The proposed expansion of the Convention Center has spawned some huckster propaganda we’ve had to call out.

So we created a readers guide to help you wade through the rhetoric. Liam Dillon explains why shovels aren’t likely to break ground any time soon, what competing interests hope to still get out of the deal and how much money taxpayers are set to send to the project out of the same pot that will fund libraries, police officers and other day-to-day needs.

• Speaking of that, an interesting debate broke out on Scott Lewis’ Facebook page. Councilman Carl DeMaio insisted that he was committed to eliminating that city taxpayer contribution. He said that it was a limited contribution, anyway, despite his recent unsuccessful attempts to limit it.

Housing Supply Getting Tight, Prices Could Spring

Our financial guru Rich Toscano drops by with five charts and a message about local home prices: “Prices may have been dropping of late, but if supply remains this constrained and rates remain incredibly low (that second one is a big ‘if’), it’s certainly plausible that prices could start to rebound once the spring season gets underway.”

Nobel Laureate Dulbecco Dies

Nobel Prize-winning scientist, and the former president of Salk Institute, Dr. Renato Dulbecco died Wednesday. Here’s The New York Times obituary and the Union-Tribune’s.

Dulbecco’s discovery “provided the first solid evidence that cancer was caused by genetic mutations, a breakthrough that changed the way scientists thought about cancer and the effects of carcinogens, like some hair dyes and tobacco smoke,” wrote the Times.

The Italian had quite a life. Full disclosure: He was also a major supporter of ours and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family and colleagues.

Embedded in the Arts: Mo’olelo’s Next Show

Join us as we offer an inside view into the production of a play. We’ll be on hand through auditions and rehearsals as “How I Got that Story,” a two-actor play with 21 characters, comes together at Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company.

First up, thoughts from director Seema Sueko about the risks of putting on a more than 30-year-old play about wartime in a place like Vietnam. She’s invited veterans to watch the process unfold and hopes they won’t find holes.

“Our industry traditionally keeps the artist and the community separate,” she said. “We’re all humans and nobody wants to get their idea rejected.”

Opera Tenor Harpooned by Illness

Another illness has struck “Moby-Dick,” the much-publicized production of the San Diego Opera. First, the conductor had to step out because she’s sick. Now, tenor Ben Heppner, who played Captain Ahab, will be replaced Tuesday due to illness, the LA Times reports. (Maybe some whale soup would make them feel better? Just a thought.)

Heppner “has been noted as much for his cancellations as his appearances and some vocal travails in performances,” the Times reports.

We’ve got a photo of Heppner, a slew of other photos from the production, and a look at how the “Moby-Dick” crew gave Heppner a pegleg.

It was a challenge, Heppner said. “Your inner core is working very hard to keep yourself stable and moving around the stage. And therefore your interior is kind of tensed up a little bit, and that’s exactly the opposite way to what singing is.”

Clog City: Water Funds Back Up

The city’s water and sewer systems have hundreds of millions of dollars sitting around waiting to be spent on a backlog of projects even while rates have gone up, Investigative Newsource reports.

The city’s utilities chief provided a classic quit-yer-whining response: “When you get up in the morning and turn the spigot on it comes, when you flush it goes without fail. I think we do a fantastic job given the complexity of the system.”

There’s more to the story, of course, and he ended up having a good debate with the writers of the story on KPBS yesterday.

‘Mormon Girl’ Takes Her Faith’s Leaders to Task

One of our most popular Q&A interviews last year was with San Diego State professor Joanna Brooks, who’s become a kind of national spokeswoman for Mormons who don’t fit the stereotype. The headline of the story — “The Liberal, Feminist, Gay-Friendly Mormon” — says it all.  

Brooks got more attention over the weekend when the U-T profiled her in a front-page story. It quotes her new memoir in which she writes about her young children: “For their sakes, I decide to stop feeling like a bad daughter in my own tradition. For their sakes, I decide I must make and tell my own version of the Mormon story.” 

“In North County,” the U-T’s Logan Jenkins wrote a few years ago, “Mormons arguably are more mainstream — and a helluva lot more politically active — than Presbyterians.”

So is San Diego County especially Mormon? Not particularly, says a national map of Mormonism that Slate just posted. Even though the Mormon faith once declared that it owned San Diego along with much of the Southwest, fewer than 2 percent of our residents are Mormon, as of statistics from 2000. Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties have higher percentages.

A View from the Emerald City

To the annoyance of the top brass at the U-T, the newspaper’s extravagant proposal to remake the San Diego waterfront has been roundly dismissed.

But what about folks outside San Diego? Maybe they’d be less swayed by antipathy toward the U-T and more willing to embrace the plan to plop a stadium and sports arena next to the bay.

Nah. Under the headline “San Diego: how NOT to treat a central waterfront,” a Seattle architect/urban planner summarizes the dust-up down here and compares it to a similar debate in his city.

The lesson for Seattle’s waterfront, he writes, is to avoid “blockbuster ideas (that) often sweep away virtually anything left of earlier eras of maritime commerce, docks, shipping, and commerce. So valuable are these places that they lend themselves to drama and such civic hubris.”

Instead, Seattle can look at its bustling Pike Place Market and “find a way to extend that collective and idiosyncratic energy down to the waterfront by allowing lots of things and activities — both big and small, elegant and gritty, artful and funky, composed and messy, cooked and raw. Seattle’s great social stewpot is all about nurturing and celebrating the glorious whole that comes from many disparate parts.”

I’m not sure San Diego needs a “stewpot.” Maybe our waterfront can put on the ritz and become a mélange. Or a potpourri? Definitely something French so we can feel superior.

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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