In September, Kelly Bennett wrote about how, despite its heft in the politics of Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo had not made any progress with its vision for more parking and a path connecting it to the rest of the park. 

That may be changing, the U-T reports. San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park Conservancy are talking about reviving the zoo’s plan to add more than 4,000 parking spaces.

Bennett puts the latest news into perspective. For one thing, the plan is certain to reignite the debate over whether visitors should pay to park.

Pros and Cons on Prop. 32

Ads for and against Proposition 32 are filling airwaves across the state. The LA Times reported proponents and opponents have spent more than $90 million and counting.


Cut away all the slogans and messaging and at the heart of the proposition is a provision that would ban unions from using payroll deductions to raise money for political spending. Unions would have to get written permission from members to collect and use their money for politics. 

We wanted to grasp the local impact of this. So we asked a group opposed and a group for the measure to weigh in.

Jim Groth, a Chula Vista teacher and member of the Board of Directors of the California Teachers Association, writes in opposition: “If our teachers, firefighters, police and nurses can no longer fight for more school and public safety resources, or hospital patient protections, the middle class and our communities will pay the price.”

On the other side, T.J. Zane, president & CEO of The Lincoln Club of San Diego County, supports the proposition, saying it “would help block the flow of money that government employee unions, corporations and special interest lobbyists use to control politicians.”

Recycling Attacks in Mayor’s Race

San Diego mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio says he’s a fiscal conservative. That certainly applies to his willingness to pay for stock photos of empty chairs,” writes our Liam Dillon. He’s talking about DeMaio’s not-so-fresh campaign flier attack on Filner’s attendance record.

Infrastructure Drumroll

Andrew Poat, who along with the Chamber of Commerce is pushing a citywide infrastructure investment plan, seized on our recent story about City Heights leaders being unable to get a park for which they secured political support. Scott Lewis wrote about Poat’s quest recently. 

Older communities have no reasonable chance of meeting park standards if we put all of the cost on new development,” Poat writes.

Fact Check TV: Shortest School Year?

Fact Check TV examines a campaign claim that San Diego schools will have the shortest school year in the world if the tax-hike of Prop. 30 fails.  

RIP North County Times

The print edition of the North County Times vanished with no fanfare yesterday, replaced by a North County edition of U-T San Diego.

The U-T’s Logan Jenkins takes a look back at the history of newspapering in San Diego, going all the way to the 1850s when a pro-slavery paper tried to make a go of it. (The few people who lived here were actually quite in favor of slavery back then.)

The San Diego Union came along in 1868, run by a guy who declared that the paper would maintain “a wise and masterly silence” on political matters.

Well, we all know how that vision turned out.

Newspaper journalism flourished over the years, especially in the city and North County: Two “first-class papers” served the city as early as 1899. A young scribe who covered the waterfront wrote a bestselling non-fiction book — still in print — that inspired a movie and jazz standard. And a whippersnapper reporter for one now-defunct paper was the first reporter west of the Mississippi to win a Pulitzer — and it turned out his story was bunk. Check my 2009 article for comments from his descendants, who don’t dispute this.

The U-T Reports on the U-T

News organizations are notoriously terrible at covering themselves. 

The U-T’s Craig Gustafson, stuck in an uncomfortable position, does a pretty good job of reporting on how his boss, publisher Doug Manchester has become a punching bag in the mayor’s race.

Rep. Bob Filner has tried to link Manchester to Councilman Carl DeMaio, who’s had to distance himself a bit from the publisher. Manchester tells his reporter that he doesn’t just oppose Filner on a political level: “I think that Bob Filner is a bad congressman and he’s a bad guy.”

There was a bit of news: The story says Manchester thought about endorsing both DeMaio and rival Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher in the June primary, but turned against Fletcher when he wouldn’t say no to union contributions.

Quick News Hits

• A new wrinkle in the mayor’s race: Coin-tossgate! (U-T)

• It’s not very often that you’ll hear of a news organization that turns down advertising that isn’t inappropriate for some reason. Well, meet the gay news site It’s owned by DeMaio’s partner and won’t accept ads for rival Filner, CityBeat reports. Why? Because Filner made a false accusation.

• San Diego officials have detained the daughter of one of the most sought-after drug lords in Mexico. 

A Life Aquatic

There’s a brouhaha brewing (brouh-ing?) between state Assembly candidates in the Oceanside area, where two Republicans are running against each other. (Election rules now allow the top two primary vote-getters to face each other in November.)

One candidate is slamming the other over Oceanside city pensions for certain employees, the Sacramento Bee reports: “an employee with 20 years of service making $60,000 annually receives a $36,000 pension.”

So who are these workers? You and I might call them “lifeguards.” Oceanside, snootily, prefers “aquatic specialist.”

No word on whether the city will change its name to Wateradjacent.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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