In some parts of the political world, working with people on the other side of the aisle is a quick ticket to accusations of not keeping the fatih.

But in the San Diego mayor’s race, both candidates are burnishing their reputations as uniters and get-things-done-ers. Councilman Carl DeMaio, for instance, has repeatedly touted his ability to draw bipartisan voters to support his positions.

San Diego Fact Check tried to examine his claim but couldn’t reach a verdict. It’s not a case of a hung jury, though. “Some of his boldest claims can’t be proven, meaning we have to take DeMaio at his word,” our Keegan Kyle writes.

Earlier in the week, we gave Congressman Bob Filner our worst rating in a Fact Check for his claim about bipartisan acumen.

Arts Report: How Institutions Make It in Tough Times

This week’s edition of the Arts Report provides links to stories about the reactions of a local arts institutions to financial challenges, the labor and vision troubles at a local orchestra and a resurrected Andy Warhol surf movie filmed in La Jolla. Joe Dallesandro, a Warhol favorite who often appeared sans clothing in his films, is among the stars. There’s no word on what he wears in the movie.

Tap to Wastewater to Tap on Track

Remember when the city made a huge deal out of its plant to turn sewage into drinking water but no one was allowed to actually drink a the stuff at a press conference because it might be dangerous? Awkward! Well, now there’s good news on the water-safety front: as the U-T reports, “new data show that San Diego’s pilot plant designed to turn wastewater into drinking water is on track to generate safe supplies.”

More testing is needed, however. For background, check our explainer from earlier this year about what the city is up to.

Blockbuster Sports Transaction on Horizon

The LA Times says reclusive billionaire Philip Anschutz is selling his gigantic company, Anschutz Entertainment Group.

The public radio program Marketplace thinks it has the scoop on who might buy it.

The company, known as AEG, is pushing a plan to build a new football stadium in conjunction with an expanded Los Angeles convention center. AEG also owns the Staples Center, the Los Angeles Kings, a big part of Major League Soccer and extremely valuable properties across the world in the sports business. It also manages venues and much more.

A consultant in the LA Times says AEG’s sale may be the biggest transaction in sports history.

Tim Leiweke, the CEO of the company, says he’ll likely be part of the company no matter who buys it. And that would indicate AEG is continuing with its stadium push in LA.

AEG manages marketing of the San Diego Chargers in LA and it represents one of the greatest lure to the team as it decides whether to move if team owner Dean Spanos can’t get a new stadium in San Diego. But relations between Leiweke and the Chargers have not been good.

AEG wants to build the stadium in LA on its own dime. But in exchange, the company wants to own a big chunk of the football team that would play there. This is not attractive to the Chargers, apparently, though the value of the team would skyrocket were it to move.

Letters: Fixing Roads, Seals, Goodbye to U-T

Mark Giffin of Clairemont supports infrastructure: “Fixing our roads, sewer and water systems benefits all of us rather than the vision things that only benefit a select group.”

Jill Marsal of San Diego supports a year-round rope to protect seals at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool, and David Steel, CEO of the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce, supports Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs “that can kickstart the economy through clean energy upgrades.”

Also in letters, Bill Brittingham of Kensington wonders if he’s “the only one who finds it strange that San Diego may soon elect a gay mayor virtually no gays and lesbians vote for.” And Brian Lepis of Clairemont says he’s cancelled the U-T after 20 years: “it wasn’t easy with the phone line locked up.

Lepis thinks VOSD and the L.A. Times should collaborate in a local print edition.

Meanwhile, a Facebook page sprung up yesterday with this mission: “Bring the L.A. Times back to San Diego.”

The paper had a San Diego County edition in the 1980s and early 1990s, staffed by a handful of energetic and aggressive journalists who gave the Union and Evening Tribune a run for their money. My favorite of their many exclusives was a 1991 story exposing the identity of San Diego’s top private water-user during a drought: it was the publisher of the U and T herself, Helen Copley, who had 9.2 acres to take care of and 10 full-time gardeners on staff.

The Elephant and the Deadly Germ

A conference of infectious disease specialists in San Francisco last week featured discussion of a baby elephant who died at the Wild Animal Park in 2008. What does that have to do with humans? Plenty.

As I learned in a 2010 interview with Maryn McKenna, author of a book called “Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA,” human handlers taking care of the ailing elephant had inadvertently infected her with a staph infection known as methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus. This had never been observed before.

“It makes sense that dogs and cats might get it from us,” McKenna said, “but that an elephant could get it from us — it’s so at the end of the curve, that in a small scale way it’s shocking and shows how inventive and adaptive this bug is and what a foe it is.”

San Diego makes other appearances in the book, which tracks the rise of MRSA, a tremendously dangerous and difficult-to-treat germ. In the early days of its spread a few year ago, two young boys were infected and landed at our Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, where physicians desperately tried to save their lives.

Quick News Hits

• A new study suggests that the county is home to 14,382 houses, worth $3.4 billion, that are at high risk of burning in a wildfire, the North County Times reports. A previous estimate put the number of homes at just 665.

The study authors didn’t release a list of individual homes, but the NCT did highlight local zip codes by perceived fire risk. The map spotlights areas you might not expect to be at higher risk.

One area that’s not a danger zone: Normal Heights, site of the devastating 1985 wildfire (which I watched from the stadium while attending a Padres game).  

• A security firm is holding a disaster drill at a Mission Bay hotel next month, the Military Times reports, and it will feature an unusual but much-dreaded scenario: a zombie apocalypse.

The newspaper says “the idea is to challenge authorities as they respond to extreme medical situations where people become crazed and violent, creating widespread fear and disorder.”

Hmm. People walking around in a stupor while grunting a lot and looking pale? They should hold the drill in the Gaslamp Quarter on a Saturday night and see if anyone notices.  

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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