It’s an expensive pain to get fresh water to our thirsty county, but there are zillions of gallons of salt water out there in the ocean just waiting to quench our thirst. The problem: It costs a lot of money to make it drinkable.

Is it worth it? In a column that appears on our site and in San Diego Magazine, our Scott Lewis ponders our water options, which also include conservation (are we willing to give up our greenery?) and water recycling.

Behind Those City Raises

Several city management types have received raises, even though there’s a pay freeze at City Hall. The city’s chief operating officer tells us that in one case, an employee’s raise is justified because his workload went up. But one labor union rep isn’t impressed by that argument.

Next ‘Meeting of the Minds’: Balboa Park

Our next “Meeting of the Minds” event will take you into the hidden world of Balboa Park thanks to six speakers who will illuminate topics you might not know about. Join us at the Natural History Museum on Wednesday, Nov. 28, and enjoy a beverage thanks to our friends at St. Petersburg Vodka and Karl Strauss Brewing.

A quick glimpse of the line-up:

Marlene Williams, who lives inside the park and is an expert on its trails

Marcos Espinosa, who makes the trek to the park from Tijuana each week to play in the San Diego Youth Symphony

“Ranger Kim” Duclo, a park celebrity who knows about every corner of the park

Jose Ysea from the city’s Environmental Services Department, who will shed insight on how the city monitors landfill emissions

Maren Dougherty, who spent 26 nights in the park last year

Ruth Hayward, who sculpted the statues in Founders Plaza

For more details, click here. RSVP here.

Meet Judge-Elect Kreep, the Right-Wing Firebrand

CityBeat takes an in-depth look at the past of conservative attorney and judge-elect Gary Kreep, whose election to a judgeship in June shocked the local legal establishment. Among other things, Kreep — “anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-illegal-immigrant, anti-affirmative-action” — has been a major force behind the efforts in court to question whether the president was born in the United States.

One of the most interesting quotes in the story comes from Kreep himself, who makes a questionable claim about how he was “bombarded with used condoms and pus and blood soaked cotton balls” and needed extensive police protection during meetings while serving on a city commission. That’s utter nonsense, say people who were there at the time.

Another quote from Kreep comes courtesy of a Catholic publication, which asked him about his early activism for conservative causes: “We learned from the left that every time there is a new issue, you set up a new front group with a new name; most people were not smart enough to realize that it was all the same people. We called ourselves by a variety of names at different times.”

San Diego County in Red, Blue and In-Between

The U-T has published a nifty map of how every precinct in the county voted for president, several other offices and Prop. 30 (the tax hike for schools).

President Obama found his highest levels of support — even up to the range of around 90 percent — in San Diego’s urban core, parts of the South Bay and at the UCSD campus.

Mitt Romney did especially well in Rancho Santa Fe, Coronado, and in much of East County, North County and rural areas.

Quick News Hits

• The faculty at the University of San Diego has overwhelmingly cast a no confidence vote in the school’s president, Mary Lyons, after she cancelled a speech by a theologian who supports same-sex marriage. (National Catholic Reporter)

• The San Dieguito High School District in coastal North County is on pins and needles about its $449 million measure to borrow money to pay for construction upgrades: As ballot counting continues, it’s almost, but not quite, at the point where it will pass.

Support for school bond measures — at least of five of 11 passed locally — might serve as an indication of whether a community stands by its local schools. If that’s the case, a big hurrah is due to the South Bay elementary school district: Its school bond passed with a whopping 74 percent in support. (NBC San Diego)   

• Some local artists are miffed by “another hero-worship mural” honoring Rev. Martin Luther King in southeastern San Diego, CityBeat reports: “artists who submitted alternative proposals for the site in 2004 see the mural as a regrettable result of an unfair and mistake-riddled process.”

• San Diego is tied for sixth on Travel & Leisure magazine’s survey of America’s favorite cities, the U-T reports.

But we rank No. 2 for weather and “attractive people” and No. 1 for “athletic/fit residents.”

Wow, that’s a lot of pressure. We need to get all our un-athletic residents to stay home on the couch so our reputation doesn’t get ruined. As a public service, I’ll start!

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 and follow him on Twitter:

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