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The Chicano Park murals have stood beneath Interstate 5 since the 1970s, the product of successful protests against the barren urban concrete that replaced a stretch of neighborhood.

Now, several of the original painters have returned to touch up and remake some of the more than 50 murals, which memorialize and celebrate Mexican-American life and culture.

The famed park could end up looking significantly brighter and more modern. In one mural, for example, old scrawling text has been replaced by a contemporary tattoo font.

“It’s a complicated thing to invite artists with four more decades of experience under their belts to revisit work they made in their youth,” Kelly Bennett writes. “Should the artist just repaint the same lines he painted in the 1970s, or bring to the table new techniques, new colors?”

Check out the full story, which has big, bright photos and video.

In Special-Ed Switch, a Lack of Training

For three years, San Diego schools have been adjusting to a sea change in how they handle special-education students. Now, more students have been moved into traditional classrooms. But the rollout’s been hampered by a lack of vision and leadership, we find in the conclusion of our look into San Diego Unified’s big changes.

“Despite advocates pushing for mandatory training for teachers, nobody at the district ever tried to make that happen,” our Will Carless reports. “There’s also disagreement about how principals were trained for the big change.”

Next up in our pages on the topic: a look at how increasing special education spending is driving charter schools away from city schools.

‘Music, Dancing, Fun’ and … Corruption Allegations

A Sweetwater school district trustee threw herself a birthday party fundraiser that included district contractor invitees despite an ongoing corruption investigation by local prosecutors into the connections between contractors and education officials, the U-T reports.

Several current and former officials in the district, which runs middle and high schools in the South Bay, are facing corruption charges for allegedly taking money from contractors in return for district business.

Board member Pearl Quinones allegedly wrote “I support those who support me!” to a contractor. Her attorney gave the U-T a quote that hardly paints his client in a glowing light: “As many people as they have saying she may have said, ‘I support those who support me,’ we know of just as many people who have heard her say, ‘My vote is not for sale.’ That’s been her mantra.”

Morning Report Update

The Morning Report on Saturday said that three of the four major mayoral candidates attended a rally for the manufacturer Solar Turbines. In fact, while organizers had reported in a press release that City Councilman Carl DeMaio was expected at the event, he did not attend. Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis did.

News at the Speed of Brief:

• The U-T has a long story summarizing the mayoral race so far, with a focus on the four major candidates. One thing to look forward to: reports that will be out later this month about how much money the candidates have made recently.

The paper also looks at the coming battle over the pension reform initiative and notes the possibility of a competing measure crafted by the left. The reporter sounds excited about the prospect. “In other words, San Diegans are about to be bombarded with endless rhetoric about pension reform over the next five months,” he writes.

• The county’s controversial revamp of its rules regarding growth in the backcountry isn’t done yet. Today, the board of supervisors “is set to hear nearly 140 appeals from property owners who say the blueprint chokes their development rights,” the North County Times reports.

For their part, “county planners had argued that the appeals did not mesh with the new plan, which places strict limits on development in areas without adequate roads, water and fire services.”

• Here’s a New York Times description of San Diego that’s just out: “With breweries and brewpubs, a sunny heaven for suds lovers.” We’re 14th on its list of the 45 places across the globe to visit in 2012.

So how did San Diego become so hopped up on hops on tap? Watch our San Diego Explained for details.  

What’s a Guy Gotta Do to Get Arrested in SD? (Part I)

Answer: jaywalk in Hillcrest on Christmas and (allegedly) look soused. CityBeat columnist Enrique Limon was out carousing — as you do — when he got pulled aside for jaywalking, then arrested for being drunk in public (despite a lack of a sobriety or breathalyzer test) and ended up in jail for 11 hours, he writes.

“There was Joe the transient, who insisted we were being fed airborne viruses; two homies doing lines of ice off a steel bench; and a second Joe, who’d allegedly attempted to push someone off a moving trolley…,” Limon writes. “The ceiling was rusted, and smeared feces adorned the cinderblock walls. It was something right out of a Norman Rockwell illustration (if Norman were on a crank bender, that is).”

What’s a Guy Gotta Do to Get Arrested in SD? (Part II)

Answer: It remains to be seen. Well, make that heard.

Doug Porter, a writer with the website OB Rag, writes that he wants to get arrested in San Diego for “sedition,” which is a crime according to the municipal code. He asks his readers: “What can I say that would get me busted for sedition?”

I got nothin’, except a desire to see what the other guys in jail do and say when he explains what he’s in for. That’ll be rich.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

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

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