For almost all of his life, a young deaf man from Burma communicated with the world through broad gestures. Not only could he not hear, he couldn’t speak, he couldn’t read or write, and he didn’t know a signed language.

Now, a new world has opened up for the refugee thanks to social workers.

Becoming literate and learning the intricacies of language is an especially difficult process for someone like Har Sin, who passed through his childhood without experiencing the world of words.

In the final part of our series “A Silent Journey,” he embraces American Sign Language and new activities like writing and flirting.

In Other News:

• A former city councilman has finally been let off the hook for good in City Hall’s Strippergate scandal, in which councilmembers were accused of taking bribes in order to make life easier for strip joints.

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

On Friday, federal prosecutors decided to not seek a retrial of former Councilman Michael Zucchet. That means his legal ordeal is finished. As the LA Times reports, “the case proved to be built on weak evidence, a strained interpretation of the law and questionable conduct by federal prosecutors.”

• There are still a lot of hurdles to go before downtown’s football stadium becomes a reality. But the new state legislation that passed last week has certainly helped clear the path: “This deal changes the terms of the debate. The question no longer is, Can a stadium happen downtown? Instead, the question becomes, is the political will and public support there to make one happen? In other words, politics, not administrative barriers, will determine if the team gets a new stadium now.”

• The proponents of San Diego’s Prop. J, which would impose a per-parcel tax on property owners, have raised about $243,000 and have spent even more. And what about the anti-J activists? They’re out there, but there’s no funded campaign as far as we can tell.


• In the U-T: “Vantage Pointe, the mammoth downtown high-rise that failed as a condo project, has been sold to one of the nation’s largest apartment owners and operators for $200 million.”

• The LAT reports that Tijuana is shutting down its notorious “La Ocho” jail, “eager to slam the door on a dark chapter in the city’s history.” Plenty of Americans have involuntarily visited this local law enforcement establishment, where they’d find themselves in “dank, fetid cages” and “share cellblocks with drug kingpins, assassins, child molesters and thieves.”

A book called “The Prison Angel” (excerpted online here) chronicles the experiences of Mother Antonia, an American nun and prison activist, at the jail. She’s best known for aiding men at a Tijuana prison, but she also comforted and challenged a notorious drug kingpin in the La Ocho jail.

• It was a picket sign to remember: “I Prefer Gay Company to the May Company!” A protester carried it back in 1974, when a San Diego police sting operation in a department store’s basement restroom nabbed 40 men, including the former chair of the state Republican Party. The Gay San Diego newspaper takes a look back at a scandal that the store, the cops and the local morning paper (which printed the names of many of the arrestees) surely came to regret.

• Finally, the New York Times says the mysterious die-off among the world’s honeybees, known as “colony collapse disorder,” has been solved. We told you about UCSD research into the bee deaths last year and followed up yesterday with a call to an investigator.

He thinks pesticides may play a role by disorienting bees so they can’t find their way to where they’re going. In a related story, I still get lost on San Diego freeways all the time. I shall now blame pesticides instead of Caltrans.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

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

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