Don’t slash the services we like, said the citizens. We won’t, said the City Council.

It was a somewhat familiar scene at City Hall as councilmembers promised to protect libraries and recreation centers from budget cuts. There were pleas and promises and, it seemed, an agreed-upon stay of execution. For now.

“Some day,” City Councilman Carl DeMaio told the crowd, “it’s not just going to be a drill. It’s going to be real.”

Maybe even as soon as the 2012-2013 fiscal year: as the city tries to shuffle money around this year — there’s even talk of changing expectations of how much the city will get in revenue — it may shortchange itself next year. Call it a cross-your-fingers (and hope not to die) strategy.

Get Your School’s Ranking

New state test results offer something more than a confusing number: they tell you how a school compares to all other schools and how it stacks up just against similar schools.

Gang Eruption and Prison Failure

The police announced yesterday that they’re pushing to dampen an outbreak of gang violence in southeastern San Diego, some tied to retaliation as gangs try to get revenge for killings and other violence. “We’re going to eliminate that retaliation,” a police official said. “We have to stop it.”

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In other crime-related news, a new state report says California’s prisons are doing a poor job of providing medical care to inmates, especially in regard to preventive care which could reduce expenses in the future by improving health now. The Donovan prison, in Otay Mesa near the southern edge of the county, scored below average and failed to show “moderate adherence” to policies and procedures. In other words, it’s failing to be follow the rules.

I dropped by Donovan a couple years ago (just visiting, mind you) and saw a big six-wheeler-type truck on the prison property. Turns out it holds a traveling medical scanning device, probably an MRI. It was easier to temporarily bring a scanner in than transport prisoner patients out to local medical facilities for medical tests.

Redistricting Committee’s Software Woes

The committee that’s redrawing City Council boundaries has a technical problem: it’s having a hard time finding the help it needs, both human and computerized, to help it get its job done.

The O.B. Riptide That Took 13 Lives

It wasn’t easy to get to the sea from Camp Kearny, the military training ground in the Kearny Mesa area that held tens of thousands of soldiers on their way to fight in Europe. But a group of servicemembers found their way to Ocean Beach on May 5, 1918, and jumped into the ocean, ignoring the lifeguard cop who told them to watch out.

In moments, an afternoon riptide grabbed dozens of bathers. It kept 13 of them, mostly soldiers who expected to fight in the Great War, not end their lives within sight of a grand O.B. entertainment complex called Wonderland.

In our latest history flashback, I tell the story of Ocean Beach’s deadliest day and how it prompted San Diego to do more to protect those who swim in a dangerous sea.

Funny, That Owl Never Moves

Photographer Sam Hodgson offers a hodgepodge of recent photos, including one of a strigiform (yes, I had to look that up) who’s mighty still and a backward (and backwards) glance at the North Park sign.

Speaking of our photographer, drop by our party next Wednesday in honor of his new book “Our People, Our Places: A San Diego Photo Story.” We’ve relocated the event to a restaurant in North Park, and it’s now free. Drop by and I’ll direct you to our young staffers who are eligible and only mildly desperate.

This Is How I Feel After Reading An Opinion Page

A headline on the website of the New York Times yesterday said this: “Editorial: Torture.” Was that the topic or a description?

Step Away from the Queen, Councilman

In celebrity news, “Our Gang” actor Jackie Cooper, the youngest person ever nominated for an Oscar (he was 9!), died this week at 88. Younger generations may remember him as newspaperman Perry White in the “Superman” films. He’d recently been raising horses here in San Diego, Hollywood Reporter says.

Meanwhile, Prince William and his new bride are scheduled to visit as-yet-undisclosed locations in California in July.

If they have time for San Diego, they won’t be the first royals to drop by our fair city. British princes have been here before (including a scandalous but at least non-crazy-hat-wearing one) and the reigning monarch herself dropped by in 1983. Her visit created a fuss. As the Journal of San Diego History puts it, “Councilman Bill Cleator committed the tragic faux pas of ‘laying hands’ upon the visiting Queen Elizabeth II. The subsequent furor contributed to the collapse of his mayoral campaign.” (He was just trying to guide her.)

Moral of the story: Don’t get fresh, councilmembers! Or at least stick to the interns like a normal politician.

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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