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We’re offering one of our most engaging People at Work features today after spending time with a man with Down syndrome who spends his days battling the germs galore at a local bowling alley.

But first, the day’s big news: the City Council’s financial package — a combination of reform and a request for a higher sales tax — is ready for takeoff, at least. The council approved it yesterday, and voters are next.

As we explain, there are still plenty of sticky points — thank goodness WD-40 is still based here — on both the legal and political fronts. And a survey suggests voters aren’t at all sympathetic to the measure, but this is one of those robotic polls that anyone — say, your three-year-old niece or your cat — can answer by pressing a few buttons on the phone.

In other news:

• In the People at Work story, we meet a 43-year-old man who’s dedicated to his job as a cleaner at Mira Mesa Lanes.

We watch him on the job as he performs a kind of hygienic gymnastics: “He crouches and rolls to scrub invisible dirt and dust, cramming his head into crannies and lying, limbs outstretched, on the carpet to reach that one … last … spot. Then he moves on to the next table, pulling three chairs into a straight line before spraying the green solution.”

• The county pension fund is trying to figure out how to best staff its investment team and pay them more than the county allows. It has tried outsourcing the work to a consultant who’d recommended the outsourcing (that would have been illegal). It has considered creating a separate nonprofit (that’d require state legislation). It has gotten bids to outsource the work to other private firms (that’s still under consideration).

Now, another proposal has arisen courtesy of the pension board’s CEO. What’s interesting here is the unusual way in which he went about putting it forward.

• Ah, here’s an easy Fact Check verdict to figure out. A councilman said San Diego will be paying $550 million in pension benefits in 2025.

Ha ha, that can’t possibly be right. That’s more than half a billion dollars !

You know where this is going. It’s right, correct and true. That’s the predicted payment amount.

• At, the news never sleeps. And neither do we. That’s why we were out late the other night chasing a breaking story — the grunion run. San Diego Explained, our video series, takes a look at why the little buggers have their jogging shoes on. (Basically, because they’re feeling frisky.)

• Last week, we published an engaging story about the folks who play handball at Chicano Park under the shadow of I-5. Our pals at the Media Arts Center have posted a video interview with a woman who helped bring the unusual park to life in the 1970s.

• The San Diego People Project has massive hoses, a Galapagos tortoise and the Hotel Del on its mind.


• Up in Escondido, city officials are still divided over spending $45 million on a minor league baseball stadium where a team affiliated with the Padres would play. Steve Peace, a former state senator, is advising the Padres and told the NCT that it won’t go where it isn’t wanted and support isn’t “unambiguous,” whatever that means.

• An Escondido City Council candidate is roasting the county government over the coals over its refusal — as we first reported — to go after federal money to create jobs. (NCT)

• The U-T reports that some local cities are posting public employee salaries at the request of the governor, “but many of the postings lack names or specific salaries.”

• A local congressman wants to change the law to make it easier for families to send smokes to their relatives in Afghanistan and Iraq. (NCT)

• CityBeat bemoans the possible demise of the new City Hall project, pointing out the warning that a fire would lead to a “catastrophic loss of life on its upper floors” (That’s where council meetings are held and executive offices are located. The media is on the very top floor. Hey, wait just a darned minute here!)

The paper also looks into a “mysterious nonprofit” connected to a councilman and notes that a “megaphilanthropist” zinged us in a comment about our invention of the term “schoobrary” to describe the downtown school/library project.

• Finally, yesterday I mentioned how a homeless man at Starbucks buttonholed me after I gave him $2 for the bus. He wanted $3 and got the extra buck.

One of my most loyal readers wrote in: “He figured you out beforehand. Anyone who goes to Starbucks should be able to give $3.”

Thanks, Mom. (Note to self: Time to change my email address again.)


Randy Dotinga

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

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