Journalism won’t die if you donate. Support Voice of San Diego today!

When you’re running for mayor in a border city like San Diego, it helps to have some international cred. Witness Councilman Carl DeMaio, whose campaign proclaimed he had “ignited international goodwill” by being “the first mayoral candidate ever to visit Baja California during the election season.”

Is he really the first? Nope, finds San Diego Fact Check.

We didn’t have to back far into history to check this one out. DeMaio’s rival, Rep. Bob Filner, has been to Baja four times since last June.

A DeMaio spokesman defends the claim, saying the councilman was there as a candidate. That’s a distinction the campaign didn’t initially make. Regardless: Back in 1983, three major mayoral candidates went to Tijuana for a forum.

And last time we checked, Tijuana is in Baja California.

County in the Dark

One year ago yesterday, the lights went out. While some remember the candles, radios and fun neighborhood cookouts, the Great Blackout was no lark in some parts of the county.

How’d the whole thing happen? As KPBS puts it, “federal regulators say a lack of awareness by the utilities running their part of the grid and poor planning were to blame.” But an energy engineer tells KPBS that the feds haven’t explained why SDG&E didn’t create more power locally to make up for the loss of power from elsewhere.

SDG&E, by the way, tells KPBS that it’s going to deny $7 million in claims for things like lost food because the power outage wasn’t its fault.

Honoring a Legend of San Diego Journalism

The U-T’s Logan Jenkins paints an affectionate portrait of legendary local newsman Neil Morgan, the VOSD co-founder, who’s 88 and in frail condition.

Morgan’s North Carolina father, who picked up on the “vagueness of our community,” once asked him this about San Diego: “What is the purpose of this place? It seems too easy here.”

It’s a query Morgan spent the rest of his career trying to answer. As Jenkins writes: “The Old Man’s Question would shape Morgan’s career as the callow theater critic for the Daily Journal; as the region’s must-read dot-dot-dot city columnist; as writerly editor of the Evening Tribune; as author of, among other books, the seminal ‘Westward Tilt,’ a reporting tour de force that made him a national authority on the West; as prolific magazine writer for Esquire, National Geographic and many other publications; as essay-style Union-Tribune columnist for a dozen years; and, after he was summarily fired from his Copley-owned newspaper of 54 years, as co-founder of an online news outlet, Voice of San Diego.”

Here at VOSD, we’re deeply indebted to Morgan’s enthusiasm and guidance.

Poet in the Dark

Morgan’s father isn’t the only one to notice a certain lack of there here. But U-T columnist Matthew Hall thinks we are more than a blank slate, and he’s no fan of local poet Rae Armantrout’s “taketown” of San Diego in Newsweek. The “critique of San Diego lacks rhyme or reason,” says the headline on Hall’s latest column.

As you may recall, Armantrout, a Pulitzer Prize-winning native of our Allied Gardens neighborhood and current Normal Heights resident, bemoaned our inability to be San Francisco, among other things.

Hall asked the unapologetic Armantrout — who even found a bone to pick with our nifty mid-city neighborhood signs — what she thought about the negative reaction to her piece. She cared enough to note that she doesn’t care.

“This very sensitivity that apparently is showing up on Twitter is kind of a symptom of that inferiority complex,” she said, adding that in New York, “they’d go, ‘Look at you, you’re stupid.’ ”

I’m currently visiting NYC. That makes it even more appropriate for me to say this: She took the words right out of my mouth.

Judge Rules Against D.A. on Sentence Revision

A judge has ruled that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t do anything illegal when he reduced the sentence of a man who took part in the killing of a San Diego State student in 2008.

The man, Esteban Nuñez, is the son of a former speaker of the state Assembly and ally of Schwarzenegger.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who’s been trying to get the sentence reduction revoked, says she will appeal. (LA Times)

Quick News Hits

• Our real estate guru Rich Toscano finds that there’s still some mojo in the decline in housing inventory that predicted recent home price increases.

• State officials are investigating whether the San Diego school district jacked up salaries for administrators in order to “spike” their pensions. A district official says it appears to be a matter of missing paperwork.  (U-T)

• Several TV shows have been set in the San Diego area, most famously, “Simon & Simon,” but only a few were regularly filmed in town throughout their runs. None, sadly, became a huge hit.

“Veronica Mars” managed to only become a fave among the pop-culture intelligentsia, HBO’s “John from Cincinnati” flopped, and the thriller “Silk Stalkings” never set the ratings afire.

Then there was the little-watched 2010 cable show “Terriers,” whose camera crews haunted the streets of Ocean Beach. Now there’s word that it could return in the form of a TV movie, perhaps with the help of funding from the public. The show is apparently doing well on Netflix.

Well, I’m ready. Just let me know where they’re filming, and I’ll pop by with a helpful “Hi Mom!” sign.

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.