There’s been plenty of hubbub about Balboa Park lately, but everyone seems to agree that it’s one fine place to be. We asked a few major players to name their favorite spots (or times) and say what improvement project they want to see next. We asked for details about how they’d pay for it, too.

Not all the answers are what you’d expect.

Now we want to hear from you. Where’s your favorite spot in the park? And what do you want to fix?

Post a comment on our story.

She’s Terrible! Oh Wait, She’s Great!

When a man named Dennis Ridz was running for a seat on the City Council a few months ago, he was no fan of the incumbent. But what a difference losing can make. Now, he thinks Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who’s in what looks to be a fight for her job, is the bee’s knees.

Another opponent who lost in the June primary is also standing behind Lightner, who’s the firewall for Democrats on the City Council. If she loses the race for her district, which covers La Jolla and some surrounding areas, Republicans will control the council. (This is the only council race on the ballot.)

Our story provides an update on the race and background for readers who want to understand the issues and figure out whom deserves their support at the ballot box.  

• We know that politicians have to deal with a lot of, um, fertilizer. But it doesn’t to come up as an actual issue very often outside of sewage disposal. That is, unless you’re a councilwoman representing La Jolla.

Does the Jewel City produce more than its share of manure? On advice of counsel (my editor), I shall decline to comment. But it is fair to say that it smells pretty gnarly around the cove. And residents want action.

Lightner, according to the La Jolla Light, devoted time at recent community meeting to discussing the odor, which is “caused by a buildup of bird guano and marine mammal excrement on the bluff.”

So there’s that.

Higher Chances for Bolting Bolts

L.A. Times sportswriter T.J. Simers says he has an “experienced hunch“: “the NFL’s version of two plus two equals the return of the Chargers to Los Angeles next March in partnership with the new owner of AEG.”

As we told you yesterday, news came this week that the owner of the entertainment group AEG is selling his company. That potentially creates an opening for the Chargers to move to the L.A. football stadium that AEG wants to build.

The current AEG owner, Philip Anschutz, “has never really had an interest in football here. Or spending much time here,” Simers writes. “His contentious discussions with owner Dean Spanos to bring the Chargers to Los Angeles have become a major hindrance in making good on plans to build a stadium downtown. And the NFL is ready to return to Los Angeles whether we care or not.”

Au contraire, says the U-T’s Nick Canepa, who doubts the Chargers are heading north.

DeMaio and the Medical Marijuana Mystery

Councilman Carl DeMaio had this to say about the city’s disastrous efforts to control the sales of pot for medical purposes: “I have been working with the medical-marijuana community on a targeted, strict ordinance that would allow us to permit certain delivery services and dispensaries in the city of San Diego, a limited number with audits and effective enforcement and oversight.”

CityBeat launched a fact check to find out who’s been talking to him. It had a mighty hard time finding anyone. The paper could only find one person — a landlord of medi-pot dispensaries — who’s talked to the councilman about the issue.

Voting Dilemma for SD Gays

• The U-T explores the conundrum facing San Diego’s gay community: Do they support DeMaio, who’s gay and Republican? He’d be only the second openly gay elected mayor of a Top 10 American city. (The other is Houston, which currently has a lesbian mayor.)

Or do they go with the Democrat, Bob Filner, who has a mostly gay-friendly record and whose liberal philosophies fit better with those of many gay people?

The story examines accusations that Filner has engaged in “gay baiting” — Filner denies it — and includes comments from both candidates. It also mentions the extensive but mostly failed efforts of DeMaio opponents to focus media attention on the past of his partner, Johnathan Hale.

For his part, Hale fillets his partner’s rival with this statement: “This election is about his vision and leadership, not me or Congressman Filner’s ex-wives or girlfriends.”

Quick News Hits

• Next Sunday’s Chargers home game might be blacked out, the U-T reports. It says the cost for a family of four to attend a Bolts game is $466.20, according to one calculation, more than all but six other NFL teams.

• Boosters say the new downtown library is set to open next July, on schedule and within budget, the U-T reports.  

Councilman: Not So Fast, U-T

In an editorial this week about human trafficking, the U-T wrote this: “Drive along El Cajon Boulevard in San Diego some night and you will likely see… Young prostitutes, some reportedly not yet in their teens, working the street.”

This claim is exaggerated. I travel the boulevard frequently in search of late-night dining, and prostitutes are rarely in evidence.

I asked Councilman Todd Gloria for comment via Twitter. His response: “Oversimplification based on old stereotypes. It persists but community, SDPD & tech have reduced #s, shifted elsewhere & online.”   

In 2009, our Keegan Kyle examined the boulevard’s history, provided arrest statistics and examined why it developed its unsavory reputation. And I looked back even further in history in an exploration of downtown’s bustling red-light district (now the Gaslamp Quarter) and the 1912 crackdown that spawned this classic headline: “138 Are Arrested in Stingaree Raid/136 Promise to Leave City; Two Agree to Reform.”

Said one of the ladies of the evening: “I would like to be good again, but the world won’t let me. It must keep me as I am.”  

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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