They’re called “raspados,” they’re kind of like a snow cone, and a 67-year-old man named Simon Bahena has sold them on the streets of San Diego for three decades.

That may not sound too unusual. But consider his mode of transportation: It’s a tricycle. And there’s more to his story: competition (from ice cream, tamale, cheese and corn vendors), an aging body (he no longer shaves the ice to order) and what may be the best snow cone syrup in town (there’s a secret ingredient).

Our story takes you to Logan Heights to spend time with the man on the bright blue tricycle.

In other news:

• School board member Katherine Nakamura is heading to court, saying she has the right to launch a write-in campaign to retain her seat. The city says election regulations don’t allow her to run as a write-in.

She came in third place in the June election, meaning she didn’t make it to the November run-off between the top two candidates.

Those of you who remember the flap over Donna Frye’s write-in mayoral campaign (there was an epic legal fuss) may appreciate this: Nakamura is asking the court to allow voters to use stickers with her name to prevent misspellings of “Nakamura.”

Subscribe to the Morning Report.
Join thousands of San Diegans who get the day’s news in their inboxes every morning. Get the Morning Report now.

• Also in education: a school board candidate has declared this in a campaign flyer: “This School Board has eliminated almost 1,500 classroom teachers since 2006, increasing class size, and plans to cut hundreds next year. This while they squander precious funds remodeling the CFO’s office and other wasteful spending.”

We ran a Fact Check on this statement, and the verdict is: barely true.

• Our coverage of the San Diego school district’s new reform strategy raises a question: Don’t teachers already collaborate — as the plan envisions — to improve education?

Well, sorta, kinda, maybe not enough. We’re kicking off a conversation about these topics: What are you doing that other schools could learn from? What is the best idea or strategy you have that no one has ever asked you about?

• We’re getting plenty of feedback to our post touting a rent-a-bike program in Minneapolis and wonder if it — and other great ideas from other cities — might work in San Diego. Check out our new post speculating about how such a program might work here and encouraging you to send us more ideas.

• Our “San Diego Explained” video series explains how our fair city became a biotech hotspot.

• The San Diego People Project introduces you to a 33-year-old El Cajon structural engineer who talks about his job, his work for a Highway Patrol program about drunken driving, and scuba diving despite his paralysis.


• The Medical Examiner’s office says drug-related deaths in the county are up by 85 percent over the past decade. But deaths related to motor vehicles were down last year to the lowest level in a decade. (KPBS/City News Service)

• CityBeat visits a dangerous street in City Heights where jaywalking (and accidents) are common and reports on a shake-up in a local pro-marijuana group.

And the weekly paper’s editor goes on a police ridealong. He leads his account with this grabber of a quote: “Dave, move out of there. You’re stepping in the blood.”

• Naughty, naughty. (But still funny). The much-maligned surfer statue in the North County community of Cardiff got another makeover yesterday, when pranksters dressed it “as a clown complete with balloons, red nose and rubber chicken.” The NCT has a photo.

• Finally, picture this: a grand San Diego civic complex featuring a City Hall, post office, courthouse and opera house.

Are the folks in city government playing around with the vision thing again? Naw. This is indeed a sterling vision of San Diego’s future, but it’s 102 years old.

It never came to pass. Neither did dreams of keeping City Hall in one of the region’s most beautiful buildings. And, at least for the moment, the most recent vision of a new City Hall is on hold.

We take a look at San Diego City Halls (past, present and future, including some non-real ones) complete with photos. We also offer some quick tales of what San Diego politicians who worked in the buildings were up to. One mayor, for example, socked a councilman in the eye at the U.S. Grant Hotel.

Sure beats these days of city leaders exchanging sternly worded memos.


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

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.