They didn’t really say that, did they? Oh yes they did. Here are some of the most striking comments that we came across in 2010.


• “Have you ever met Mrs. Bilbray? Oh my God, no! Congressman Bilbray might be a U.S. congressman, but, Mrs. Bilbray, she is numero uno. She makes sure Brian is doing what he’s supposed to do.” — A spokesman for Rep. Brian Bilbray, responding to a CityBeat question about whether the congressman is “hiking the Appalachian trail.”

Maybe the wrong Bilbray is in Congress.

• “You think we wanted to do this? We did this because when we came, we had to find something to do, and this is what we were able to learn from our friends and family.” — Chy Yam, owner of North Park’s Golden Donut and one of many Cambodians in the declining local donut business.


Jeff Light. Photo by Will Parson

• “He’s a real shakeup for San Diego. At the Union-Tribune, when you had a new idea, it was: ‘Write a proposal, study it for six months, we’ll think about it.’ Jeff is comfortable trying unconventional things.” — Norberto Santana Jr., editor-in-chief of Voice of OC, on new U-T editor Jeff Light.

• “Everybody’s going broke. Even rich people are going broke by rich people’s standards. They grew up doing all they were told they were supposed to do to live in prosperity. That pisses them off.” — Green, a homeless man in Ocean Beach, providing a can’t-argue-with-that perspective on the economy.


• “I keep telling them education is the way out. It’s kind of hard to tell them that when you can’t go to the library on a Saturday afternoon.” — Regina Burton, a homeless mother who tried to visit the downtown San Diego library to read a textbook for a class she’s taking. It’s now closed on Saturdays due to budget cuts; all branch libraries are shut on Mondays too.


• “It makes me feel embarrassed. And I didn’t really do it.” — A second-grade student at San Diego’s Innovations Academy, which takes a unique approach to discipline, discussing what it feels like to be told “You smelt it, you dealt it.”

Likely story.


Portia Kirk

• “Most of the time I make stuff, I think, ‘God, this is hideous — it’s gonna sell so well.’” Portia Kirk, a seamstress for strippers.

• “It says they got the coldest beer in the mountains. But they don’t. Coldest beer’s down the junction.” — Lamont Kennedy, neighbor to the Guatay Country Store in the boonies of East County, helpfully explaining why its “coldest beer in the mountains” sign is riddled with bullet holes.


• “If we are going to get a biased report, we might as well do it on the cheap.” — Local veterinarian Brian T. Peterson, complaining in a commentary about the city’s $500,000 study of whether blight exists in downtown. (The study was later halted in midstream.)

Doesn’t he know that bias always demands top dollar?


Jerry Sanders

• “I think what Donna was saying is there’s a pony in this pile of poop.” — Mayor Jerry Sanders, using a piquant expression to describe Councilwoman Donna Frye’s description of a fiscal recovery plan.

Still no pony.


• “A source just told me: ‘I have it on really good authority that (a name deleted city official) has gone f*ing insane.’” — our City Hall reporter Liam Dillon, via Twitter.

So it just happened? Well that narrows it down a bit.

• “There was nothing on the island but a treasure chest. No, wait, a treasure chest and two palm trees. Actually, the treasure chest was on a different island a little ways away from the man, so he couldn’t reach it. Oh yeah, and the man had an ax with him, so he cut down one of the palm trees to make a bridge to the treasure chest. When he got there, he opened it, and guess what he found? A hammock. Get it?” — John, who asked that his last name be withheld (smart man), struggling with a lead-with-a-joke directive at a BioToasters meeting.

You should have heard him tell the story about the farmer’s daughter.


• “I wasn’t his type — no money, no influence and especially no boobs.” — Ruth Hayward, discussing why she didn’t wander over to the presidential plane that was parked not far from her office during President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 visit.

Over time, presidents became somewhat less finicky.

• “I’ve grown to believe she’s two people. A warm and friendly person and the mayor’s son of a bitch. And every mayor needs one.” — Bob Nelson, chairman of the city’s Convention Center Corp., on Kris Michell, the mayor’s chief of staff. She’s now leaving for a new job.


• “They had a shotgun pointed at me as they walked me in.” — George Marhoefer, recalling his involuntary visit to Tijuana’s jail back in 1974. The hoosegow is now being retired.

They really needed to work on the welcome wagon down there.

• “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.


Fred Maas

• “I have nothing to hide here at all. … The answer is that I’m not going to answer the question.” — Fred Maas, the soon-to-be-ex chairman of the downtown redevelopment agency, during a heated discussion with Councilman Carl DeMaio during a City Council meeting.

• “Mr. DeMaio, let me tell you something. I am not going to engage in games. If we’re going to play games here… I’m not exactly sure what ethics they taught you on Hale-Bopp or wherever you came from. But but but, let me finish please…” — Maas.

• “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.

Sorry, ladies! Somehow, he’s not single.

• “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.

• “I didn’t know jack weenie about what people were going through in here.” — Imprisoned ex-Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham to the U-T, on why he’s become a supporter of prison reforms while behind bars.

He was actually talking about his new cellmate, Jack Weenie.


• “The voters said no. They didn’t just say no, they hired a chorus to sing it with them.” — mayoral adviser Vince Mudd on how city voters struck down Prop. D with a vengeance.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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