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The Lily Pond in Balboa Park Is a Big Deal: All hell broke loose this week. And that was after a water gun fight got out of hand at Balboa Park, resulting in an estimated $10,000 in damage. One of the fight’s participants told a colorful tale showing how a handful of people can make a big gathering go bad. (SD CityBeat) The Mayor’s Office got indignant, promising to find those responsible and hold them accountable. Meanwhile, U-T San Diego columnist Matt Hall wondered where the cops where.

Mayoral candidate Bob Filner seemed to take the most umbrage: “People were in tears, this is not just a crime, this was an assault on property, this was an assault on people’s souls,” he said.

In the end, though, Council President Tony Young tried to put it in perspective: “My constituents are more concerned about the real gun fights that are going on throughout San Diego. Not water pistol fights.”

Bob Filner’s All Wet: No, he wasn’t at the water gun fight. But he’s probably the reason we’re still talking about it. Filner veered the mayoral race way off course by falsely accusing opponent Carl DeMaio’s partner of organizing the event and “criminal actions.”

That spurred a heated exchange between Filner and a DeMaio surrogate that ended with said surrogate calling the congressman “a lying sack of marbles.” Not sure what that means, exactly, but it’s got a nice ring to it.

Filner also falsely said Carl DeMaio had attended a pension court hearing because he’d been subpoenaed.

San Diego Really Wanted a Public Market: The duo trying to bring a public market to San Diego met their ambitious fundraising goal on Kickstarter this week, easily raising more than their $92,000 goal in just nine days. They’re now well above $100,000 and still have five days to go. Organizers Catt Waite and Dale Steele hope to create a local food market, similar to Pike Place in Seattle or La Boqueria in Barcelona, in an old industrial warehouse in Barrio Logan.

They talked about their plans on KPBS this week. And we talked about the market as one of a number of simple, or not-fully-formed, ideas to make San Diego better on VOSD Radio.

There’s a Solution to Help Build Housing and Infrastructure: Here’s Scott Lewis’ formula: Ask residents what they want and then pay for those improvements. Update community plans and, in exchange, get residents to sign off on more density in their neighborhoods. The result: less expensive housing, infrastructure improvements and maybe even a Chargers stadium.

Balboa Park’s Had to Navigate Philanthropy Before: The story sounds familiar. The City Council worried that it would lose a major donation if it didn’t act quickly and move forward with philanthropists’ project.

Back in the 1960s, the city originally turned down the philanthropists (including the heirs to an Ohio ball-bearing fortune) amid public outcry, only to reconsider.

The result: The Timken Museum, a decidedly modern building that took the place of some of the original Spanish-style buildings from the 1915 exposition that put the park on the map.

“The Timken example offers an interesting look at how the city has navigated philanthropy in the park in the past,” Kelly Bennett writes with an eye to the current controversy over the Balboa Park remodel.

Also, did you know there’s a dump in the park? No, seriously. It’s there, right in Balboa Park. An honest-to-goodness garbage dump. Bennett continued her exploration of the controversies and incursions with an explanation of how it happened (rather quietly, it appears), how it’s managed today (quite carefully) and the hopes for the future (an $87 million reclamation project).


Balboa Park Got You Talking

Whether it was the water gun fight, Filner’s accusations or Bennett’s stroll down memory lane, Balboa Park had readers talking this week. Check out the best of the comments and jump into the conversation with Dagny Salas’ weekly rundown.

Salas also has our weekly roundup of City Heights news from the Speak City Heights media collective.

Former Union Leader Says He’s Innocent

Former Border Patrol union leader T.J. Bonner said today he’s innocent of fraud charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, says U-T San Diego. In fact, he says he saved his union and taxpayers thousands and sought reimbursement for only a fraction of what he was owed.

“I am completely innocent,” Bonner’s statement says. “The charges are groundless. They have been trumped up by a politically bankrupt bureaucracy that has failed to execute its statutory mission.”

Federal prosecutors said he’s improperly used union money to visit a mistress in Chicago and attend sporting events.

Key to the City for Sale

Actor Tony Curtis’ key to the city of San Diego, given to him in 1984 by Mayor Roger Hedgecock, is on sale on eBay for $9,600, reports SD CityBeat. Seven of the actor’s keys are up for grabs. Judging from the asking price, our city’s fair key is in the moderate price range — less valuable than those of Las Vegas and Los Angeles, but more attractive than those of Acapulco and Naperville, Ill.

Number of the Week, I

$800 million.

— The approximate sale price of the Padres to a new ownership group.

Number of the Week, II

$80 million.

— Amount former owner John Moores paid for 80 percent of the team in the mid-90s.

Quote of the Week, I

“There is a furor in California because the Poway Unified School District, in San Diego County, borrowed money last year on terms that even Countrywide would have laughed at during the boom.”

— New York Times financial writer Floyd Norris.

Quote of the Week, II

“It’s one way to show the voters how you care.”

Matthew Donnellan, spokesman for City Council candidate Ray Ellis, explaining Ellis lending himself $70,000 for his council race.

I’m the editor of VOSD. You can reach me at or 619.325.0526. Follow me on Twitter: @AndrewDonohue.

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