Doug Manchester is clearly trying to bring some class to U-T San Diego’s 1970s-era Mission Valley building. He’s added a restaurant, signed prints by the likes of Picasso and Chagall, and a showcase of classic cars in excellent condition known as the “U-T Auto Museum.”

But does he have the proper permits to change office space into an “auto museum?” The city is looking into whether its recent construction violates municipal building regulations.

A city code inspector dropped by the U-T the other day to check out the car museum. The U-T told the inspector to get lost. When I asked the newspaper’s CEO about all this yesterday, he told me to “get a life.”

A city spokeswoman said there’s no sign yet that it has the appropriate building permit. The paper could face a fine of up to $250,000.

VOSD Special Report Strikes a Nerve

Yesterday our Will Carless broke the story of Poway Unified School District’s  plan to pay $1 billion to borrow $105 million. That’s a high enough rate to make a loan shark develop a conscience.

The story resonated, getting picked up across the country. Carless this morning recorded a spot for the public radio show Marketplace. We also put together a simple video story with our partners at NBC 7 San Diego.

And Carless is scheduled to appear on CNBC at 11:45 a.m. today to talk about the story. 

Watch our site today for a look at other school districts that have used this kind of financing to avoid raising taxes.

Museum of Art Gets a VOSD Rave … or Does It?

VOSD Radio analyzes the new Bob Filner. He’s promised to project a different personality if elected the city’s top leader, signed on Jerry Sanders and Nathan Fletcher’s political consultant and already changed his tune on a couple of hot-button issues.

Hosts Andrew Donohue and Scott Lewis also give a Hero of the Week award to the San Diego Museum of Art for owning up to its role in the elaborate U.S. attorney hoax. But wait! The award might be revoked because the museum’s backing away from its owning up of that role.

• Filner last week also formally offered former rival Fletcher a job. And Filner’s new consultant, Tom Shepard, courted Fletcher supports by giving the impression that a vote for Filner would be a vote for Fletcher.

So where does Fletcher stand on all this? He sent an email to supporters saying he isn’t ready to endorse yet.

Letter: Big Need for Housing

In a letter, Murtaza Baxamusa says that 10 years after the city of San Diego declared an affordable housing crisis, the emergency is still here.

Where to Find the Poor People

We’ve put together a map showing the areas of the city and the surrounding region where the most and fewest percentages of households make less than $30,000 a year. You can spot the Interstate 8 dividing line and the distinctions even within smaller neighborhoods.

Also of note: Chula Vista, where poorer people tend to live in the older parts of the city near the bay and the richer are to the east in Eastlake. Chula Vista doesn’t follow the pattern of wealthier people living by the water. But then again, it doesn’t have a beach on the ocean.  

Watching the Police Stats

San Diego Fact Check TV takes a look at the flaws in the crime stats the police chief cited in his warning that crime will rise and that his department needs more resources. 

Quick News Hits

• Our look at how the military took over Balboa Park during the world wars is on top of our list of the most popular stories of the week, followed by an exploration of proposed taxes on hotel guests.

• Mitt Romney and his wife Ann asked the county to reduce the tax bill for their La Jolla home because their home lost value, the LA Times reports. They’ve saved about $109,000 over four years.

The Romneys initially wanted to reduce the assessed value of the home from $12.24 million to $6.8 million, “maintaining that their home had lost about 45% of its value in the first seven months they owned it.” But they later made another request saying the value had fallen to only $8.9 million.

• More South Bay schools shenanigans: “The superintendent of San Ysidro schools said in a June 20 deposition that he accepted $2,500 in cash from a contractor in 2010,” NBC San Diego reports. It was supposed to be for a board member’s campaign, said the superintendent, Manuel Paul; the contractor said he was hoping for a construction contract.

No such campaign donation has been publicly reported.  

• A company that installs electric car charging stations says it’s way behind schedule in San Diego County because businesses don’t want to give up parking spaces. (KPBS)

• A U-T reader did more than just watch as an on-duty Coronado lifeguard chatted up two women in bikinis for almost two hours. The observer became “increasingly agitated,” snapped photos and sent them to the paper. Now, the city is investigating.

The lifeguard defends his actions, saying he was keeping an eye on the water. A lifeguard captain puts it this way: “it’s not uncommon for lifeguards to talk to beachgoers as public relations.”

But, the captain says, a chat shouldn’t take much longer than 3-5 minutes. In other words, keep it to an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny conversation, lifeguards. Or you may find yourself with a lot more spare time to impress the ladies.

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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