”

    You like San Diego history? Me too. This year, under the guise of History Man, I’ve written about the Gaslamp Quarter brothels, San Diego’s most famous hoaxes (including fake Lincoln love letters), Judge Roy Bean’s Old Town jailbreak and San Diego’s hottest day (111 degrees), which wilted a candle shop’s inventory and this poor store clerk, whose photo inspired a pal of mine to declare, “Get this woman a gin and tonic!” Sadly, I wasn’t able to track down this hot-and-presumably-bothered lady to remember that scorcher of a day in 1963.)

    I also interviewed San Diego’s preeminent baseball historian, explained why there’s a graveyard of tombstones in town and asked a former local judge whether he actually engaged in the alleged escapades that led to his recall from office. (The answer: none of my beeswax, thank you very much).

Here’s hoping you make history for all the right reasons in 2010.


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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