San Diego’s battered library patrons are starting to look pretty fortunate. Even though our branches are often closed, at least they haven’t been shut down. That may not be the case in Escondido, and now comes news via the U-T that UCSD is closing four libraries, including the widely respected one at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The materials at the libraries are slated to be moved to other libraries. Even so, one of UCSD’s founding fathers decried the move to close the Scripps library, saying it’s “the leading collection of oceanographic history and information in the world.”

On the BBC site, author Zadie Smith decries the closure of public libraries.

Tax Measures on the Ropes

The governor has cut off negotiations with GOP legislators over asking voters this summer to extend taxes that are scheduled to expire. The AP says this is “effectively” the end of his plan to boost revenue, and it’s not clear what comes next. If no new money comes in, that will be devastating news for a wide range of Californians, including public employees like teachers, who will lose funding. On the other hand, many of our pockets may be fuller: increases to taxes on income, sales and vehicles now seem likely to end as scheduled on July 1.

Trouble for Teacher-Saving Plan

A legal dispute may knock a hole in plans to save hundreds of teacher jobs by using redevelopment funds to pay for them.

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Guilty Plea in Boy’s Death on Bay

The Coast Guard crewman has pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty in the case of an December 2009 boat accident on the bay that killed an eight-year-old boy, the U-T reports. The crewman, who will request immediate discharge, was the highest-ranking person aboard a fast-moving Coast Guard boat that hit a stationary boat, contributing to the boy’s death. The crewman said he wished he’d died in the accident.

After Death, SeaWorld Tries for More Safety

SeaWorld parks in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio have improved safety during killer whale performances in the wake of the death of a trainer in 2010, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The improvements include “guardrails around pool ledges, and devices that can more quickly deploy safety nets in case of an emergency,” and there’s more to come: “fast-rising, false-bottom floors in its killer-whale pools capable of lifting multiple whales and trainers out of the water, potentially in less than a minute.”

The killer whale that caused the trainer’s death is scheduled to return to performances in Orlando today.

Ready, Set, Register!

Rep. Bob Filner is still mum about whether he’s running for mayor after the odd media boomlet over the weekend about a supposed declaration of his candidacy. (The media’s speculation was based on a tweet by someone about what he thought Filner said; it would be nice if Filner would clarify the matter.) Now, CityBeat says Filner’s consultants recently registered and other similar websites. As for other candidates, anonymous buyers have snapped up, and

Who’s Minding the Tower?

Last week, a couple passenger jets arrived at an airport near the White House only to find no one was home: the control tower was unmanned, apparently because the guy on duty fell asleep. This did not go over well. Now, the FAA is reviewing procedures for overnight staffing at control towers. Lindbergh Field, it turns out, is one of about 30 airports that’s only manned by a single controller during overnight hours.

You might assume that no flights are allowed at the airport overnight so people under the flight path can get some shuteye. That’s not the case: arrivals are allowed at all times, while departures are regulated and fairly rare overnight.

If It Bleeds, It’s Live

The website Mediaite ponders the decision of KFMB-TV/Channel 8 to air a live Internet feed of police shooting a man last week at the downtown police headquarters: “It seemed like a man had just been blown away with shotguns and a news site had aired it all live.” In fact, as viewers learned only later, the man was shot with rubber bullets.

TV news stations have long grappled with how to offer live coverage of violent situations: do they cut away if someone is hurt or killed? Or does everyone get to watch? Coverage of events over the Internet adds a new dimension to the debate, Mediaite notes.

A hat tip to KPBS-FM for noticing the Mediaite story.

One Frappuccino, Please, Hold the Roach Clip

With the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries on the ropes, we delve into a matter of numbers: Are there more weed shops in town than pharmacies? What about Starbucks shops?

When the Rains Came

Yup, it’s true: last December was indeed the rainiest since the Johnson Administration, San Diego Fact Check finds. A water official had made that claim in the U-T. We got five inches of rain in December.

Still, that doesn’t hold a sprinkle-snuffed candle to the killer rains of January 1916, which washed out 200 bridges, broadened the San Diego River to a mile wide and stopped trains for a month. A couple years ago, I talked to an old-timer who still remembered listening to his elders jawbone about the flood, supposedly caused by a rainmaker gone rogue.

Three’s Company

The former mistress of Barry Bonds appeared in court this week and testified about the baseball player’s reference to “girlfriend cities and wife cities” — the places where wives of players are welcome or unwelcome. Where does San Diego fit in? It seems to be a “girlfriend city,” along with Houston and Miami, while wives were encouraged to come along to New York City, Montreal and Atlanta, the AP says.

I have a sneaking suspicion about suspicions of sneakiness: we’re going to see a whole lot more baseball wives accompanying their husbands to America’s Finest City.

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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