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The Market Creek Plaza shopping center in southeastern San Diego was supposed to be a shining example of community revival. With the help of a non-profit organization, locally owned businesses moved in and began serving residents of the so-called Diamond neighborhoods.

Now, most of them have moved out. Only one locally owned business, a copy center, remains amid shops like Starbucks and T-Mobile that are operated by national and regional chains.

Some former store owners owe tens of thousands of dollars. As they lick their wounds, some investors say they’re concerned about the shopping center’s direction away from local ownership. But a representative of the group, the Jacobs Family Foundation, blames the recession and says the center hasn’t abandoned its mission.

In other news:

• City Hall’s open secret has finally been confirmed: the city is thinking about getting out of the landfill business and selling the Miramar Landfill.

• In a word, it was bizarre: a city administrator apparently went rogue and struck a deal with an Indian company to provide technical support to build two landfills in Mumbai. In exchange, the city would receive a 26 percent stake in the first five years of the contract.

The administrator no longer works for the city, and city leaders say the deal was always void.

Now, a city auditor who looked into the deal says there was no fraud or wrongdoing. Other than that, however, his lips are sealed.

• As we told you earlier this week, the San Diego school district is considering a tax that would levy a new fee — $98 for homeowners — on properties within the district boundaries. The money would be used to keep class sizes small.

We polled the school board candidates about the tax and found that two are in favor, one’s against and one will support it if the school board backs it.

John de Beck, who’s skeptical that a parcel tax (which needs more than a majority vote) would pass, said, “We’ve done a lot of things that have angered constituents.”

That’s a quote custom-made for any opposition movement that may spring up against the tax.

• We’re making another visit via time machine to San Diego’s long-departed Chinatown neighborhood. We told you about it in last week’s Q&A feature, and now we’ve got more details about the eight-block area that was home to hundreds of Chinese herbalists, gardeners, chauffeurs and restaurant workers.

In addition to providing gambling and opium dens to the adventurous, Chinatown and its residents offered “fallow ground” that was “hard as a rock” to Christian missionaries. But it appears that the Chinese stayed out of the brothel business in the surrounding Stingaree red-light district, now known as the Gaslamp Quarter. (“Stingaree” is another name for sting ray.)

Last year, we examined the rise and fall of the Stingaree brothels. Don’t miss the 1912 newspaper headline posted in the story: “138 Are Arrested in Stingaree Raid/136 Promise to Leave City; Two Agree to Reform.”

Many of the ladies came back.

Elsewhere:

San Diego is out of the running to host the 34th America’s Cup match. San Francisco is the only U.S. city still under consideration. (SI)

• In the U-T: “San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders will be ordered to give a deposition under oath in a wrongful termination case if a tentative ruling is allowed to stand.”

The case involves a former city official who was fired in 2008. He claims the sacking came because he talked to federal and local investigators regarding probes.

• In the LAT: “A California Coastal Commission member already under investigation for a potential conflict of interest on a controversial project was put in an awkward position this week with the release of e-mails detailing a prominent lobbyist’s attempts to secure his vote.”

The lobbyist represents the Port of San Diego. The story says the emails reveal that the lobbyist “drafted talking points” for the comissioner and talked about “spoon-feeding” him information.

• A report says San Diegans who drive could save an average of about $10,000 a year if they take public transportation.

But the calculations don’t appear to take into account the amount of time spent getting somewhere without a car. (CNS)

• The city of Poway is spending $91,000 on a security upgrade at a skateboard park. The new equipment includes a fingerprint scanner so the city will know who uses the park.

Why not just have staff on hand? Well, the NCT says, the city is less liable for injuries if no staff is there. Apparently, the park has had problems with bullying and vandalism.

• Finally, the former La Jolla home of UCSD founder Roger Revelle and his wife Ellen is up for sale for a cool $14 million, the La Jolla Light reports. The five-bedroom, four-bath house, decorated in “Spanish revival eclectic” style, includes a guesthouse and a wine cellar.

It sounds like the perfect gift for that special someone. In a related story, my birthday is coming up. Hint.

— RANDY DOTINGA

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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