Countdown to Politifest

There’ll be something for just about everyone at Politifest this Saturday at Liberty Station.

While we created the event so people could learn more about our city, we also set out to throw a fun party.

Here’s why kids will have a blast:

• Live Penguin from Sea World

• Curious George from KPBS

• The New Children’s Museum’s interactive art wall

• Mini-voting booths

• Good citizen scavenger hunt with prize

• Face painting

• Inflatable boxing ring

• Caterpillar tunnel

Tomorrow, we’ll tell you what the wonks will enjoy.

The Mayoral Rivals on the Port

It can be easy to forget that San Diego has a port. It’s not as crucial a part of our lives as places like Long Beach, New Orleans or Houston. Still, the port has the potential to become bigger and more important to our economy.

Just how big? Not as much as the campaign trail rhetoric might suggest.

The mayoral candidates have ideas about its future. But they have more to weigh than just the jobs it could create. Our reporter Liam Dillon has the details in a new story.

“Mayoral candidate Bob Filner wants people to imagine crossing the bridge and turning left, away from the Convention Center,” Dillon writes.”That’s toward San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, where cranes, trucks and ships deliver bananas, cement and lumber. Much more than a waterfront tourism nirvana, Filner envisions a jobs mecca.”

His opponent, Councilman Carl DeMaio, isn’t as big on touting the port’s future, but he has thoughts of his own about its expansion and the role the city — whose leadership helps run the port — should play in it.

VOSD Journalist Bids Farewell with a Request

Our longtime reporter Rob Davis, who’s leaving us Oct. 5, offers a retrospective about his time at Voice of San Diego and the big stories he’s managed to break. He also has a challenge for you, our extremely intelligent and did-we-mention-very-good-looking readers: “I’ll work for free my last week here and donate every cent of my last week’s salary to VOSD, the institution that I’ve been proud to call home since 2006.”

There’s just one condition: $10,000 in donations before his last day. If the money comes in, Davis will write a check to VOSD. Click here to give.

Arts Report: Flaming Lips, No More Da Vinci

Our weekly Arts Report has some bad news for Renaissance art lovers. Controversy has put an end to a UC San Diego team’s effort to find a missing da Vinci mural behind a painting in Florence, Italy.

The project’s manager, Alexandra Hubenko, spoke at our Meeting of the Minds arts and culture event in August. You can watch a video here.

The Arts Report doesn’t stop there. If you want a roundup of the fall’s must-see (or must-hear) events, be sure to check it out.

Top of the Pops: Best Park Places

We asked several people who are vital to Balboa Park about their favorite places in our city’s crown jewel. The resulting compilation was our most popular story of the week.

Speaking of the park, I dropped by the other day, and the replacement vegetation at the south end of the lily pond — which got thrashed during the recent water-gun fight — looks better then ever. Might the much-publicized harm to the pond area have inadvertently made it look better than ever?

Other big hits in our Top 10 Most Popular list include stories about the city’s budget woes, a councilman’s mystery Chargers task force, and more oddness in the Poway school district’s borrowing scheme.  

Mayor Makes an Endorsement

Here’s a quote from Mayor Jerry Sanders back in May, about Councilman Carl DeMaio: “He probably takes credit for my weight loss. Probably takes credit for the weeds I pulled in the yard last week. It’s all bull—-. So let me be very clear … He’s never voted for a budget. Didn’t vote for retiree health care savings. Didn’t vote for any of those things because it might have muddied up his political calculations for mayor.”

And here’s a quote from Mayor Jerry Sanders yesterday during his endorsement of DeMaio: “Only one candidate has demonstrated the detailed knowledge of our city that will be required from his first day on the job. And only one candidate has the focus and the energy that will sustain him through difficult times. That candidate is Carl DeMaio.”

Thanks to the U-T for those quotes. Also, in VOSD letters, George Mullen, a local artist and writer, makes an extensive case for why DeMaio deserves to be elected mayor.

Quick News Hits

• San Diego’s City Council cleared the way for city hoteliers to vote in secret on whether they want to extend a two-cent hotel room tax another 40 years. The $1.2 billion that would generate will fund tourism promotions. Our Liam Dillon has looked at the issues raised by holding a secret vote.

• Ladies and gentlemen, it looks like we have a congressional race worth talking about for once. Three of our districts are Republican strongholds, and two like to go Democratic, and that’s just the way it is.

Until, that is, the boundaries were changed after the latest census. Now, Rep. Brian Bilbray of the GOP has a strong challenger in former Councilman Scott Peters, a Democrat.

How much of a fight is it? The San Francisco Chronicle names the 52th district race as one of the 10 most competitive House races in the country. That means you’ll keep seeing lots of commercials for both sides.

• Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a “round, black object that was moving against the wind from north to south towards the San Diego Airport”!

That’s the report of a witness who claims to have spotted a UFO on Saturday afternoon from his or her perch in Mission Hills. has the story: “The black color did not reflect or shimmer; but maybe it was rotating. I did not see it rotate, but there was a rhythmic change from solid black to something other than black. It would be solid black most of the time, and then a reflective shimmer for a short time.”

My theory: Aliens. And they absconded with the mayor’s previous opinions about Carl DeMaio.

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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