The Morning Report
San Diego news and info
you need to take on the day.

In one corner: Glenn Close! Actress of stage, screen and television and a woman you don’t want to leave alone near your rabbit hutch.

And in the other corner: Ozzy Osbourne! Rock icon, reality TV star and overall nutball. Just don’t let him in the batcave.

Are you ready to seeeeeeequence?

What? Yes, both celebrities have agreed to have their genomes sequenced by a local biotech company. But not the same company: there are two of them, and they’re wooing Hollywood stars in their mission to be the first to the $1,000 genome sequencing test.

By the way, I wrote a two-part series for voiceofsandiego.org in 2008 and 2009 about getting my own genes tested. It’s a different kind of test than the ones that Close and Osbourne are getting. And presumably, they didn’t face the same kind of stage fright that I did as I tried to fill a vial with saliva as an audience (two nurses, one PR guy, one photographer) looked on.

In other news:

• At City Hall: The city will begin charging employees pension contribution rates required by the city’s retirement system, after the city attorney and the retirement system said it was illegal to do otherwise. The new rates would shift about $2.6 million of the city’s $229 million annual pension payment to its employees, resulting in lower paychecks for most city employees.

• A year ago, our neighborhoods reporter Adrian Florido stumbled upon the tiny South Bay hamlet of Lincoln Acres, which is almost completely surrounded by National City but is actually part of the county. Home to stubborn residents who refused to be annexed, it’s a “little Pleasantville,” as one local described it, but with plenty of rough edges.

Our reporter made a return visit for a branch library groundbreaking and found, among other things, a Marxist-averse crazy person and the solution to a mystery about goats on leashes.

• A port of San Diego official says “there really aren’t any design impacts that result from the cruise ship terminal being constructed.” Is this true? The Fact Check verdict is in, and it’s one we don’t see very often: “barely true.”

• Fact Check TV examines supposed facts about bumps in pay at schools, the cost of the homeless, and the Broadway Pier.

• Here’s a theological question for you: Do the 10 Commandments forbid a police officer from killing a suspect? We asked a local police chaplain that question in last weekend’s Q&A, and he said no. In a follow-up, he literally goes into chapter and verse on the matter.

In other news:

• A financial website calls El Centro the No. 1 “Worst Place to Live” in the entire country. El Centro is that dusty burg you pass through on the way to Arizona from here. It was damaged in the Easter Sunday quake.

A San Diego State professor says the city’s unemployment rate (27.5 percent) is skewed a bit because of its location next to a much larger city in Mexico.

I was out there on assignment a few months ago and discovered that El Centro does have a few things going for it: well-respected Asian restaurants and a local delicacy known as the “special” or “puffy” quesadilla. Yummy! It almost makes up for the blistering temperatures and lack of jobs.

No. 2 on the Worst Places to Live list: Cleveland. Maybe that’s why so many Clevelanders now live here. Or else they took a wrong turn at the river that was on fire and got lost.

• Over at the U-T, the staff is getting ready for a redesign prompted by the shrinking of the physical size of the printed paper. The NCT already underwent that kind of downsizing, as have a number of other papers around the country.

The paper is heavily promoting the redesign — but definitely not the shrinkage — through online videos. In one of them, columnists Tom Blair and Diane Bell meet cute at a downtown rooftop lounge and compare notes about their jobs.

Blair, who says he has “good adrenaline,” describes his sources this way: “You have snitches, you have moles.”

If his much-heralded return to the U-T doesn’t work out, sounds like he’ll have a job waiting for him at the DEA.

— 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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