Doughnut shops used to be a sweet spot for San Diego’s Cambodian immigrants: They ran lots of them, offering the usual bear claws, old fashioneds and coffee to early risers and night owls. By the 1990s, Cambodians owned as many as four out of every five independent doughnut shops in the state.

But hard times and changing family dynamics are changing things, along with evolving food tastes. (It seems like everyone wants to either survive only on acai juice or gobble down a triple BBQ bacon cheesburger deluxe with a large Coke and fries. For breakfast.)

Doughnut shops have closed all over the region. And kids of local doughnut magnates are turning to careers in which they can make more money and don’t need to get to work at 4 a.m. (Those French crullers don’t bake themselves.)

We profile the changing times in the business of doughnuts, which have “became one of the most recognized cultural markers of being Cambodian in the United States.”

In other news:

  • Employees at the county district attorney’s office aren’t exactly living on the knife’s edge during these tough times: There are more lawyers, more budget dollars, and a much-bigger DA salary too. Not to mention the gym, the take-home cars, and a part-time office historian.

    The funny thing is that the prosecutors aren’t going to trial as much as they used to. Crime itself is way down. Meanwhile, other government agencies are cutting back all over the place.

    Why is the DA’s office an exception? We take a look in the final installment in a five-part series about District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and her rise to power.

  • Public-safety reporter Keegan Kyle has created a statistical breakdown of hundreds of local homicides over the past decade. You can look at a map pinpointing where they occurred, check trends (the overall numbers have been shrinking over the last few years) and review some of the unusual places where the deaths have occurred.
  • Earlier this week, we told you about an unusual cluster of autism cases in the northwestern part of the city of San Diego. I’m going to talk again to a researcher who helped pinpoint the cluster and nine others in the state. Do you have questions for her? If so, drop me a line.
  • Columnist Scott Lewis’ latest interview subject is Gil Cabrera, the former commissioner of San Diego’s Ethics Commission. He apparently ran afoul of Mayor Jerry Sanders, who refused to reappoint him.

    Cabrera bemoans the “inefficiency and disorganization within the city bureaucracy,” discusses critics of the commission and points a finger at the lack of local leadership. Unlike other interview subjects who declined to identify the most promising local leader for reasons of caution (or self-preservation), Cabrera bluntly says no one comes to mind.

  • The Photo of the Day is recovering from eating too many doughnuts. It will return if it can manage to get off the couch. (Ooof. Arg. Medic!)


  • Nobody puts the San Diego City Council in a corner. Well, unless they’re the governor. (U-T). Short-term airport parking is going to extend its long arm farther into your wallet. (NCT) And the high drama over a big North County housing development continues, with County Supervisor Bill Horn’s hot seat getting warmer. (U-T)
  • You put the Ocean Beach Pier, illegal lobster fishing, “hand-lining” and an observant Fish & Game officer all together, and what do you get? A case that’s gone all the way to a state appeals court. This one’s a bit complicated, so we’ll let USD law professor Shaun Martin explain.

It sounds like most, if not all, of the participants in this drama got a bit steamed.


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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