Don’t forget, tonight is our second “One Voice at a Time Event” featuring a conversation between Scott Lewis and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. It’ll be in the heart of the city’s politics: Downtown Johnny Browns, right next to City Hall. It starts at 6 p.m. See you there.

More than four decades ago, fans of Balboa Park were in a froth over a proposed new building. it would be Modernist — unlike the Spanish colonial design propped up for the 1915 Exposition — and critics claimed it would stick out like a sore thumb.

“Except that it wouldn’t be a sore thumb, it would be a beautiful thumb,” the city manager said at the time. And there were lots of reasons to like the building. Millions of them in fact: if the city didn’t act, philanthropists offering to pay for it would withdraw their gifts.

It’s the latest in Kelly Bennett’s series at the decisions that have made Balboa Park what it is. The park has had patrons, some who shaped it more than others. And it’s also been used for military training and turned into a huge trash dump

Next, she’s looking at how freeways changed it.

The Timken itself remains a free and delicious treat. For details about the Timken now, check my 2011 Q&A interview with its director, John Wilson, and his enjoyable explanation of what makes two of its masterpieces so special (including one of a 16th-century woman gloriously showing off her bling). 

Filner’s Fumble over Alleged Subpoena

Councilman Carl DeMaio is a big advocate of the successful Prop. B, the pension reform initiative. At a mayoral debate this week, he touted his support of the measure, saying he even attended a court hearing to show he’s in favor. Rep. Bob Filner, he noted, did not make an appearance.

Filner had a comeback: Well, of course DeMaio was there! According to Filner, DeMaio had been subpoenaed. Filner said it four times for good measure, once saying “I was never called to court, Carl. You were.”

But Filner’s claim isn’t true, San Diego Fact Check finds. DeMaio was not subpoenaed.

What Really Happened at Koigate

Justin Hudnall, a writer and head of a local non-profit arts organization, went to a flash-mob-style event last Saturday night. You know the one: a water-gun fight at Balboa Park, planned to happen at the fountain next to the space theater.

The fountain wasn’t working, so the crowd decamped to the lily pond. As Hudnall explains in a colorful eyewitness account in CityBeat, complete with photos and video, the participants were quite a varied bunch: “SDSU frat boys in camouflage, several Olympic swim team’s worth of statuesque gay men in Speedos, Filipino dudes from Mira Mesa formed into fire teams, a few Muslim girls in headscarves, one heavily accessorized Jack Sparrow look-alike, a small army of men and women dressed up for a casual Comic-Con and lots of ordinary people dressed ordinarily.”

When the event was finally over and people began leaving, a police helicopter flew overhead, apparently en route elsewhere. It circled back: as Hudnall writes, “if a helicopter can look surprised, this one did.”

Meanwhile, Councilman Tony Young, who represents a part of San Diego that’s prone to gang violence, put the whole flap over the damage to the park in perspective on Twitter: “My constituents are more concerned about the real gun fights that are going on throughout San Diego. Not water pistol fights.”

• CBS8 interviewed one of the organizers of the infamous water gun fight. He seems truly contrite. He tried to explain the motivation for the gathering: “I’m in the recovery community so I’m always looking to build and develop safe, clean sober fun so people don’t have to go to bars and nightclubs … bringing a sense of what it was like when we were kids,” Matthew Hardick told the station.

Tri-City Mess Continued

 As we told you last year, the board that runs North County’s Tri-City Medical Center has gained a reputation as the most dysfunctional group of public officials in the county.

One board member, Kathleen Sterling, has so vexed her colleagues on the board that they’ve banned her from attending board meetings in person (she has to take part by teleconference). For a while, she couldn’t legally set foot in the hospital — the one she helps run, mind you — unless she needed emergency care.

As the NC Times puts it, “the hospital board has also voted to keep Sterling out of closed session meetings and has stripped her legal indemnity and her board stipend. In repeatedly censuring Sterling, the board members have accused the director of being combative and of leaking confidential information, charges which Sterling has denied.”

On the other hand, she’s won some legal battles.  

Now, Sterling, who’s long been a target of venomous wrath by some of her colleagues on the board, says she won’t run for office again this fall, the NC Times reports.  

She blames the board and hospital bosses for placing “arduous conditions” on her: “I’ve been badgered, threatened, harassed, intimidated and insulted.”

Quick News Hits

• A press pass may sound like it belongs in the past along with clanking typewriters, fedoras with press cards in them, and Humphrey Bogart yelling “that’s the press, baby! The press. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Nothing!”

But the San Diego Police Department still issues press passes, which allow reporters to get past some police lines and attend certain press events. Now, a news agency that employs a freelance video journalist is suing the department, saying its press-pass policy violates the Constitution, the NC Times reports.

The cops won’t give a press pass to the journalist, who has a reputation as being a pain in the neck. This may not be an easy case for a judge to resolve: As the story explains, the legal status of the press passes seems to be a bit murky.

No word on whether the videographer has tried to put on his best Bogie impression and ask for a “press pass, baby! A press pass!” It’s worth a shot. Or a citation.

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

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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