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A top preservationist organization in San Diego likes to use a certain strategy: it lobbies to have buildings designated as historic and creates costly delays for developers who might want to demolish them.

But this time around, in the battle over the future of Balboa Park, the Save Our Heritage Organisation can’t fall back on its usual playbook.

A philanthropist and the mayor are major players this time around, not a developer trying to make a profit. “Developers are interested in making money,” the organization’s director said. “So it’s easier to appeal to a developer in a business sense than it is a philanthropist.”

What to do? In the old days, the group had a small budget and might have just tried to leverage public opinion. It’s doing that now, of course. But it has more money than in the past and it’s suing, potentially to the bitter (and expensive) end.

Labor Strife on Aisle Five: Grocery Strike Looms

SoCal supermarket employees will vote today on whether to authorize a strike, the Los Angeles Times reports, although workers probably won’t leave their jobs right away. They last went on strike in 2003.

No Sur-price Here: Costs Are Going Up


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The consumer price index in the county rose by 3.4 percent in the first six months of the year compared to last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, pushed by an almost 6 percent boost in the cost of food for the home, a nearly 26 percent increase in the cost of gas and a 12 percent increase in the cost of transportation. Housing only rose a bit, though, while the cost of booze actually went down, good news for those who think a nice splash of the wet stuff helps the bad economy go down.

The Loss of an Advocate for Kids

Last year, we published an interview with Susana Garcia, a parent at San Diego’s Cesar Chavez Elementary who pushed for her school to revive its bilingual program and teach both English and Spanish. “Knowing two languages or more is better than one. And when they have the language they’re born with, it helps them to learn the other language better and faster,” she said. “It’s a big transition for them. When they have both languages, it helps them understand more of whatever they’re doing.”

Garcia was fighting cancer, which took her life last week. In our interview last year we asked her why her six-year battle to support bilingual education was so important. “We’re not a rich family. I can’t leave money for my kids. If I’m not going to be out there for my kids — I don’t know but that’s what comes to my mind — at least I can try to help so that they can get a better education,” she said. “We want them to be better than what we are. For me, that’s even stronger now.”

Lady Madonna, Canvas at Her Feet

The awesome “Surfing Madonna” mosaic that brought national attention to Encinitas and its spoilsport municipal leaders will live on in the form of a painting that includes leftover glass from the original artwork.

Actor Declines to Play Old Globe Part After Flap

After news appeared about his 2008 misdemeanor convictions involving sex acts with a girl, an actor has bowed out from playing a major role (of the famed “sweet transvestite from Transexual, Transylvania”) in an Old Globe production of “Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show.” The actor says he’s leaving because his pregnant wife is having complications. (U-T)

The theater will have to hustle to find a replacement, since previews begin next month.

The Verdict Stands

We’ve decided to stick with the verdict “Barely True” in our Fact Checks instead of changing it, as one of our counterparts did, to “Mostly False.” There was a surprising lack of support for my suggestion, “Sorta Kinda True-Adjacent.” “False-esque,” anyone? Hello?

Tackling the Hoarder Menace

Amid an avalanche of publicity about hoarding thanks to a highly popular and highly watchable reality show, a new coalition of law enforcement officials and others is trying to combat the condition in San Diego County.

“The key thing is it’s a psychiatric disorder or a mental (illness),” a UCSD professor tells patch.com. Indeed, many of the subjects on A&E’s “Hoarders” show began to develop deep emotional connections to their belongings after tragedies in their lives.

Earlier this year, we tagged along as city workers emptied the home of a longtime hoarder in the Mount Hope neighborhood after years of legal battles. It finally took a judge’s ruling to finally get the home cleaned, and the couple who owned it wouldn’t be allowed in it again without city permission.

Meanwhile, a blog follows the experiences of a Burbank man who had to deal with the aftermath of his mother’s horrific hoarding at her home in San Diego. During his first visit to the home in 18 years, he found his 83-year-old mother collapsed and hidden behind a blocked-off door and endless piles of stuff. The blog, with video, tracks what happened next. Another web site offers reactions to his story.

Oh Goodness No, After You

On the last Friday evening of each month, dozens or hundreds of bicyclists ignore traffic laws as they zoom around the city from their starting point at Balboa Park. Some of the anarchic “Critical Mass” riders are known for cursing car drivers, says CityBeat. We called the ride a “monthly dose of chaos” back in 2009.

Last Friday, a new bike ride group made an appearance: it’s Courteous Mass, a Miss Manners-ish twist organized by a secretary’s assistant from National City. About 145 cyclists showed up, CityBeat reports, and rode politely around town even though some motorists chewed them out.

See? It’s possible to be calm and well-mannered in the face of rude people. Not probable, at least in my case. But possible.

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

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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