Journalism won’t die if you donate. Support Voice of San Diego today!

You know you’re a San Diegan if the name Ted Giannoulas rings a bell. Or, for that matter, lays an egg. Giannoulas, a San Diego State student-turned-mascot superstar, is the Famous San Diego Chicken. And he’s still the Chicken, 36 years later after he first put on the costume.

In this weekend’s Q&A feature, Giannoulas gives us insight into the sacrifices he’s made for his career, the Chicken’s future when he leaves the scene, and his perspective on today’s mascots. “Most of them are, by design, benign and petting zoo characters for kids,” he says. But he was — and still is — anything but, as these photos taken by our photographer reveal.

In Other News:

• Mayor Jerry Sanders wants to put a measure before voters that would get rid of taxpayer-funded pensions for most new city hires. But it’s not going to help fix things anytime soon, and the mayor says cuts to police and fire protection are still on the table.

• Adrian Florido’s story about a man who fixed a pothole on his street because the city hadn’t is drawing comment from across the internet, both on our site and at Reddit, where a user who says he’s interning with his city’s public works department explain what happens between the time a complaint is made about a street and that street is patched or repaved. The best comment by the street worker: “Sometimes we get to play Frogger on busier streets to measure the areas, except we could die and no reset.”

• Unlike the port district, the city doesn’t seem very concerned about the status of a local section of beach that turned into a quicksand-like danger zone a couple years ago after storms. A fence around the area has vanished. Whoever’s responsible, no one from the city is acting to protect people from the threat as rains loom.

Subscribe to the Morning Report.
Join thousands of San Diegans who get the day’s news in their inboxes every morning. Get the Morning Report now.

• If you see a Waste Management truck rumbling through your neighborhood, take a look at the side: it might declare that waste collected by the company produces enough energy to power more one million homes. Is that true? San Diego Fact Check’s verdict: it sure is.

• Did that don’t-touch-my-junk guy violate state law when he secretly recorded his encounter with security officers at Lindbergh Field? We track down three legal beagles to get their perspective (and hear about what you can get away with at a dial-a-psychic hotline call center).

• Think about an actor facing spotlights: As a local makeup artist puts it, “when you just put a bare face on stage, they have, like, two little dark holes and a mouth.” What to do? We spent time with her to discover how the makeup world works behind the scenes at the Birch North Park Theatre.


• CityBeat reports that five poor residents are suing the city’s downtown redevelopment agency in a bid to quash the secret state deal that will allow the diversion of property tax money to downtown. Former City Attorney Michael Aguirre is suing too.

Learn how the secret deal affects your neighborhood.

• A CityBeat reporter got within a few feet of former President George W. Bush at a speech here this week without ever having his ID checked or going through a metal detector. No one even asked his name.

• Finally, the cable show “Sister Wives,” which follows real-life polygamists, will air a special episode this weekend about a honeymoon trip to San Diego to celebrate a new addition to their family.

Four wives and counting. Pretty soon there will be no more bridesmaids left to always be the bride.


What We Learned This Week:

Three’s a Crowd: There’s just a few weeks left in his term, but City Council President Ben Hueso decided he needed some extra staffing help. Who’d he hire? Three men connected to the campaigns of either him or his brother.

Closing the Barn Door: The City Council and the city attorney are still royally miffed about being left out of the loop when the mayor, the downtown redevelopment agency and a state legislator secretly worked out a deal. There’s talk of gathering documents, but it’s unclear whether they can do anything about it besides get mighty steamed.


The Coffee Collection (engaging stories to savor over a cup of hot cocoa):

To Teach English, Start with Spanish: Spanish-speaking kids can spend years in American public schools without learning how to read and write English. Now, a local school is trying out a new approach starting with the grammar basics, but not in English.


Quote of the Week: “I grew up in Italy. It’s a beautiful country, but it’s cursed by bad governments. People there, they do this all the time.” — Primo Vannicelli, the Hillcrest man who fixed a pothole because the city didn’t do it, thereby risking vehicular harm, a sunburn or a stern talking-to by some city person.

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.