Dr. Douglas Richman knew something odd was happening even before AIDS had a name. Gay men came to his San Diego clinic in the late 1970s and complained of mysterious fevers and immune system problems, but they didn’t seem to have any known illness.

Thirty years ago, a small report in an American medical journal noted that gay men were getting sick. That was the first official mention of AIDS, the epidemic that would kill tens of millions worldwide and thousands here in San Diego.

In this week’s Q&A, Richman — a UCSD researcher and physician with the veterans medical system — talks about the evolution of the disease, the prospects for those who are infected with the virus that causes it and the unique nature of AIDS in San Diego.

Fireworks Cleared for Takeoff

A judge agreed to give a reprieve to local fireworks displays and other events that were under a legal cloud that threatened to cancel them because of environmental concerns, the U-T reports.

City Attorney’s Office Slams GOP Suit

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The city attorney’s office has not taken kindly to a lawsuit by the leader of the local GOP aiming to disband the city’s redistricting commission. “The petition is obviously a partisan action which, ironically, complains mostly of partisanship,” a response to the lawsuit says, according to CityBeat.

The city defends the redistricting process, which will set new boundaries for San Diego’s City Council districts and add a ninth district. This is a huge deal in the world of city politics: district boundary lines affect the ability of various interest groups — businesspeople, ethic groups, gays — to gain enough concentrated power to elect their allies to office.

Columnist Slams Vargas

Dan Walters, a columnist with The Sacramento Bee, excoriates local state Senator Juan Vargas over his bills that would require more red tape for certain superstores that want to build and support an Indian tribe in the battle over the North County landfill project known as Gregory Canyon. “It should be bothersome that legislators who can’t balance the budget or otherwise perform their legitimate duties would blithely interfere with years of exhaustively detailed permitting procedures, as the Gregory Canyon bill would do, or overturn local land use processes, as the Wal-Mart bill would do,” Waters writes.

What Was Left Behind

Our tour of city neighborhoods continues with a trip up to San Pasqual, best known as the home of the collection of animals formerly known as the Wild Animal Park. It’s actually part of the city and even has its own teeny-tiny one-campus school district.

We came across a man sitting outside a trailer near a single concrete step covered with weeds. It is, he said, the only thing left of the country store he managed with his wife and their home after the 2007 wildfires.

You can also check out another dispatch from Clairemont, where a woman tells about trying to make it on her own after having 10 kids.

She actually wanted to have a couple more, inspired in part by the classic movie “Cheaper by the Dozen.” The 1950 original, that is, not the 2003 Steve Martin remake. If it’s as bad as reviewers say, that version probably only inspired people to never see a movie ever again.


What We Learned This Week:

Next Mayor’s Money Hunt: The 2012 mayoral election is still a way away, but that hasn’t stopped the chattering classes from assuming there will be a long list of major candidates. This month will be crucial for fundraising.

And Away They Go: If the city loses the Chargers, it may gain more than a lot of empty Sunday afternoons: a stadium without a football team is expected to save the city money.

A Giant Mess Grows in North County: The hospital that serves Oceanside, Carlsbad and Vista has more drama than an Old Globe Theatre audition. There’s vitriol, accusations of bribery, calls for removal from office and even a board member who’s not allowed to physically attend board meetings (or, for a while at least, even enter the hospital unless she was sick or injured). We try to explain what in the Sam Hill is going on up there at Tri-City Medical Center.


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

On the Road Again: We spent the week traveling around San Diego’s neighborhoods, finding a Clairemont man who moved up and away from his wife, a Linda Vista roller rink in limbo and more.

Ride ’Em Kiddos: We tag along as local children in Sherman Heights take part in the kids’ equivalent of getting their motors running and heading out on the highway looking for adventure: a soapbox derby race.

Kingdom Come to Kensington: Back in the 1930s, the leader of the Jehovah’s Witnesses church had a home in Kensington and expected some very important guests: David, Moses, Abraham and other big shots from the Bible. He even deeded the home to them. We tell the tale in a history flashback.


Quote of the Week:That should be rich.” — U-T columnist Logan Jenkins on a battle-plagued Tri-City Medical Center board member who was ordered to go to a workshop on the Holocaust — and report back — after she accused her colleagues of acting like Nazis.


Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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