It would have been a compromise to beat all compromises, and a possible major victory for Mayor Jerry Sanders, the kind of thing he could leave as a legacy to a severely troubled city.

Behind the scenes, Sanders worked toward a partial solution to San Diego’s monumental financial crisis: a ballot measure asking voters to slightly raise their sales taxes. The idea was to give everybody a little something, even those who think the city has failed to push its workers to sacrifice.

How’d it all fall apart? As our story explains, plenty of major players refused to play ball. Now, the blame game has begun. Check out the vitriol in comments from council members and advocates for labor and business. It seems to make any compromise even less likely than before.

In other news:

• Some people in town think the San Diego school board has been doing a poor job at running the district. What to do? A coalition has been floating an idea: expand the board and leave voters out of the loop.

As we report, “the budding plan would add four new members to the board. Unlike the existing five elected members, they would be chosen by an outside group that could include the leaders of local universities, parent groups, labor unions and business chiefs, among others.”

It’s not just a random idea floating in the ether. The coalition has hired a consultant, and sources say it’s hired a PR firm too. As for the response, well, a school board member calls it a “another downtown grab,” while the teachers union president sees it as a smack against democracy.

• How many dollars did the county lose by refusing to go after federal stimulus funds geared to subsidize jobs for unemployed poor people? A think tank estimates that the number is between $11 million and $18 million.

The estimate is just that, and it comes from an organization that advocates for poor people. But one number is firm: 10 percent. That was the local unemployment rate in May.

A county spokeswoman told us that bad timing and unanswered questions kept the county from going after the dollars.

Critics, however, are royally miffed, including two candidates for county supervisor, both who want to kick out the longtime incumbents. Says one: “The county has this idea that anybody at the bottom of the pay scale are either here illegally or worth less. I think it’s a matter of human worth.”


• In yesterday’s print edition, the U-T made a big splash of a new study, funded by a development organization, that says the Petco Park development is making more for the city than initially expected. Critics told the paper they were unimpressed with the report.

The Reader says the U-T story didn’t note that an economist it quoted was “a paid consultant in the development of the ballpark and surrounding real estate.” The paper did, however, note the economist’s consultant duties in two stories earlier this year.

The Reader, a perennial thorn in the side of the U-T, also says the paper “is up to its old tricks.” In fact, not every journalist’s mistake is a sign of some grand conspiracy. More than one broadcast media outlet — see this report on KUSI — also presented the report with little second-guessing. Now excuse me, I must go get my orders from the CIA through the metal device in my head.

• The U-T follows up on its scoop about $550,000 in community grants from the county that weren’t documented properly by those who got the money. So why did a religious group in North County get a bundle to promote “big band concerts”? It’s still unclear, but the ministry’s chief complained about having to account for everything down to the cost of salt and pepper shakers. Has he never filed an expense report with a finicky accountant?

• Some 35 people were stung yesterday by stingrays at La Jolla-area beaches, and three ended up at the hospital. A lifeguard speculated the changing weather may be responsible for the ray rebellion. (LJL)

What does a sting feel like? Our photographer Sam Hodgson knows: he got stung a few years ago. “At first it just feels like you’ve stepped on a needle. Then, pretty quickly it becomes a much deeper pain — so much so that it becomes hard to walk.”

Stingrays can be deadly, although they’re often just very painful. Treatment can include immersing the wound in extremely hot water; Hodgson says an adult beverage is also helpful.

Pro tip: Scare off stingrays by shuffling your feet in the water. Not sure how to scare off our photographer. [Call him up and say “Daddy?” — Ed.]

• Finally, a Canadian news service takes a look at the Caesar salad and tracks its origin back to the 1920s and a San Diego-based Italian named Caesar Cardini who supposedly served it at a restaurant in Tijuana. (Prohibition drove “the Hollywood crowd and San Diego socialites” to Tijuana, where they could enjoy adult beverages in peace.)

I’ve wondered if this Caesar salad origin story is an urban myth. But it seems to be actually true, or at least very close to the truth. (True-ish? True-like? Truthy?)

Drop me a line if you know differently. I’ll also accept croutons.


Randy Dotinga

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

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