Just about half of The San Diego Union-Tribune’s newsroom staff has disappeared over the past few years. Among them: the newspaper’s editor.

Now there’s a new newsroom chief, a man whose focus — more on the internet, less on the editorial page — contrasts sharply with that of the previous regime.

We sit down with Jeff Light for this weekend’s Q&A. Light holds its cards fairly close, and employees dreading an upcoming newsroom reorganization (and possible involuntary separations) won’t find clues about their fates in this interview. But the new editor does give insight into his priorities.

He also talks about Twitter, saying it should be used to engage audiences but not “to express opinion or showcase personality outside of the professional persona of the journalist.” (U-T tweets are just going to be a joy to read, aren’t they?)

The point seems to be that the new editor wants to change things, but not go too far.

  • Consider this: The mayor of San Diego makes about $100,000. He’s essentially the CEO of the company that is the city. So nobody in a company — er, city — should make more than the CEO, right?

    Right-o, thinks Councilwoman Marti Emerald, who’s floating the idea of capping salaries for non-union workers at the mayor’s salary.

    That means everybody making over about $100K would get a cut. (You get a salary cut! You get a salary cut! Etc.)

    Emerald wants to use the saved money to restore positions in the Fire Department. “These are extreme times, and these are extreme measures,” her spokeswoman told us.

  • As you may recall, the San Diego City Council this week took time to worry about immigration law in Arizona. Never mind dealing with San Diego’s countless unresolved municipal problems: Politicians needed to make a point, and so a point was made.

    Now, the San Diego school board is about to consider a similar resolution, one warning that the new Arizona law could threaten public safety in … California. The resolution also warns students and their families about visiting Arizona.

  • Over at the Photo of the Day, our photographer finds an excuse to quote “Amazing Grace” in a post about missing Chargers photos.


  • Addicts who are seeking help and children who need help will get fewer resources under the proposed county budget for the fiscal year that begins in July, the NCT reports. The paper paraphrases a staffer as saying “the reduction in child welfare services is expected to result in larger caseloads, increased response times and difficulties in meeting court-ordered timelines for handling those cases.”
  • Now here’s a story you don’t hear every day: cops de-confiscate marijuana.

    San Diego Police have returned an ounce of pot and 14 grams of hashish to a medical marijuana patient who was acquitted on charges related to pot possession. CityBeat says the return of the pot marks the end of a year-long court battle.

  • An odd story in the U-T: “Superior Court Judge DeAnn Salcido, in a highly unusual move, said Friday she is seeking a court order against her boss and colleagues on the bench, contending they are not following state law in imposing probation conditions for domestic violence defendants.”
  • Finally, stressed-out medical students in Northern California are taking part in a program that allows them to spend time with therapy dogs. The program, inspired by one at UCSD, allows the students to chill out with some quality pooch time.

    “It’s been shown that animals can reduce heart rates and lower stress levels,” a health official says.

Well, OK, but what about those canines, who may be tired out from all this work? If they need a therapy human, I’m right here.

What We’ve Learned This Week:

City Is Doing the Time Warp Again: It’s 2010, not 2005. But the cost estimate to build the downtown schoobrary is just about the same as it was back when we — well, except ageless folks like myself — were all five years younger.

You Didn’t Really Want that $4,000 Did You? The city attorney is suing in a bid to overhaul how San Diego and its municipal employees pay for their pensions. We’ve got the skinny on what that may mean and how it may cost employees a bundle this year.

 Whiteout Conditions Exist: School boards that serve areas with lots of minority residents often end up being all-white. Thanks to a state court case, there could be changes in how school boards are elected in a bid to equalize representation.

Number of the Week: 44. That’s the number of hours per week that the new downtown library may be open if it gets approved and built. The 44 hours do not include any on Saturdays.

The small number of hours gives a boost to critics who think it’s a waste to spend $185 million on a new facility that will barely be open. However, the project seems to be still headed full speed toward approval.

The Coffee Collection: Fun-to-read stories to enjoy over a cup of joe

Soul Food, Served Soulfully: There’s a new sit-down restaurant in Southeastern San Diego, and that’s big news in a community with few places for meeting, greeting and fried-chicken-and-waffles eating. We drop by Annie Belle’s Famous Wings and Greens for a spell.

Nice Art, Einstein: We take “a lively look at how art and science work together at local scientific institutions and recall how Jonas Salk helped make it so.

Quote of the Week: “The gang used to be the most important thing to me. Today, my gang is my family. Those are the ones who stuck by me.” — an ex-gang member, speaking about the role of his family at a Chula Vista gang-intervention meeting.


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