At first glance, a newly announced “global settlement” proposal sounds like some sort of international treaty. A City Hall pension fix-it plan spearheaded by San Diego’s city attorney isn’t quite that major, although it does try to bring warring sides together once and for all.

The goal: convince union leaders and city officials to agree to negotiations to resolve all pension-related issues. The idea is to get courts and judges out of the picture and finally fix things before taxpayers and city workers fall victim to increasing retirement payments.

A local labor official didn’t greet the proposal with open arms: “The mayor and the city attorney should both know by now that press conferences like these usually lead to more turmoil and distrust instead of solutions,” she said in a statement. Another union leader said “We’re confused by the whole process.”

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Old Point Loma Had a Farm

A farm grows in Point Loma, complete with carrots, radishes, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and more, depending on the time of year. Just ask the neighborhood’s skunks, possums, coyotes, raccoons and rats, who’d all like to drop by for a bite. And, oh yes, humans too.

The crowd hasn’t stopped Paul Reeb and his son, who tend a farm whose produce ends up nearby at the Tender Greens restaurant. We talked to Reeb about the challenges and rewards of farming in the middle of an urban area.

He also explains why local food tastes better. “If you wanted a cup of tea and you had a teabag and it was hot water and you dipped it in once, that’s supermarket. If you put the teabag in and let it steep to its full potential, and you drank the tea, you get all the richness and aromas and fragrances and taste and freshness from the tea. That is the difference. It’s something you just don’t know until you’ve tried it. The best you can do is go to a farmers market and find someone that grows direct and try and taste it.”

Gov’s Commutation Flap Isn’t Over:

The DA’s office is exploring a possible legal route to overturn Arnold Schwarzenegger’s last-minute shrinking of the sentence in a San Diego homicide case, but it looks like it’ll be a tough battle due to language in the state Constitution. Meanwhile, local Assemblyman Marty Block wants to revise the law to force governors to give a heads-up to prosecutors and victims before doing something like this again.

It’s good to be governor, as I explained this week in a post about why chief executives can reduce or eliminate criminal sentences. The origins of the power lies in two things: the ancient rights of kings and queens and the checks-and-balances system.

Half a Million for Arts:

Culture and arts organizations in downtown will be able to get their hands on $500,000 in funding thanks to the area’s redevelopment agency. The dollars are designed to help fix buildings and could play a role in boosting a downtown arts community that struggled during the real-estate boom.

Reagan’s Secret Surgery Here?

In a new book, presidential son Ron Reagan says his father suffered from Alzheimer’s disease while in the White House and underwent secret surgery in San Diego in 1989 after his term ended. The operation supposedly came after he fell off his horse in Mexico; news reports at the time said he was briefly treated for scrapes and bruises in Arizona.

“Surgeons opening his skull to relieve pressure on the brain emerged from the operating room with the news that they had detected what they took to be probable signs of Alzheimer’s disease,” Ron Reagan writes. But U.S. News & World Report says people who worked with Reagan deny he underwent surgery here.

Our Very Own Nifty Intern:

After an intern helped save the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords last week, Slate asked readers to name other notable interns. Gabrielle Wimer got a nod: the Grossmont College student interned for the San Diego Police Department in 2008 and solved a 36-year-old cold case with the help of fingerprint records.

Tears as Cuts Loom:

A grim mood continues to haunt Serra Mesa’s Juarez Elementary, which we’re following as it deals with school district budget cuts. Parents are taking surveys that ask them about their priorities by job: is a bilingual clerk who translates at community events more important than a health technician who helps injured kids? One teacher burst into tears at a meeting this week.

Is It Really that Pricey in SF?

A commission report says San Diego business owners only pay an average of $79 a year in city fees, while the number is 66 times higher — at more than $5,200 — in San Francisco. Could that possibly be true? San Diego Fact Check finds that it is correct, although the wide majority of businesses in Baghdad by the Bay don’t pay anywhere near that much.

Painting for the Paintings:

Almost 60 gallons of paint, 375 feet of base molding and 100 feet of crown molding: that’s how much material the San Diego Museum of Arts has gone through as it prepares for an exhibit of two painters, arts blogger Dani Dodge reports. So far there’s not a single painting on the walls yet, but plenty of work is underway, including a process called “weeding the vinyl.” (No, they’re not going through old record collections.)

Why We’ve Got the Beat:

A session at the Neurosciences Institute this week focused on the brain and the world of beats and rhythm. “Are we the only species that feels it, or is it something that crosses species boundaries? And what about rhythms without a beat? What are those about and how important are they? As we’ll see, those turn out to be very important for understanding the relationships between rhythm and language and music,” said a local neuroscientist.

Interesting. But there’s still a big question: is it possible to get a rhythm transplant? Not for me, of course. For my, um, friend.


What We Learned This Week:

• Still Dreaming Big: Never mind those people who wonder why the city plans to build like crazy even as its budget remains in the tank. In his State of the City address, Mayor Jerry Sanders remained optimistic and said “lasting prosperity must be our top priority.”

• Yes They Can: The city attorney says San Diego can tinker with the salaries of city employees in a bid to reduce its gargantuan unfunded pension bill, now estimated at $2.145 billion.

• So Much for ‘Fun Ships’: And the hits just keep on coming. The city has a nice new $28 million cruise ship terminal, built just in time for the Carnival Cruise line to pull its final ship out of San Diego. (U-T)

• San Diego’s Big Role in Arizona: Local federal judge Larry A. Burns is taking over the case of the man accused in last week’s Tucson shootings, while local attorney Judy Clarke — who previously defended the Unabomber, among others — is defending the suspect.


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

Woe Is Redevelopment: The governor wants redevelopment agencies to go up in smoke, and that’s making a lot of local officials go to battle stations (or their medicine cabinets). We look at Four Big Questions that loom over the future of redevelopment.


Quote of the Week:I seem to have come dressed as a tablecloth tonight.” — Actor Miles Anderson, clad in a hot pink blazer, during his acceptance speech at the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Craig Noel awards, a local version of the Oscars or Tonys.

Correction: Due to incorrect information given to the media, the original version of the Morning Report incorrectly stated that Judy Clarke defended domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh.

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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