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It’s business as usual, the mayor’s office says, as it engages in some mighty unusual business.

Mayor Sanders and his top officials are fanning out across the city to talk about major budget cutbacks that could loom next year.

Why worry about this now when this kind of discussion was top secret a year ago when even bigger cuts were in the works? A mayoral spokesman said the timing is purely coincidental.

It’s purely something all right: Prop. D is on the ballot in two weeks, and grim budget scenarios seem certain to help its prospects.

In Other News:

• Hush. You’re in the loop now, people. That was the message yesterday from the local leaders behind that secret state deal that helped pave the way toward a new football stadium.

Are they sorry about what happened? You be the judge: When asked if he thought the City Council should have been informed, an assemblyman had this to say: “I don’t know. That’s a hard thing to ask in terms of looking back. I’ll tell you moving forward, we’ll do everything possible to engage everyone.”

Speaking of engaging, the county may sue.

• An audit report raises questions about the fire department’s failure to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in inspection fees.


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• Lake Mead, the reservoir outside Las Vegas has reached its lowest levels since being filled in the late 1930s. We relied on its water for 61 percent of our supply last year. What does that mean for our thirsty mouths, lawns and toilets?

We’ve got the answer. In short, the water-supply news isn’t terrible right away.

• Could the bloody drug war in Tijuana finally be over? A journalist with The New Yorker magazine visited the city and found evidence that the reign of terror has largely come to an end, although there’s still plenty of violence. But, as the reporter tells us in a Q&A interview, Tijuana’s strong-willed police chief doesn’t have clean hands: there’s good evidence that allegedly corrupt cops were tortured.

We also hear why the deadly violence hasn’t crossed the border, what the legalization of marijuana could mean for Mexican organized crime, and how big trouble is potentially lurking on the horizon.

Related stories: The Washington Post has a summary of the recent arrests of 43 people involved with a Mexican trafficking ring that operated out of a San Diego apartment they called “The Office.” Also, the Los Angeles Times’ long-running series Mexico Under Siege has been growing since June 2008. The paper estimates 28,228 have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since January 2007.

• We’ve got an update on a continuing story: a few months ago, we dinged an environmental group with a “misleading” Fact Check verdict for saying the South Bay Power Plant would be shut down this year. At that time, that wasn’t a foregone conclusion. But now, it does look like the power plant will close.

• In arts, we’ve posted the second installment of our “What’s on Your Wall” feature, in which we visit the homes of local people. This time, we visit a pair of Encinitas artists who live in an unusual home (you have to go outside to get from the bedroom to the kitchen, for one thing). One of them highlights art that rebels “against the starkness, conceptualism, clean lines and blacks and whites of much of modern minimalist art.”

• Also in arts, we’re looking for great local arts blogs and we’ve found one: it’s by a local magnet school teacher who’s documenting the artwork made by his students in grades K-5.

Elsewhere:

• It’s the most bizarre sports story to hit town in a while: on Sunday night, former Chargers linebacker Junior Seau was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. He then went to jail, left jail and drove his SUV off a Carlsbad cliff. He seems to be OK.

• CityBeat reports that a confusing letter sent to some citizens from the Registrar of Voters may discourage turnout by wrongly suggesting that they can’t vote unless they send in a certain form. Actually, they can.

• A newfound ability to smell when people have had sex. A mysterious liver disease. And a sneezy South American sloth. These things have one thing in common: a San Diego science journalist. And we’re not talking about things she’s written about. The NYT has her personal story of a bizarre illness that left her with unusual olfactory powers.

Do her neighbors are stock up on perfume and cologne to help their body odors keep secrets?

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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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