The Porcelain Prince. The Potty Potentate. The King of the Throne.

My Twitter followers had plenty of suggestions of headlines for this weekend’s Q&A feature, an interview with a local scientist who’s the world’s leading expert on bathroom etiquette. But it’s hard to beat an earlier title bestowed on him by the media: the “Emily Post of the Loo.”

Which stall or urinal should you use? Should you talk on your cell phone while taking care of business? And what about those annoying automatic toilets and faucets?

In Other News:

• Councilman Carl DeMaio has a plan: it’s complete with an 80-page booklet. He has attention: Reporters and staffers from City Hall were on hand to hear him out yesterday. And he has a bold vision: a city that sharply cuts pay for firefighters, lowers pay for white-collar workers and reduces entitlements all around. The goal: keep the city from laying off cops and firefighters and hacking away at libraries, parks and pools.

Now the question is this: can this firebrand actually turn things around? Our reporter Liam Dillon analyzes DeMaio’s union-busting proposal and the roadblocks it faces, not least of which is a critique that “kicking someone’s head to the curb” isn’t a wise approach to municipal management.

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• There’s no money coming from a new parcel tax, thanks to rejection-minded voters. Now, San Diego district schools are figuring out how to deal with a $120 million deficit. They may get rid of school police, vice principals and librarians, jettison up to 1,000 educators and close as many as 10 schools.

• Here’s a common problem in upcoming neighborhoods: artists come in and gentrify everything, bringing a funky vibe. And then come developers who build new homes at high prices. Then the creative folk have to move elsewhere. A converted warehouse in downtown’s East Village is trying to buck this trend, but a new football stadium could spell trouble. It was also featured on Behind the Scene TV, one of our partnerships with NBC 7/39.

• Also in arts, our new Guide from the Inside blog takes a look at at a local artist-in-resident program that allows an artist to take over a small studio for a month. The owner of a downtown gallery “just hands them the key.”

• Hands up, everybody! Our Photos of the Day check out ballet dancers on tippytoes.


• I’ve been suspicious of carousels ever since seeing the Hitchcock flick “Strangers on a Train,” but the Balboa Park carousel still has a place in my heart. It’s turning a century old. (U-T)

• The annual Orchids and Onions are out, honoring and dishonoring the best and worst of local architecture. The big winner is UCSD’s Conrad Prebys Concert Hall (called “a ‘timeless’ creation in concrete,” the U-T says) and the big loser is the port district’s Broadway cruise ship terminal, slammed “as a ‘pimple’ on the waterfront.”

Sounds like it’s time for some industrial-strength Clearasil.


What We’ve Learned This Week:

Voters to City: Drop Dead: Prop. D lost by a big margin, meaning that the city won’t get a big influx of dollars in return for cost-saving reforms to the way it does business. Now, we’ll get to see if promises of big cuts to police and fire (among other things) are inevitable or a big bluff.

It’s Good to Be Incumbent: While it’s said that politicians need to be changed regularly like diapers (and for the same reason), voters only rejected a few high-profile officeholders around the county, including a longtime San Diego school board member, but mostly the status quo held up. The local congressional delegation and the county board of supervisors are unchanged.

As for the City Council, its political balance has changed slightly: a Republican replaced termed-out Councilwoman Donna Frye.


The Coffee Collection (stories to read over a cup of iced tea, sweet or unsweet):

Palms Down: The 30,000 palm trees owned by the city are in poor shape and creating hazards by dumping those gumball-sized berries on the ground. They’re slippery little devils, as I learned a few years ago when I went keister over teakettle during a stroll down a Normal Heights sidewalk.

What’s going on? The city can’t afford to prune the trees and only responds to emergency reports, like when a frond obstructs an important sign. The maintenance is set to get worse.


Quote of the Week: “Obviously, if I wanted to get rich or pick up chicks, it was a really bad idea. There was no reason it was a good idea, and it’s still probably not a good idea. But I can’t let go. I can’t stop” — local scientist Michael Sykes on being a leading restroom etiquette specialist.

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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