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Councilman Carl DeMaio isn’t anywhere near quicksand, but he’s still done a lot of shifting lately. In fact, some of his position switches have reached full flip-flop status.

Changing what you believe, of course, isn’t always a bad thing. Hypothetically, at least, we want our leaders to have firm core principles and a willingness to take new information and adjust their views. But rivals will jump on anything that suggests either a foolish consistency or a foolish inconsistency.

We’ve compiled several DeMaio switches to give you an idea of how he’s adjusting moving from right-wing flamethrower to man of the people (or at least the majority of people who vote in November) as he runs for mayor.

For one thing, he was for the Balboa Park makeover before he was against it and then for it, even bringing in a Joni Mitchell lyric to make his point. No word on her position.

Our rundown of his adjustments has more examples.

A Remarkable Ride

I sifted through obituaries and remembrances to find details about the legacy of one of the most celebrated San Diegans of all time.

My story, titled “Five Things We’re Learning about Sally Ride,” examines the way she inspired young girls, the path she blazed as an advocate for science education for girls and the big secret of her private life that she kept from the public eye.  

That secret (that she was gay) has attracted debate. tracks the online discussion about how to describe her private life and notes commentator Andrew Sullivan’s description of her as an “absent heroine” to the gay community. Her sister, who’s gay, offers a reasonable explanation: “That wasn’t her battle of choice — the battle of choice was science education for kids.”

The Week in Arts

The Arts Report, our weekly roundup of the artistic and cultural, links to stories about growing local arts funding, an autism-friendly grinch, the evolution of the New Children’s Museum and more.

Quick News Hits

• Republican members of Congress are complaining that the Defense Department allowed members of the military to march in uniform in last weekend’s gay pride parade in San Diego. It’s the first time that’s been allowed at a gay pride parade.

The military sets strict rules about where its members can wear uniforms. “If the Navy can punish a chaplain for participating in a pro-life event or a Marine participating in a political rally, it stands to reason that the Defense Department should maintain the same standard and preclude service members in uniform from marching in a gay pride parade,” wrote Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, according to the AP.  

It sounds like the issue will revolve around whether a gay pride is political or something more like a St. Patrick’s Day or Thanksgiving parade.

In some ways, these events are all political, since politicians are typically involved and many contingents and floats carry messages. But if there’s no overall message — other than celebrating a day or a kind of people — is it the same as an abortion or anti-war rally?

• The city auditor is supposed to, you know, audit stuff. He serves as a internal city watchdog. But he’s having a tough time getting the cooperation he thinks he deserves to do his job, the U-T reports, and even says he’s been banished to a run-down office. The city’s chief operating officer is firing back.  

• The government board that runs the Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside remains snarled one of its epic legal messes, the U-T reports. This one is over the board’s refusal to let a member see confidential documents. Things don’t look to be resolved any time soon.

Last year, we looked at Tri-City, the most dysfunctional public servants around.

• Remember County Supervisor Bill Horn’s chief of staff? She and her boss became the topic of plenty of insider tittering back in 2006 when news came that Horn had bought her million-dollar house but failed to disclose it, while the chief of staff — Joan Wonsley — didn’t disclose it either. (Horn had agreed to let Wonsley stay in the house for much less than it was worth.)

Now, Wonsley — Horn’s “top adviser, consultant and confidant” — is retiring, the NC Times reports, not long after considering a run for Carlsbad City Council.

• My recent interview with the author of “Death at SeaWorld” led with his description of a stunning video of a 2006 attack by a killer whale on a trainer at SeaWorld San Diego. The trainer was almost killed. The video wasn’t public when I talked to the author, but it’s available now thanks to a Freedom of Information request, and the U-T has posted it.

Beauty in Black and White

If you’ve been reading our coverage of the debate over killer whales at SeaWorld, you might have your mind filled with thoughts of tragedy. Well, here’s a chance to take a break and watch these stunning creatures in their natural habitat — the ocean.

In this case, whale watchers spotted a friendly killer whale and her calf doing their thing off the San Diego coast the other day. NBC San Diego has the video.

Makes me want to go out and join them, just without having to deal with any cold water. Hey, anybody got a floatable couch? No remote control needed. I’ll have my own Nature Channel.

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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