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The rooftop atop Horton Plaza’s parking garage was alive at our ‘Meeting of the Minds’ arts and culture event Wednesday night. As the sun set over downtown, we turned our attention to stimulating presentations and conversations about what’s happening in the local arts scene. Afterwards, Sam Hodgson snapped some photos and asked attendees what had stuck with them from the many presentations.

“I didn’t realize how many jobs and careers we have in the arts,” said Chelsea Klaseus. “All the different things that were promoted tonight were completely different,” responded the OB Rag’s Frank Gormlie. “I was really stoked, man.”

What stuck with you? Make sure you let us know by leaving a comment, and keep an eye out for our next Meeting of the Minds.

‘Wildlife Killers’ Get Congressional Attention

“U.S. Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, Thursday introduced legislation in Congress that would require Wildlife Services, an obscure arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to disclose far more about the millions of animals it kills across the country than it does today,” writes our Rob Davis.

Davis has been investigating the slaying of thousands of animals in San Diego County since 2005. But Wildlife Services has stonewalled him. Rep. Susan Davis cited similar problems. “This lack of transparency and public reporting makes oversight impossible,” Davis said in a statement. “The USDA could be acting inappropriately or recklessly and without this data, we can’t know.”

To force the agency to share more information, she’s introduced the Transparency for Lethal Control Act. The bill would “require Wildlife Services to annually report how many animals it kills in each municipality in the country, as well as the method used to kill them,” writes Davis, and would require that agency to explain why animal killings were deemed necessary.

Tom Shepard and Bob Filner, What’s It Mean?

It came as a surprise to many when new broke that mayoral candidate Bob Filner had hired Republican political consultant Tom Shepard as his chief campaign consultant. The move drew instant criticism from the Republican establishment, with Republican Party of San Diego County chairman Tony Krvaric vowing never to do business with Shepard again. “Elephants don’t forget – and principles matter,” Krvaric wrote.

Here’s a link to the email Shepard sent to supporters of Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who did not advance as a mayoral candidate out of the primary. Shepard told the Fletcheratti, in essence, they could still vote for Fletcher because Filner had offered the young politician a job and adopted some of his principles.

Our Liam Dillon pulled together an analysis of what it all meant. “Linking with Shepard gives Filner two things he hasn’t had to this point,” Dillon writes. “Someone on his campaign team who has a history of successful San Diego municipal elections and a personal connection to the downtown establishment that’s long been the epicenter of the city’s powerbrokers.”

Dillon also points out that Shepard has a history of crossing political lines. Shepard also helped get Scott Peters, a Democrat, re-elected against high-spending Republican Phil Thalheimer in 2004.

Referring to comments made recently by DeMaio campaign consultant Ryan Clumpner about DeMaio’s ability to unite San Diegans, our Andrew Donohue pointed out one political irony of Shephard’s move. “@CarlDeMaio *is* a uniter: He’s brought Bob Filner and Tom Shepard together,” he wrote on Twitter. Scott Lewis wondered why Fletcher wouldn’t just say he supported Filner.

Protected Habitat In Name Only

On paper, hundreds of acres in Del Mar Mesa in northern San Diego are preserved and protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. Some of San Diego’s rarest creatures live there. But in reality, that protection comes in little more than name only,” writes our Rob Davis.

In the latest San Diego Explained, Davis partnered up with NBC 7 San Diego’s Catherine Garcia to look at the promises made to protect San Diego’s endangered species, and how those promises have been broken.

• Each year the League of Conservation Voters issues an “Environmental Quality Report Card” to grade city council members and the mayor. Livia Borak, the group’s president, wrote to deliver the results of their 2011 scorecard. Each member is graded individually, but their average score this year is 67 percent — a nearly 20 percent drop from their collective score in 2010.

‘Housing Day’ 10 Years Later

CityBeat reported on Wednesday on the anniversary of what has come to be known as “Housing Day”, a day on August 6, 2002 when advocacy groups successfully negotiated with Building Industry Association leaders. Advocates wanted builders to either build more affordable housing or pitch in a fee to the city’s Housing Trust Fund. They got what they wanted.

San Diego Museum Helped Fund Hoax News Release

“The San Diego Museum of Art said Thursday that it helped fund and facilitate an elaborate hoax by activist groups that earlier this week sent various media organizations fraudulent news releases that appeared to be from the U.S. attorney in San Diego,” reports North County Times.

Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group, claimed ultimate responsibility for the hoax, which included sending out two phony news releases made to look as if they had come from U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. The fake news releases announced that Duffy would be targeting pharmacies that had high rates of prescription drug abuse. It was an allusion to her ardent stance that most people accessing medical marijuana were abusing it.

Several news organizations, including the San Diego Reader and The L.A. Times, reported stories based on the phony news releases.

Duffy promptly appeared at a press conference, denied sending the letters and said authorities were investigating whether a crime was committed. Americans for Safe Access partnered with an activist group called The Yes Men to carry out what they called “a satirical work of art.”

“While the Museum may not always agree with the specific tactics by which the Yes Men, or the groups they have collaborated with, approach activism, we are glad to see that their energizing spirit has inspired greater activism here in San Diego,” read a statement from the museum.

Watching Newsies React to News

Using Storify, I curated some tweets from sign up and follow some of your favorite journalists if you’re interested in going deeper into the daily news. Make your first ‘follow’ @voiceofsandiego and you’ll be the first to know about all our new stories.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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