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Chollas Creek is no pristine wonder of nature. Garbage galore clogs the waterway that runs through some of San Diego’s poorest neighborhoods and carries storm water and debris to the bay.

We dropped by the creek this week after the rains to talk to the director of a nonprofit group that’s trying to clean up the creek with the help of local residents. She tells us about illegal dumping (it has a lot to do with the distance to the landfills), the negative effect of the creek on property values (it might reverse) and the progress her group has made.

In Other News:

• A follow-up to a story we told you about yesterday: “School board member John de Beck said that attorneys hired by San Diego Unified to analyze whether de Beck had a conflict of interest concluded that he did not, in fact, have one.

The alleged conflict of interest has to do with a health trust.

• The big Hillcrest mural by famed street artist Shepard Fairey looks abused and no wonder: it still bears scars from someone who spray-painted it in August. We answer questions about the defacing of the mural and find out whether there really is a code of honor among graffiti artists.

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• Looking for something to do this weekend? We have suggestions, including performances featuring tango dancers and a 1708 Stradivarius violin.


• Bet you didn’t see this coming: Golden Hall, part of the civic center downtown, may yet serve as the city’s homeless shelter this winter, the City Council decided. Put your emphasis on the may: It’s not a done deal. (U-T)

• Prosecutors won’t file charges against ex-Charger Junior Seau in a domestic violence case. (U-T)

• It’s a surprise during a period of tight budgets, but firefighters who agree to take administrative positions receive a 15% bonus, a contractual sum not available to firefighters who take other positions. It will cost the city $700,000, 10News reports.

• Where is it a privilege to pee? For a future photo, we’re looking for the best public restrooms in town (and the worst ones too). Do ladies rooms have luxuries like couches, cosmetic counters and mini-orchestras? We guys often wonder.


What We’ve Learned This Week:

• Not the Same Ol’ Roadshow: The mayor and his officials are going around town telling people how bad things will be next year budget-wise. Why now? Is it timing tied to the election? Naw, says a city spokesman. Recent history suggests otherwise.

• Gang War Put to Rest? A journalist with The New Yorker tells us the violence in Tijuana may be waning and talks about torture. Meanwhile, the NYT takes its own look at Tijuana in a story headlined “Marijuana Bonfire Celebrates a Fragile Calm.”

Speaking of drugs, The Atlantic interviews the man who drafted Prop. 19 and is “something of a cannabis commerce don in Oakland.”

• Growth Spurt: What could a race for county supervisor mean for land-use issues?

• Wild-Card Could Be a Joker: A write-in school board candidate has thrown a race into disarray. Making things more complicated, she may not be allowed to win even if she gets the most votes.

• Tough Questions: The City Council allowed affordable housing plans to move forward despite concerns about two executives and their past involvement with a trouble-plagued company.


The Coffee Collection (engaging stories to enjoy over a Picard-ian cup of tea, Earl Grey, hot):

A Double Dilemma: Down by the border, there are two sides to San Ysidro Boulevard: one stretch is busy with businesses while the other is struggling. A new community plan could bring about big changes.

Mr. Prickly: Meet the cantankerous school board member who’s been in office for almost 20 years and is running for another term of frank talking. But has he actually gotten anything done?


Quote of the Week: “That’s slander. I will sue you. You cannot go around slandering. There’s somebody out there. I will sue you and your newspaper. I guarantee that.” — field supervisor Larry Hall when we told him that we saw no one monitoring a sand-dredging pipe on Mission Beach. The dredging project had dumped wire, rebar and other potentially dangerous debris on the beach.

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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