The local arts and culture community loves County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, who’s been their biggest booster in the ranks of local government. But now she’s stepping down.

What to do? Find a similar replacement, a local arts leader told about 100 counterparts last October:

“There’s huge amounts of money on the table for all of us in terms of funding from the county,” he said. “We have to make sure that her seat is definitely going to be a very arts-friendly individual.”

Arts editor Kelly Bennett explores how Slater-Price became the arts champion, the criticism that has followed and how the arts community’s grooming of its next leader is going.

Republican candidate Steve Danon wants to kill the county’s often-criticized grant program that allows individual supervisors to decide where money goes.

His opponent, Democrat Dave Roberts, is being groomed to take over the arts charged but even he wants to change the programs.

‘Newspaper as Business Pulpit’

The changes at U-T San Diego under new owners Doug Manchester and John Lynch has become a national story.

The New York Times’ media reporter, David Carr, yesterday took a skeptical look at the major shifts at the paper since the two took over last fall.

“Many of us grew up in towns where the daily paper was in bed with civic leaders, but the shared interest was generally expressed on the editorial page. Occasionally, appropriate lines of inquiry would be suspiciously ignored in coverage, but the news pages were just that, news,” Carr writes.

“At The U-T, which was known as The San Diego Union-Tribune when it was owned by the Copley family, that pretense was obliterated from the start.”

Carr sees it as a return to the days when newspapers didn’t make much money for owners but instead were political vehicles.

Story Sparks Changes in Open Government Rules

The City Council has ordered its business improvement districts to follow more strict transparency rules after our story last month showed a majority of districts were out of compliance with public records laws.

City Council members required the publicly funded groups to more prominently post the details of their public meetings and release key information about their operations.

As Sandy Coronilla reports, “business districts use public money to support the economic growth of small business communities, playing an increasingly prominent role in a city that’s cut back on many basic services. They’re public agencies that use public money. They organize special events like neighborhood block parties and maintain iconic neighborhood signs like those in Normal Heights and Hillcrest.”

Rising Cost for Open Government?

The City Council today will discuss whether to raise the fees for the public to gain access to government documents and data.

Today, city officials often provide computer data and scanned documents for free; paper copies can cost 20 or 25 cents.

The mayor wants to charge 70 cents per minute for copying data and 25 cents per page for scanning documents. And all paper copies would cost 25 cents per page.

Ahead of that vote, our Keegan Kyle examines the importance of public access to the internal workings of the city and summarizes a few of our recent investigations that depended on government data that was made public with little or no charge.

Jenkins on the Elections

U-T columnist Logan Jenkins says Roberts, who’s hoping to replace Slater-Price to represent a western chunk of the county on the Board of Supervisors, “should send Del Mar Mayor Carl Hilliard a nice gift. A pony perhaps.”

Why should he be so equine about everything?

Because Hilliard ran in the primary and spent much of his time softening up a Republican, Danon. By effectively bashing Danon, Hilliard seems to have paved the way for Roberts to keep Danon at under 50 percent of the vote. That paved the way for a run-off.

As for the San Diego mayor’s race, Jenkins says Councilman Carl DeMaio drew his “dream opponent” in Rep. Bob Filner: “The matchup will be stark and bruising — youth vs. age; rock-ribbed right vs. pro-union left; wonky energy vs. political experience at the local and national level; ‘committed’ gay vs. remarried straight.”

Teacher Concessions in LA

As San Diego schools face their own financial apocalypse and the teachers union feels pressure to negotiate, the L.A. teachers union has tentatively agreed to prevent thousands of layoffs by cutting 10 days off their pay, the LA Times reports. Kids will get five fewer days of school.

The agreement points to a dilemma that may face San Diego teachers: if they agree to cuts in pay (or no raises), will they also insist on working fewer days? How important will education days for kids be?

‘Place Matters’

Carlsbad is home to the skinniest kids in the county, a new study finds, while National City — where half the kids weigh too much — has the heaviest, the NC Times reports.

Overall, 34.5 percent of kids in the county are overweight or obese (a step beyond overweight); that’s less than the state’s 38 percent.

“Place matters,” says a county health officer.

Absolutely. That’s why I’m now going to buy all my fast food in Carlsbad.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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