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Black people weren’t supposed to buy homes in Golden Hill back in the 1940s, and they especially weren’t supposed to when a housing deed actually set down the law regarding blacks and whites. Leon Williams bought a house anyway. It’s just one of many firsts in his life: he’s also the first African-American to serve as a city councilman and as a county supervisor.
In this week’s Q&A, Williams recalls the push for desegregated neighborhoods (he distributed “My neighbor can be anybody” stickers), the early naiveté of local blacks and Latinos, and his vision that didn’t come to pass.
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Does Urban Renewal Translate to Crummy Jobs?
Following up on our redevelopment forum last week, a reader asks about the mix of jobs that are created through redevelopment. This deals with an issue raised at the forum: what’s the right percentage of low-paying jobs? Three of our panelists respond in a new post.
Don’t forget we’re holding another Wonks Unite! forum on April 19, this one to discuss new census data and explore how the ethnic makeup of San Diego is being transformed.
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Target Loses Solicitor Suit
The Target chain has lost a lawsuit in which it asked a judge to bar a pro-gay-marriage group from approaching shoppers outside its stores in California, AP reports. Target says it received complaints about the actions of the canvassers at San Diego-area stores, but a group leader disputed the allegations. The LAT says a wider dispute against the chain “threatens to derail its long-held reputation as a gay friendly company, one that supports gay causes and features same-sex couples in its advertising.”
The Lights Are Much Brighter There
Our photographer heads downtown, capturing both bustle and non-bustle and proving once again that people on Segways look faintly ridiculous. And … Hey! Hey you! No bikes on the sidewalk!
About Time, Mr. President
San Diego’s High Tech High is one of six finalists in a contest to bring President Obama for a commencement speech, City News Service reports. It’s about time this chief executive dropped by our town: as we noted in our recaps of presidential visits last year, 12 presidents in a row up until Obama — since FDR — have been here while in office.
If he ends up being a one-termer, Obama has less than two years to avoid breaking our presidential streak. He hasn’t been here yet.
If he does come, here’s hoping Air Force One is equipped with cases of scotch, just like JFK’s. I’ll be happy to drop by for a beverage and some chit-chat, although he can keep his lousy NCAA bracket picks to himself.
What We Learned This Week:
• Local GOP Superpowers Unite The business and Republican establishment came to agreement this week over a plan that would eliminate pensions for new city employees. But the plan, which would need voter approval, comes with what Scott Lewis calls “furry handcuffs” — the kind with safety releases. In other words, they’re not as tough as they look.
• Talk Is Cheap, but What About Gestures? Mayor Jerry Sanders used some interesting language this week to describe a proposal to cut funding for public art in the city. It is, as he told us, “really a gesture to let people know that we do care about public safety.” (As in a cut here to allow more spending there.)
• Somebody Call Him a Waaaa-mbulance: Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the former congressman and current federal prisoner No. 94405-198, tells the media that life is rough: “I have also endured affliction for things I did not do, like other innocent souls, but somehow we carry on, believing as we must that truth will ultimately prevail with those who know our hearts.”
The Coffee Collection (engaging stories to savor over a cup of joe):
• They Need Braaaiiins: Five husbands, many jobs (including as an extra in The Wizard of Oz) and residences in 50 states — has been pretty busy in her 92 years and her noggin is still whip sharp. UCSD wants a piece of her — well, her brain at least. In fact, the university would like to get its hands on 1,000 brains, including, maybe, yours. Not right this very instant, though, thankfully. That would be awkward.
• Keep Moving: It’s not just teachers that switch schools frequently in disadvantaged areas. Kids do too as their family circumstances change, and their here-today-gone-tomorrow-maybe-back-next-year status can make educating them more challenging than usual.
• Ding-Dong Ditch: The census people say Mission Valley has a whole lot of vacant houses, but they might be missing the truth due to trouble finding people .
Quote of the Week: “My street looks like a Jackson Pollock painting. Does that count?” — A commenter on our site named Meniskos in a response to a story about the mayor and city art funding.
Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.