The teeny tiny East County hamlet of Guatay sure seems like a quiet place. But it got noisy one evening about 25 years ago when a new resident blew a whistle to call her kids in for dinner.

Toilets flushed throughout Guatay’s RV park, making the resident scratch her head. What was that all about?

Illegal substances, it turned out: the park’s denizens were flushing their drugs, thinking the cops were on the scene.

The park has turned around since then, ridding itself of its nasty reputation. Guatay, though, has stayed largely the same: cell phone service has passed it by, as has door-to-door mail service, newspaper delivery and cable TV. (I shudder just thinking about it)

But, as our colorful story about life in Guatay explains, there are some good things about being one of the 800 residents.

For one thing, back-country wildfires have always spared Guatay, perhaps thanks to a long-dead American Indian leader. (Thanks, chief!) For another, living there is dirt-cheap. And Guatay can be both silent and beautiful, noisy toilets notwithstanding.

In other news:

• Ding-dong goes the doorbell. Avon lady? Nah. If you live in San Diego’s District 8 (the city’s southernmost neighborhoods) or District 6 (Clairemont, Linda Vista and environs), it may well be a City Council candidate with a pitch.

There are no incumbents in these races this year, so the rivals are hustling door-to-door and pushing name-recognition (if they think they have it) and reputation-bashing (if they think their opponents stink).

Indeed, there’s a lot of negative campaigning going on.

Some is via snail mail with messages like these: Big spender! Soft on crime! His nephew was a slumlord! (Seriously.)

Some is via word of mouth on stoops and in doorways. And some is via dueling snide remarks and a lawsuit threat or two.

• It’s one of the biggest issues on the local ballot next month: Should San Diego’s mayor be the rough equivalent of a city CEO? Or more of a glorified member of the City Council?

Proponents are supporting the strong-mayor measure with plenty of money.

But there’s no well-funded opposition to the measure. How come? We’d like to hear your thoughts, and we’ve gotten some from two critics of the strong mayor idea.

• Picture this: You’re a school district and you’re expecting to lay off teachers and other workers. Is this a good time to give six budget staffers pay raises that total $49,000?

As we report, the San Diego school district’s labor unions say no. So does a board member who was the only one to vote against the plan. But the district says yes.

• It’s time for another edition of the San Diego People Project, which heads to North County and a Roberto’s restaurant to meet this week’s subject. Don’t miss this one: it’s a beautiful portrait.


• The sheriff’s race is heating up, the U-T reports, with former Sheriff Bill Kolender taking Sheriff Bill Gore’s side against allegations by candidate Jay Suer that the current regime is too stingy with concealed weapons permits.

“Kolender says that former Sheriff Jim Roache and his undersheriff at the time, La Suer, in the early 1990s ‘undermined public trust by issuing concealed weapons permits as payoffs to political cronies,’” the U-T reports. La Suer denies the charge.

• Also in the U-T: A City Council committee is moving forward with marijuana dispensary regulations.

• Art Linkletter, who entered broadcasting in San Diego and became one of the most famous TV hosts of all time, died yesterday at the age of 97.

As the Washington Post puts it: “When the family moved to San Diego, young Mr. Linkletter trained his flair for the dramatic as a shill for an ice cream truck driver. The driver would pay the 5-year-old to parade around the playground and enthusiastically lick a double vanilla cone to encourage the other children to buy one.”

The NYT says he grew up in “an unpaved adobe section of San Diego” (wonder where that was?) and “at one point, he sorted through lemons left abandoned in piles outside a packing plant, cleaned them off and sold them for six cents a dozen.”

As a college student, he worked in radio at what is now San Diego State and got a job at AM station KGB, where he stuck around for years before becoming a national radio and TV star. He was most famous, the Post wrote, “for his candid, chuckle-inducing interviews with kids who said ‘the darndest things’ live on air.”

• A San Diego resident tells Zonies through a letter to Phoenix’s daily newspaper that “you don’t have to boycott San Diego because we are going to vote the bums out.”

He’s apparently referring to the San Diego City Council, which voted to oppose Arizona’s new law regarding law enforcement and illegal immigration. “Please don’t let the stuck-on-stupid crowd downtown and other domestic enemies of the Constitution stop you from seeing your friends,” he writes.

Will “the bums” be voted out? Well, election day isn’t too far away.

• Finally, break out your saddle shoes and hair grease: a sing-along showing of the movie “Grease,” complete with lyrics on the screen, is scheduled to hit San Diego in July.

I’ll be the one in the front row with the pompadour that’s higher than Kramer’s hair on “Seinfeld.” It’s either that or a poodle skirt.


Dagny Salas

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.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.