The latest daily news is below, but first, the week in review.

Five Things We Learned This Week

1. Get Used to the Crummy Roads: While leaders debate convention centers, football stadiums and the like, the ground beneath us in San Diego is literally crumbling. And, despite city plans to borrow another $500 million for infrastructure, roads are expected to continue to get worse for the next five years.

Inside the political realm, it’s an issue that still doesn’t get a whole lot of play. But outside of it, there are few things — if any — residents care about more. “It’s all people want to talk about when they learn I write about the city,” reporter Liam Dillon remarked this week.

We have a handy Reader’s Guide on the city’s infrastructure struggles if you’re looking for a place to get started.

2. The Teachers Union Wasn’t Talking, But Now … We started off the week with an in-depth story looking at how the teachers union had become more hard-line and confrontational as San Diego Unified’s financial problems have grown. (At which point reader Don Wood warned us not to shill for the district.)

Then, the union asked the district to join it in pushing to do away with a state budget process that can reap havoc on schools. Sure, the district said, all we need you to do is loosen coveted union protection. Now, the ball’s back in the union’s court.

3. Fletcher Looks Clean in Time With Cunningham: You wouldn’t know unless you looked really closely as his resume, but mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher used to work for Duke Cunningham. That’s something that’s likely to end up on a last-minute campaign hit piece. But we looked long and hard at his limited time there, and we didn’t find anything connecting Fletcher to the sins of the past. We still, however, have one unanswered question about his pay. Add in two more fact checks and I’d have a hard time arguing with you if you said it was Nathan Fletcher week at VOSD.

4. If You’re Poor, Your Call Cannot Be Completed as Dialed: The county’s provision of social services has always featured plenty of gaudy numbers, but we got a few more this week in U-T San Diego: five out of every six calls to its food-stamps hotline are dropped, and those that do get through have to wait a half hour to get through. To his credit, the head of the county’s health and human services went on KPBS’ Evening Edition to talk about the problem.

For the big picture, take a look at our 2010 special report on the county’s historical resistance to provide social services. It includes snippets on each supervisor’s attitude, including Supervisor Bill Horn’s: “My father wouldn’t even take the GI Bill.”

5. Alternative Pension Reform Won’t See the Light of Day: We’ve heard grumblings for a while now that the Democratic side of City Hall would offer up an alternative to the GOP’s ballot-bound pension reform. Councilman David Alvarez stepped forward this week to do that, outlining a plan with all the same savings as the GOP plan — plus, it is even easier on the city’s budget in the short-term, too. But, surprisingly, Council President Tony Young refused to even let the council hear it.


Art as History: The Japanese Internment Camps

Wendy Maruyama’s art is normally furniture, but today it’s history. The history of Japanese internment camps in the United States during World War II. The history of her family.

Kelly Bennett and Maruyama talked about what it was like to find such emotional stories and how her furniture customers have responded. “I decided it was time to confront this and try to understand what my family went through, and how this event shaped the way future generations of Japanese Americans perceive themselves,” she said.

Her exhibition opens tonight at San Diego State’s University Art Gallery.

Also in art:

• Each of the six presenters at our Meeting of the Minds event left us with loads of ideas for things to do around San Diego arts. We’ve compiled all that info into one guide.

• Prepare yourself for “eye popping juxtapositions of color and dance” in this week’s Behind the Scene TV. It’s all about the Nations of Dance event, coming to Coronado this weekend.

Newsy Bits

• The victim cried. The crooked cop cried. So did his lawyer. The prosecutor cried too. The judge? Well, he had this to say: “Crooked cops go to prison.” And so it is for disgraced former SDPD cop Anthony Arevalos, who was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison for soliciting sexual bribes from five women while on duty.

If you’re new to the story, learn about how a bad cop went rogue. Also read why the police department was one of Scott Lewis’ top stories to follow this year.

• Dagny Salas is back with her weekly VOSD Reading List. This week’s selections include the yuck factor in SD water and a yucky jail in Tijuana, both from The New York Times.

• CityBeat’s John Lamb looks at “the seal guy” — Brian Pease, the Democrat who moved from South Park to La Jolla to run against a Democratic incumbent, Sherri Lightner. The incumbent has managed to anger her base, including environmentalists and labor.

• Five lucky comments made our Five Comments of the Week. Did yours?

• A whole bunch of media organizations have teamed up to create Speak City Heights, a collaboration covering the largely refugee and immigrant neighborhood. The best stories from this week include one on a Latino candidate finally joining the race in the new Latino-majority City Council district.

Number of the Week


— The year the city of San Diego expects to begin reversing the long decay of its roads despite plans to borrow $500 million for infrastructure repairs.

Quote of the Week

“I will tell you that neither Nathan or any of my former staff should suffer for my own sins.”

Duke Cunningham on his former staffer, mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher.

I’m the editor of VOSD. You can reach me at or 619.325.0526. Follow me on Twitter: @AndrewDonohue.

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