In 1974, a teenager took a trip to Tijuana at the tender age of 17. He and a friend found a cheap bar where, for a quarter, “you got a beer and you got a dance with one of the gals.”

Sweet! Then they decided to go back to the U.S. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything, including an encounter with law enforcement and the infamous Tijuana jail. We present tales about the jail, which is now closing, from readers who spent time behind bars south of the border.

In Other News:

• Public agencies aren’t supposed to use taxpayer money to take stands on ballot measures. But the San Diego school district is sending fliers home with kids that include details about Prop. J, the measure that would impose a per-parcel tax on property owners.

Is this kosher? It depends on whether the fliers are purely factual — that’s OK — or spun with the intention of pushing voters one way or another. Critics say the fliers do the latter. Are they right? Well, the fliers do include a statement or two that not everyone agrees on.

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• San Diego’s police chief said budget cuts would force the city to look at taking reports over the phone of nonviolent crimes that aren’t in progress. That means an officer wouldn’t be dispatched to the scene.

But wait. Don’t the cops already do this? As our latest Fact Check reveals, they do indeed: the police department responds to lots of calls with a voice on the phone instead of an officer in a police car. So what did the police chief mean? His attorney has an explanation.

• Also in Fact-Check-land: a councilman said the city could only save $27 million through “managed competition” if it put every city service out for bid. He’s wrong.

• A Libertarian writes in to question the city’s spending on public art (“pot-holes are our current form of ‘public art’ — perhaps those should be addressed first”) and wonders if anyone ever asked citizens what they think. Well, the city did just that in a survey earlier this year. And the results weren’t good news for arty types.

• Snip, snip: San Diego Explained heads to the hair salon to show you how the options to deal with San Diego’s retirement health care problem are similar to those you’d find when it’s time for a trim. Also: our boss gets a haircut. Must not have taken too long. (Zing!)


• In the U-T: “In defiance of a court order, demolition began earlier this week on two historic buildings at Lindbergh Field that were part of the earliest days of San Diego’s aeronautical industry.” Oops, said a port district spokesman, shouldn’t have happened.

• There’s still some hullaballoo over plans to create a $43 million rapid bus line (it may be hard to imagine such a thing, but they do exist apparently) through downtown and on Park Boulevard and El Cajon Boulevard: merchants are upset about losing several parking spots, and the City Council is calling for more planning to come up with a better way. (U-T)

• “A collective and a CityBeat advertising account executive both say that law-enforcement officers in plainclothes were posing as the ‘new management’ of a Hillcrest pot collective,” CityBeat reports.

Wow, those are some creative cops. I wonder what they’re smoking?

• A new report says that San Diego has one of the lowest percentages of Christians of any metro area in the country, at just 75 percent. Several Southern cities are way up there at 92-98 percent. However, San Diego has a high percentage of churchgoers who attend mega-churches.

Also: I just stumbled upon this map of Christianity in the U.S., showing which regions are home to more people of certain denominations. Not too surprisingly, the San Diego area appears to be home to more Catholics than usual.

• The fabled U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown is turning 100. It’s named after President Ulysses Grant and was founded by his son; Grant’s descendants still live in the San Diego area, and one auctioned off presidential memorabilia earlier this year.

• Finally, a magazine has rated the top 25 big cities for art in the U.S., and San Diego didn’t make the top 10. It’s at No. 16, right below Denver.

One thing you can be sure of: the Mile-High City doesn’t have a statue of a girlish surfer that people have dressed in clown clothes, a pink tutu, a giant shark head and a feathered hat, among other things. (So that’s where my wardrobe went.)

Take that, Colorado!

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

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

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