Don’t forget to join us tonight for the latest installment of our “Meeting of the Minds” series. These are lively events designed to connect you with stimulating happenings and stories you might have missed about the cultural side of San Diego.

This time, we’re focusing on Balboa Park with six speakers illuminating sides of Balboa Park you might not otherwise have a chance to see.

We’ll see you at 7 p.m. at the atrium at the San Diego Natural History Museum. For more details, including background about the speakers and pricing for non-members, click here.

A Six-Month Cash Dash

Political candidates can’t take money directly from donors and put it in their bank accounts. Except when they can.

There’s an exception to the rules, as our Scott Lewis explains, and it’s now in play. A winning City Council candidate is one of those who’s taking advantage of the loophole to retire some debts. (No, the debts aren’t going to move to Florida and play golf.)  

• In other politics news, the fiancee of Mayor-elect Bob Filner tells LGBT Weekly that she’ll form an advisory group to help her figure out how to be “a most visible and active first lady for San Diego … I hope to put the spotlight on military families left behind, children’s causes and the homeless.”

U-T Goes on ‘Poop’ Patrol

We’ve got a round-up of local and national coverage of the odorific stench at La Jolla Cove. Read our recent story for details about the smell and the red-tape challenges facing those who want to do something about it.

The U-T’s editorial page, meanwhile, calls for something to be done now. It’s not impressed by the limitations set by laws designed to protect the environment: “For this to be interpreted as the Coastal Poop Protection Act is preposterous. The buildup of feces isn’t some saintly natural process that must be allowed to run its course lest there be some terrible consequence down the line.”

Broken Pipe Spotlights Balboa Park’s Problems

A broken water pipe caused damage at the Casa del Balboa building, which houses several museums, the Reader reports.

As our Kelly Bennett notes, the preservation of the park’s buildings, pipes, sidewalks and roads are a hot topic as a centennial approaches in 2015. “It’s never sexy to talk about the foundations and the water and the sewer,” 2015 celebration co-chair Ben Clay told us. “But you know, after 100 years, we have to talk about it.

Let’s hope the sewage pipes from Balboa Park don’t go directly to La Jolla Cove. Talk about awkward!

Letters: Water Debate, Embarrassing Roads

In a round-up of letters, we hear from readers who are embarrassed by our messy freeways and streets and skeptical of a claim from the county water people. Another reader is upset that there’s not a bigger focus on conservation during all the water debate, especially considering that — in his opinion — regular showering is bad for you.  

Culture Report: Wintry Performances, a Wondrous Collection

The Culture Report, our weekly round-up of all things arty and, um, cultural-y, has links to a variety of stories on topics from local winter arts performances to an artist who has a collection of wonders — “animal skeletons, seashells, eyeballs, seed pods, screws, bolts, gears and pink plastic fetuses.”

Or as I like to call it, just another Saturday night.

Ferreting Out a Position

“Brian has not ever met a ferret,” said a spokesman for former San Diego Councilman and Assemblyman-elect Brian Maienschein.

Let me explain.

Pat Wright, the San Diego-based founder of LegalizeFerrets.org, reported to supporters that while there don’t seem to be any ferret-friendly legislators, Maienschein did meet a woman and her ferrets, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Au contraire, the spokesman said: “Brian has not ever met a ferret, and he will not be sponsoring legislation to legalize ferret ownership.”

• Back in 2000, I reported on how Wright threatened a cop who came to the door of his house to confiscate his illegal ferret. When the case against him reached trial, the judge offered him a deal but Wright dramatically declared, “I choose jail!”

The Los Angeles Times followed up with him later, learning that Prisoner 00109469 had a scary moment when prisoners talked about what they were in for.

Burglary. Drunken driving. Drugs. And … owning a ferret.

“One of the other inmates took offense at this remark, accusing (him) of making a bad joke and showing disrespect,” the Times reported. “Dissing people, especially those larger than yourself, is not a smart thing to do behind bars.”

That’s one lesson learned. But Wright didn’t learn another one about jail: When it doubt, just stay out.  

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

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

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