A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker? We never got around to those. But we did catch up with an art professor, a kid or two, a taco shop supervisor, a waitress and a jeweler.

They appeared in the San Diego People Project, the brainchild of our photographer Sam Hodgson. He started by interviewing and photographing a coffeehouse barista and asked her to direct him to someone else. Over months, he went from person to person, taking engaging photos and asking ever-more engaging questions.

Hodgson is moving on to other projects for our site, but he hasn’t forgotten the People Project: he’s combined many of the photos into a final post. You can also browse all of the original posts here.

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My favorite subject is still the 11-year-old boy who was going to start a band with some friends until things got complicated: “We never thought of a name. That’s partly the reason we broke up, because we never agreed on a band name.”

Here’s hoping the band gets back together. The People Project, too.

In Other News:

• Here’s some City Hall humor: Why does this book about municipal finance only go up to Chapter 13? Because it’s written by San Diego’s former city attorney Mike Aguirre. The “bankruptcy apostle,” as we call him, is again touting his opinion that the city should free itself from its pension obligations by going belly up. We check in with his latest claims and provide some background and perspective. In short: it’s possible, but not guaranteed, that bankruptcy will allow the city to avoid paying lots of money in pensions.

• Picture this: You agree to write for a news organization. Then you use your special access to its blogging system to post a blistering attack on the way the news organization does business. Is that reasonable or rude? You decide: U-T arts blogger Katherine Sweetman did just that, blasting the paper for sacking its longtime arts critic, promoting conservatives in its editorial pages and providing “pathetic coverage” of the arts: “I personally will be taking my all free writing elsewhere.”

The post whipped up an arts frenzy, including discussion of pay for arts bloggers (the U-T’s get paid if their work is published in the print edition) and the value of the its much-missed arts critic Robert Pincus, who himself weighs in. It also spawned a flurry of caustic commentary on Twitter and reaction from CityBeat (nobody should work for free) and me (I think the blogger is snobby and rude).

Jeff Light, editor of the U-T, meanwhile, diplomatically defended its approach, saying it’s not “doing this to exploit or offend.”

• In City Hall news, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders’ big building guru, Phil Rath, is leaving the city to work for the mayor’s political strategist.

• Barbara Howard, the embattled leader of southeastern San Diego’s Coalition of Neighborhood Councils, is leaving her position. The organization has been under fire over financial problems, the firing of an executive director and its reaction to community turmoil.

• Meet a premier political prognosticator: Joseph Hartman, the winner of our predict-the-election contest.

• In arts: we recap coverage of the Orchids and Onions awards for nifty and non-nifty architecture. Guess which local project “won” an Onion for what some called “Taco Bell-like details” and “Disneyland in Old Town”?

• Cluck it! We’re hatching a profile of the San Diego Chicken. Yes, he’s still around. Do you have any questions for him? Think about it while you check out a YouTube video of his birth. It’s fun for the whole family and egg-citing. Bawk.


• “Nearly 132 pounds of spent nuclear fuel — including 43 pounds of highly enriched uranium of the type used in nuclear weapons — have been removed from a shuttered General Atomics research reactor facility in Torrey Pines Mesa north of San Diego, the government announced Monday.” (NCT) Where’s it going and how big of a deal is this? News coverage didn’t make that clear.

• As a young reporter, I covered the North County city of Vista back during the Pleistocene era. Back then, plenty of folks hoped to fight development and preserve the city’s so-called “semi-rural” atmosphere. Well, now they may get a chance to appreciate simpler times: the city is thinking about turning off 75 percent of its residential streetlights. (NCT)

Del Mar Heights is the safest neighborhood in San Diego, says a new report. (HuffPo)

• Finally: I didn’t approve of every suggested headline for my story last weekend about the world’s leading restroom etiquette expert. (Sorry, “Urine Trouble”). But as I wait for my Pulitzer Prize to arrive, I’m definitely appreciating the Photo of the Day, which takes another look at that local potty mouth.

How did the photo shoot in a public restroom go? Let’s just say we were about as popular as a malfunctioning automatic sink.

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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