The long-awaited showdown between sudden basketball powerhouses San Diego State and Brigham Young University finally came last night, with the No. 9 Cougars handing our No. 4 Aztecs their first loss of the season, 71-58. In what may be another first, an SDSU basketball result made it as the top headline on

The buzz of the night was around BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, called unstoppable and perhaps the best scorer in the world (by the man thought to be the best scorer in the world, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder). It’s even claimed “Jimmer Fredette Mania Sweeping the Nation.” His latest accomplishment: he scored 43 points against a defense tighter than a clenched fist. He also has a name that’s fun to say.

Perhaps related: Scripps Lawn froze over. At least, it was covered in snow.

They Moved My Desk to Storage Room B

San Diego’s Republican party bailed out of its office lease in Sorrento Valley six months early, reports CityBeat.

“You wouldn’t believe what they ditched in the trash bin!” said Antoine Georges, who’s owned the building at 5703 Oberlin Drive for 20 years. “Thousands of things. Office supplies, staplers — maybe 30 or 40 staplers, the big kind for campaign work — pots and pans, boxes and boxes of stuff, even brand-new live plants! It was just mind-boggling.”

San Diego County GOP Chairman Tony Krvaric says they left because of “areas of health and safety” and because the office was “burglarized late last year but doors remained unsecured.” The landlord says the party never made those complaints before, that he and the police believe the office was never burglarized, and that it was clear the party wanted out of the lease. They’d previously asked Georges that cost of rent be donated as a gift to the party and, then, failing that, rent checks came later and later, showing up more than three weeks late in December.

Big List, Big Box, Big Wait

• More than 41,000 households are on the waiting list for San Diego county-provided rental vouchers, the Union-Tribune reports, with more than 14,000 applying since 2009. More than 52,000 are also waiting for similar federal vouchers in the city of San Diego. One single mother was told that the wait list for the federal vouchers would be 10 years, but was able to land affordable housing after just a two-year wait.

• Between 2002 and 2008, five initiatives or referendums came before voters proposing to either restrict big box stores like Walmart or overturn ordinances that did. Walmart lost only one. The mega department store chain has now nearly won another one: The City Council stands poised to repeal the ordinance next week after the company collected enough signatures to force a special election.

• Liam Dillon, our stalwart government reporter with a bulldog’s grip on the facts and a voice that cuts through baloney, appears to have finally convinced the Centre City Development Corp. to turn over the details of a $162,000 blight study. Liam writes that these documents are “central to the legitimacy of late-night state legislation passed in October that allowed CCDC to collect more than $1 billion in future downtown property taxes. The legislation effectively extended CCDC’s lifespan for two decades.”

It’s not over, though. The documents are promised but not actually yet in hand. Dillon also lists a fair bit of other information he’s asked for and not received. We’ll see.

Meantime, here’s the logo I created for Liam’s seven-part Blight Watch odyssey. We didn’t use it because, as David Letterman used to say about the CBS logo, it’s a creepy eye. (Photo by Zack Sheppard and used under a Creative Commons license.)


Measure Twice, Hang Lots

“A Hanging in A Museum” is the noirish name of another casual series we’ve been running about what it takes to put on a show at the San Diego Museum of Art. In this installment, blogger Dani Dodge and photographer Sam Hodgson spend time with a bunch of people who are serious about putting art on walls in a certain way.

Short Credit Diploma Swap

A special alternative high school diploma requires only 26 credits and the San Diego school district recently made it easier to get, education reporter Emily Alpert explains. The typical San Diego Unified diploma takes 44 semester credits. Both diplomas require students to have a 2.0 grade point average, pass the high school exit exam, present a senior exhibition and prove their computer literacy.

One parent is unhappy the system allowed his son to get one of the less-demanding diplomas: “They just pushed him through. He doesn’t deserve that diploma.”

In Which We Ignite the Pizza Wars

Alice Q. Foodie speaks directly to me, an ex-New Yorker, through a post titled, How to Eat like a New Yorker in San Diego. I’m on board all of it except the pizza. Who can be nostalgic for what amounts to cheap cracker crust with metallic tomato run-off? For the best pizza, go Third Coast: deep dish, buttery crust, cheeses that love you, more vegetables than a victory garden, and enough garlic to fend off the Twilight movies. In San Diego, the closest we get is Lefty’s. Pizza aside, let me tell you: just try finding a good fish taco in New York City. Can’t be done.

• Pop-up restaurant Relate will take over Bistro St. Germain’s in Encinitas for three weeks in February, reports the blog. When the restaurant “closes each afternoon, Chef Dan Moody will take the reins and the restaurant will undergo a complete transformation — with new art on the walls, different table settings and music to set the mood — becoming a fine dining experience for dinner service.” North County Times has more.

• Peter Soutowood wants to form a social group of San Diego-area bakers. He writes, “Whether it’s trading recipes, finding a shoulder to cry on after a recent kitchen disaster, or just tipping back a glass of that other yeasted creation — beer — we can break bread together and enjoy the camaraderie that is so evident among the happy bakers on The Fresh Loaf.” The Fresh Loaf is a website for artisanal bakers like Peter, who has a great play-by-play of a sourdough ciabatta, from flour to finish, on his blog.

Adorbs Water Baby!

The new baby hippo at the San Diego Zoo, born to Otto and Funani, is a massive cutie. The U-T says the calf’s gender is not yet known. Melt into a puddle with even more zoo babies in a slideshow from our media partner NBC San Diego.

Sea to Tea

A desalination plant in Carlsbad will produce 50 million gallons of water a day, about 10 percent of the 500 million gallons used in the county each day. (10 News)

Tee by the Sea

With a 9 a.m. tee-time today, Tiger Woods will experience at Torrey Pines what British Telegraph writer Kevin Garside calls his “second coming,” after a long run of losing “his game as well as his dignity” in adultery scandals and public marital fights.

Pool Creepers

• KYXY 96.5 suggests these San Diego hotel pools are easy to sneak into. I don’t think the station will underwrite your bail.

Finally, Good News About Money

San Diego was recently featured on Antiques Road Show. The first hopeful finds her two Charles Loloma bracelets are worth $60,000 and a painting is valued at more than $250,000. See all the appraised items.

I’m Grant Barrett, engagement editor for Drop me a line at, call me at (619) 550-5666, and follow me on Twitter @grantbarrett.

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