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Before we jump into the week in review, here’s a chance to participate in our reporting: We’ll be fanning out across the city of San Diego over the coming weeks to spend one week in each of the five City Council districts up for election.
Help us figure out the big issues, who to talk to, where to go and what to ask the candidates.
First up: I’ll be spending next week in District 9, which includes City Heights, Talmadge, Kensington and the southeastern San Diego neighborhoods. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to help me get started.
What We Learned This Week
Nathan Fletcher’s No Longer a Rising Republican Star: Actually, he’s no longer a Republican at all. He made the startling announcement Wednesday just weeks after the local GOP endorsed rival Carl DeMaio in the race for mayor. We turned to the animal kingdom for proper inspiration: Liam Dillon traced Fletcher’s surprising path from prodigy to lone wolf, and Scott Lewis used the theory of conformity enforcement to determine that if he were a lobster, Fletcher’d be dead.
If that’s too much to handle, or you’re scared of animals, go for our simple reader’s guide to understand what’s behind the switch.
Horses Are in Danger at Del Mar: The New York Times put its star investigative reporter Walt Bogdanich on the horse racing industry, and here’s what he found: “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.” According to the story, horses at the Del Mar racetrack are more likely than the national average to suffer from breakdowns. At least 10 died as a result of injuries last season.
We Don’t Know the Details about a $1 Billion Tax Increase: Hoteliers across San Diego are currently deciding whether to increase their room tax to help finance the Convention Center expansion. That vote is weighted by the size of a hotel’s business and its proximity to the center. That means one company could hold extraordinary power over the whole negotiations, but City Attorney Jan Goldsmith won’t release information to let us figure that out.
Iraqis’ Peace Shattered in El Cajon: The murder of a 32-year-old Iraqi refugee in her El Cajon home has the nation wondering if the woman, Shaima Alawadi, was the victim of a hate crime. “Whatever the police eventually determine, the crime has shattered the sense of security for Iraqi immigrants in El Cajon, exposing cultural tensions and distrust that have often simmered just below the surface since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001,” says The New York Times.
If You Return Mrs. Suess’s Lorax Statue, You Won’t Be Charged: Some creep stole the Lorax statue that sits outside the home of Audrey Geisel, the 90-year-old widow of Dr. Suess. Like you would expect of the Suesses, they got creative. A spokesman told NBC 7 San Diego that they won’t press charges against the thief if he or she just returns the statue. Audrey Geisel’s daughter laid it on even thicker, as Entertainment Weekly points out: “Let’s bring a happy end to this story. The little guy doesn’t belong to ya. He belongs up at Seuss house. Bring him home.” Come on, creep. Give it back!
The Mysteries of Rancho Guejito Deepen
The owners of Rancho Guejito, a grand, largely unspoiled swath of North County land, have been fined $150,000 by the county of San Diego and ordered to destroy an illegal road. (North County Times)
The pristine ranch has been the focus of a simmering development standoff. “The road, which gives the ranch access to Highway 78, was termed by observers as ‘a missing link’ to unlocking development. Rancho Guejito Corp. has discussed building up to 10,000 homes on the land,” NCT says.
This place fascinates me, and you just have to read this LA Times story to understand why. I tried to enter it when filming a San Diego Explained on future growth in the county, but was turned away by an ominous sign that warned of armed guards.
From Our Engagement Czarina
Each week, web editor Dagny Salas puts together posts on our top five comments, the weekend mixtape affectionately known as the VOSD Reading List and a summary of everything that’s going on in our City Heights media collaborative.
Here’s what she has for us this week:
• The Reading List has reads on endangered rhinos, big infrastructure fixes that don’t require tax increases, pension bonds and private libraries. Check it out.
What are you reading that everyone else should read? Let D-Sal know: email@example.com.
• In the five reader comments of the week, Desmond Morton pans Fletcher’s GOP ditch, John Ptaszek compares the Convention Center maneuvering to 1950s Chicago politics, Dennis Rosche questions the mayor’s budget victory, David Hall thinks an op-ed on pension reform is just plain silly and Bruce Nunes touches on one of our favorite topics — scooter pay.
• The Speaks City Heights collaborative wants to know what the District 9 candidates are going to do about better biking and sidewalk safety.
Number of the Week
— The number of cities medical marijuana dispensaries are targeting for ballot initiatives to regulate and tax storefront operators. (U-T San Diego)
Quote of the Week, Part I
“I’ve been a Republican my entire life.”
— Nathan Fletcher in his speech seeking the Republican Party endorsement for mayor, March 10.
Quote of the Week, Part II
“Today I’m leaving the Republican Party, becoming an independent.”
— Nathan Fletcher, announcing his party change, March 28.