You may have noticed the hoopla last month when the mayor announced that the city had finally vanquished its perennial deficit.  

Woo-hoo! So does that mean the cops and firefighters will be beefed up? And the libraries will open every weekday evening? Maybe it’ll be Oprah-esque: You get a pothole filled, and you get a pothole filled! Everybody gets a pothole filled!

Not exactly. So what does the big announcement really mean? 

Liam Dillon has put together a reader’s guide to help you understand what’s been fixed, budget-wise, and what — such as those potholes down the street and your local library’s hours — is still on the to-do list.

California’s Deadly Horse Racing Industry

Horses at the Del Mar racetrack are more likely than the national average to suffer from breakdowns or signs of injury, according to a New York Times investigation.

Del Mar had 6.7 incidents per 1,000 starts, the newspaper found, higher than the national average of 5.2 and all of the racetracks in horse-racing hotspots like New York state, Kentucky, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland and Florida.

At least 10 horses were euthanized as a result of injuries at Del Mar last season.

The Times says its investigation “shows an industry still mired in a culture of drugs and lax regulation and a fatal breakdown rate that remains far worse than in most of the world. If anything, the new economics of racing are making an always-dangerous game even more so.”

DeMaio, Filner Top Mayoral Poll

Political polling in San Diego is notoriously unreliable — remember those surveys that suggested local voters wanted to raise their taxes to support the city and schools in 2010? — and it’s tough to pin voters down when an election is still more than two months away.

Still, a new U-T San Diego/Center for Education Policy and Law poll does seem to ratify what previous surveys have said: at the moment, it’s a battle between the candidates that are the farthest to the right and left, with the two moderates stuck with a big mountain to climb.

The poll puts Councilman Carl DeMaio in first with 24 percent, followed by Rep. Bob Filner (20 percent) and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, both with 10 percent. More than one-third are undecided.

Also: More than 60 percent of those surveyed think of Mayor Jerry Sanders positively; even most Democrats surveyed are fans.

The Port District’s Caviar Travel

The U-T San Diego essentially declared war on the Port of San Diego after the port didn’t get excited about Doug Manchester’s plans for a sports mega-project on the waterfront.

Now, the paper is reporting that “port executives have not cut back on travel and dining, spending apace on conferences and trade missions even while their revenue dropped and they eliminated jobs.”

Commissioner Bob Nelson traveled first class from San Diego to San Francisco on his way to Europe during a trade mission, the paper found. His charges included $308 in international phone calls.

Other commissioners took first-class flights too, although port district policy somewhat discourages them. A port spokesman said the trips are “critically important.”

Iraqi Woman’s Murder Attracts National Attention

An Iraqi woman’s murder in El Cajon, apparently at the hands of someone who left a note saying “go back to your own country,” is drawing national attention. The U-T, Slate and Detroit Free Press have details.

The AP says El Cajon’s Iraqi immigrant population is 40,000, the second largest in the country after Detroit.

Council Candidates Tackle Transit in City Heights

Speak City Heights wants to know what City Council candidates in District 9 have to say about improving public transportation.

Not So Sweet

My cat likes to eat things (if they smell like tuna) or kill them (if they happen, like bare feet, to be moving without permission). But he has no interest in one of his owner’s favorite activities — supporting the Ben & Jerry’s company.

Lactose intolerance? Nah. Felines don’t have a sweet tooth, a trait they share with species like sea lions, dolphins and spotted hyenas. A new study based on DNA from animals at the San Diego Zoo finds that “carnivorous mammals whose diets don’t feature much in the way of sugar may lose the ability to taste it at all,” the LA Times reports.

Unfortunately, the same thing didn’t happen with canines and garbage. That’s why our neighborhoods are filled with shouts of “GAH! Leave it!” during dog rush hour.

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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