In the minds of some would-be students and faculty, San Diego State University’s reputation can be summed up in just a few words: Party school. Safety school. State school.

These descriptions don’t exactly attract the best and brightest, especially with UCSD fetchingly beckoning up in La Jolla. (You can even get a dorm room with an ocean view!) But a new reputation is brewing on Montezuma Mesa, one that’s developed over just a few years. SDSU is becoming known as a place where serious people do serious research. It’s even been ranked the most productive small research university in the country for four years in a row.

As our story puts it, there’s a “growing group at the school who do not think their careers or the quality of their research are sacrificed because they work or study at a less prestigious school with fewer graduate students and resources like lab space and equipment.”

In Other News:

• In the last few weeks, several of’s most popular stories have been about crime and those who fight it. We looked at long-ago past (a bungled 1929 South Bay robbery that made national news), the recent past (cold cases are being solved at a fast clip) and the present (the police department’s staffing levels are well below those of some other big cities).

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We’ve got even more crime tales lurking in our archives. Each offers a glimpse of a problem (prostitution, sex offenses, prisoner security) that hasn’t disappeared.

In late 19th and early 20th centuries, for example, prostitution was a booming business in a place you might not expect: downtown, in what’s now the Gaslamp Quarter.

Our story looked at how the “the pawers that be,” according to one historian, allowed prostitutes to conduct business openly. (“Pawers” was either a typo or a bit of snarky wit.) But then the moralists cracked down. The story includes one of my favorite headlines of all time about a 1912 raid.

We’ve re-posted a couple other stories about the history of crime in San Diego. One’s about a notorious celebrity of the Old West who supposedly broke out of a San Diego jail (perhaps with the help of adoring tamale-bearing female fans) and the horrific but perhaps deserved punishment that faced hundreds of San Diego sex offenders just a few decades ago.


• In conjunction with, KPBS says the release of 13 cops accused of working with drug cartels has “called into question what had been seen as an unprecedented crusade in Tijuana to fight police corruption.”

Yesterday’s edition of KPBS’s “These Days” also looked at police corruption in Tijuana.

• The long-troubled Vantage Pointe condo complex in downtown isn’t going to sell units after all. That means buyers currently in escrow will get their deposits back.

What will happen to the 679 units? It’s not entirely clear, but it sounds like the complex will be available to renters. (U-T)

• The U-T reports that the county military payroll is now the nation’s largest among metropolitan areas, even beating that in Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News.

• The Indian Country newspaper profiles a San Diego woman who’s heading to meet the Indian tribe in South Dakota that she left behind 75 years ago. “As an adult, she discovered the truth of her past,” our post about the story says. “She set out, as best she could, to reconnect with the heritage she never knew.”

We’re hoping to reach the woman and find out more. By the way, she has an unusual — and, we hope, not descriptive — name.

• Full-body scanners are coming to Lindbergh Field, the U-T says. These are the devices that allow security personnel to get an up-close and personal look at the contours of your body without even buying you dinner and a movie.

You can choose to go through the old-style screening instead if you prefer; the Seattle Times says you’ll need to go through a metal detector and get a pat-down. Or you could wear “Flying Pasties” to protect your above-the-waist parts from prying eyes.

There’s an even more important issue than privacy: Is it true that the full-body scanner adds 10 pounds? If so, I’m taking the bus.


Randy Dotinga

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

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