Think of the things we share as San Diegans: the ocean, the beautiful weather, the desire to get out of jury duty. Then there’s our daily encounter with something that sounds like this: Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle. Bouncy bouncy bump clunk! Rattle rattle clank.

It’s what we hear when we drive on our shoddy streets.

But just how bad are they? We’ve created a graphic to show you how the situation has deteriorated over the past decade or so.

The city expects things to only get better from here. Hello, optimism! But, as we’ve shown in previous reporting, the city has a record of broken promises regarding street repair. Check our reader’s guide to learn more.

• Speaking of the city budget, the financial numbers for the future are looking more optimistic, and the mayor seems ready to declare victory over various problems.

But as anyone who drives or walks or uses a library or rec center knows, things are hardly peachy. Here’s a vital question for the mayor candidates: Must we accept shuttered pools, less maintenance, library branches that are only open past 5:30 p.m. twice a week, and a glorious new downtown library that’s closed on Saturdays? Is this not only our past and present but our future too?

We take a look at where the mayoral candidates stand on the budget issue and include details from another debate, this one held this week. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher “tried to argue past the financial and pension woes that dominated the city’s last 10 years,” our Liam Dillon reports. “And (Councilman Carl) DeMaio tried to drag them back to center stage.”

Rep. Bob Filner was ill and didn’t attend the debate.

No Felony Prosecution of Occupy Protesters

Four Occupy San Diego protesters who disrupted the mayor’s State of the City speech last week won’t be prosecuted on felony charges, the DA’s office announced. But they could still face prosecution on misdemeanor charges.

The arrest of the prosecutors on serious felony charges prompted a public outcry over the severity of the accusations and criticism from three of the four major candidates for mayor.

The only candidate who didn’t weigh in is the DA herself, Bonnie Dumanis. Another candidate, Councilman Carl DeMaio, did take the opportunity at a debate to accuse the Occupy San Diego protesters of wasting city resources.

Yadda Yadda, Says Teachers Union of District Message

The San Diego teachers union has a message for management about its memo regarding budget woes: It’s the same ol’, same ol’.

The union president accused the district superintendent of spreading disinformation. “But he stopped short of saying the union wouldn’t be willing to negotiate on salary and benefit concessions that could go a long way towards fixing the district’s looming $150 million budget deficit over the next two years,” our Will Carless reports.

Fact-Checking a Labor Leader

“There are 57,000 San Diegans losing their homes,” local labor leader Lorena Gonzalez declared earlier this month. San Diego Fact Check finds that her statement is true, although it needs some context: she’s referring to people who’d had their homes foreclosed on since 2008 or will have their homes foreclosed this year.

The numbers also don’t mean that 57,000-plus people got kicked out of their homes.

Check our graphic to see the foreclosure hot spots in the city. They include some areas you might expect (the urban core of the city) and some you might not (the Rancho Bernardo/Scripps Ranch area).

Another Six Stories to Watch in 2012

San Diego Explained, our video series, is back with another six ongoing stories to watch in 2012. Our Scott Lewis and NBC 7 San Diego’s Catherine Garcia explain why you should keep an eye on the mayor’s race and discussions of land use, infrastructure, future leadership, the economy and local schools.

Watch a previous episode for the first six storylines you should be monitoring.

SD’s Dolphins Might Be Middle East-Bound

Iran’s threat to block a major water passage in the Middle East has been making news this month, but a top military official said not to worry if the Strait of Hormuz gets mined. Why? Because “we’ve got dolphins.” And they may come from San Diego, where the Navy reportedly had 80 bottlenose dolphin trainees in the bay alone. 

The Navy has long trained dolphins here to find mines. “They are astounding in their ability to detect underwater objects,” retired U.S. Adm. Tim Keating told NPR.

As The Week notes, there’s controversy about whether this is dangerous work for the dolphins even if they don’t manage to get blown up by a mine. (The Navy says that’s not a risk.) 

Spring (Training) Fever

Sure, it’s cold out and the Super Bowl isn’t here yet. But your thoughts may be turning to baseball. If so, here are some cool graphics from to whet your whistle for spring training and give you some trivia questions for your next round of bar-hopping.

Which baseball stadium has what looks to be the most northern-facing ballpark orientation of all? It’s Petco Park. Is it possible to hit an international-border-crossing home run at a ballpark around here? Yes.

Which Sun Belt pro-baseball city has the lowest average temperature in April? San Diego! And which former Padre is one of only two pro-baseball players to ever come out as being gay? It’s Billy Bean (no, not Beane). 

Imperial Beach’s Moment in the Sun

Since the 1950s, San Diego has had several moments in the TV spotlight. Shows like Harry O, Simon & Simon, Silk Stalkings, Veronica Mars — and most recently the obscure cable show Terriers — were set or filmed here. 

Which show was both set and filmed in Imperial Beach, with the opening credits featuring views of the city and the border? The answer is “John from Cincinnati,” a largely forgotten HBO show that aired, seemingly for about a half second, back in 2007.

The AV Club, a leading pop culture website, remembers the show in its My World of Flops series, saying it was anything but televised flotsam: “Enjoying John From Cincinnati requires a massive leap of faith, a high tolerance for quirkiness and self-indulgence, and an awful lot of patience, but its rewards and cockeyed charms are as substantive as they are beguilingly ethereal.”

Wow. This show and I have a lot in common!

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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