She’s one maverick politician who lives up to the adjective.
Councilwoman Donna Frye spent more than nine eventful years at City Hall, serving as both a hero to the masses and a thorn in the side of all sorts of people — Democrats and Republicans, labor and business. She also came within a judge’s ruling of becoming mayor.
A quote machine and genuine up-from-a-surf-shop character, this journalist’s dream is now leaving office. In an exit interview with editor Andrew Donohue — who’s followed her career from near the beginning — Frye talks about her plans (uncertain) and the messes that remain unsolved (big). She also shares thoughts about her most important accomplishments.
And what about her legacy? She thinks she’ll be remembered as “someone that did her homework. Told the truth. Whether people liked it or not. Was decent to people. Courteous. Treated people with courtesy and respect. And tried to solve problems, not create them.”
The Union-Tribune has posted a copy of Frye’s own look back at her experiences over the years, in Frye Lights, a monthly newsletter for her constituents.
In Other News:
• San Diego Fact Check is taking a look at local urban legends to see if there’s any truth to them. Here’s one: there are dead bodies buried under a Mission Hills park and playground where kids play just about every day. That’s gotta be false, right? Naw. Our resident ghoulish cemetery enthusiast — me — says it’s true.
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Mission Hills Park, also known as Pioneer Park, sits over an old graveyard that’s still the final resting place of hundreds of people. Its story is a tale of neglect and bungling and a tombstone graveyard across town.
• Poultry alert! After we published our Q&A interview with the Famous San Diego Chicken’s alter ego Ted Giannoulas, a reader questioned our statement that he’d never been photographed out of costume. True? Well, he did have to appear in court and showed up both in and out of his chicken suit.
We’ve also got answers to questions that couldn’t fit into the Q&A, including this one: “I’ve gotta say it’s the body suit that wears out, and I can try to keep the head intact.”
Whatever you say, Mr. Chicken.
• Arts blogger Dani Dodge reports that she just went to Lindbergh Field and toured “an airport alive with creativity.” Did security officers find fresh new ways to pat down people? Nope: this is good news.
As she explains in the Guide from the Inside blog, the airport is full of “sparkling gems” thanks to public art, including Kafkaesque sculptures in the commuter terminal and dozens of jewel-colored amoeba-shaped splatters of travel knickknacks (so that’s where my luggage went) in Terminal 2 East.
• Yum. The Photos of the Day are a bunch of delectable shots of an early Thanksgiving dinner sponsored by the Neighborhood House Association. You might recognize one of the guests from a recent appearance in our pages.
• First comes the census, then comes the redistricting. This time around, there will be a twist when it comes to the City Council’s districts that each elect a council person: a ninth district will be added. Our TV series San Diego Explained takes a look at how the process will work.
• The city’s homeless shelter in Barrio Logan won’t be open for Thanksgiving “for the first time in a long time.” CityBeat reports that its opening has been delayed for a week. “The city has to get itself a permit and it’s sitting on some bureaucrat’s desk and won’t move until next week,” says the CEO of the organization that runs the shelter. Amid the rain and cold weather, he says, “if we go to 17th and Imperial [Avenue] under the bridge, we’ll see a couple hundred homeless people. We’ll see more at 17th and Commercial under the bridge.”
“It’s frustrating for all of us,” says a city housing official.
• CityBeat pivots on our coverage of Councilman Ben Hueso’s secret bonus requests for staff members and hurls accusations at the legislature-bound politico in an editorial. In sum, it says, he “generally acted with arrogance.”
The paper also notes the spending by local legislature candidates who were shoo-ins: one spent 102 times as much as his opponent. That’s one pricey easy victory.
• Multitask at your own risk. The CHP launched a 24-hour crackdown on cell-phone driving violations last week and issued 554 citations in the county. (U-T)
• Finally: We’re taking a four-day holiday and will be back full-strength on Sunday evening. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, and here’s hoping you only have to deal with one turkey at your table. (Two if you invite me.)
One more thing: You help make voiceofsandiego.org possible. We’re immensely grateful. Thank you.