The San Diego Zoo speaks softly and carries a big gorilla. As by far the biggest player in Balboa Park, the zoo has lots of influence.

But, as our Kelly Bennett reports, “the zoo hasn’t been able to realize its plan to redo its parking setup and build a walking path connecting it with the rest of the park. The zoo dreams of what could be. Chiefly: How it could expand its exhibit space and have more parking.”

How’d it manage to not get what it wants? Bennett, who’s been explaining how the park got to be the way it is, tells the story and takes a look at what the future holds. Catch up on all her posts so far

National Media Descends on Poway

We’ve compiled a Reader’s Guide to bring you up to date on how the national media is covering the big brouhaha over the Poway school district’s very unusual and very risky scheme to borrow money now for construction projects and pay much more and much later.

NC Times Grapples with New Owner

Members of the North County Times news staff are reacting to the news of their takeover by U-T San Diego.

A couple of NCT staffers are providing gallows humor over Twitter. “Was thinking about jumping out the window, but seeing how I’m on the 1st floor & still on deadline, I’ll back away from the ledge,” tweeted reporter David Ogul.

Another NCT reporter, Brandon Lowrey, took aim at a comment from U-T publisher Doug Manchester about the importance of “positive” cheeleading — i.e., puffery — in news coverage: “Anyone know a good place to shop for pom-pons on a budget?”

Layoffs are expected at the NCT under the new regime. Lowrey reports that job interviews for the paper’s ad staff begin today and for the news staff on Monday. The interviews will last 15 minutes. “I would need at least 20 minutes,” Lowrey writes. “My cheerleading routine alone runs eight.” (I can hear the U-T/NCT cheer now: “Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? B-U-S-I-N-E-S-S!!”)

Meanwhile, local politics guru Erica Holloway wondered if the job interviews will go like this.

• In case you missed it, check out Manchester and NC Times Editor Kent Davy on KPBS’ Midday Edition after the sale was announced Tuesday. Both are worth a listen. Davy said Tuesday was not, in fact, the worst day of his life. 

• CityBeat is appalled, in particular, by the U-T’s bizarre Sunday editorial predicting a 2016 doomsday if the president is re-elected.

“It’s a hair-raising, spine-tingling tour into a practically apocalyptic future…,” CityBeat notes. “San Diego, you are the eighth largest city in the country. You’ve fought long and hard to be taken seriously. And this is your daily newspaper.”

Horn Retracts Grant Request for Ministry

County Supervisor Bill Horn has pulled a request for taxpayer funding for a Christian anti-abortion ministry after CityBeat and ACLU raised questions about it. Horn wanted the county to spend $10,000 on a mobile clinic to provide pregnancy-related services.

Horn has previously worked to give $129,000 in taxpayer grants to the organization, CityBeat reports. 

Quick News Hits

• The Chargers home opener on Sunday — in which the players will wear white pants and jerseys even though it’s after Labor Day (fashion police!) — may be blacked out to local television viewers, the U-T reports, even though the team has “aggressively” marketed the game.

• Panelists who asked the mayoral candidates about their plans to boost innovation weren’t impressed, CityBeat reports. Each “expressed varying degrees of disappointment… judging by the panelists’ thoughts, nothing of substance occurred on the way to this forum.”

• Have you smelled it? A sulfury rotten-egg smell has wafted over Southern California in recent days, the NY Times reports, but it’s not clear if it’s made its way to San Diego from its apparent source to the east in the ick-fest known as the Salton Sea.

If you’ve gotten a whiff of the odor — and you’re sure it’s not coming from a smelly neighbor — drop me a line.

• Arts maven Susan Myrland offers a perceptive response at the U-T to grumpy local poet Rae Armantrout’s bashing of San Diego’s “blankness”: “The inferiority complex is real. It’s classic Second-City Syndrome, and until we wrench San Diego out of the ground and move it someplace else — New Mexico, maybe? — it’ll continue to exist. It may be strongest in people who’ve been here a long time. They’ve lived through years of talent doing a ‘touch and go,’ using the city as a waypoint to bigger careers elsewhere.”

Well, just think about the bright side of moving out of town like these artists. You won’t have to pay taxes to build a new football stadium for the Chargers, but you will be able to watch all their home games on TV! It’s a win-win.

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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