The refugees who live in City Heights come from all corners of the globe and eventually find themselves in local doctors offices. At times, their medical problems are virtually unspeakable.

Refugees from Africa, for instance, may suffer from the aftereffects of female circumcision. Without the help of expert translators, serious conditions can remain untold and unaddressed. Even simple instructions regarding care for a cold or flu may easily be misunderstood.

The women of City Heights in particular are telling stories of medical mishaps and nightmares. Now, there’s a push to require insurance companies to pay for face-to-face translation, instead of the current system that relies on phone lines.

In stories for VOSD and KPBS — you can find them both here — reporter Megan Burks examines the challenges facing City Heights immigrants who seek medical care and the facilities that serve them.

The Case of the Re-appearing Mayor

So far, no event is too small or too tedious to merit a drop-in from San Diego’s new mayor, notes our Lisa Halverstadt in a story on Bob Filner’s dizzying schedule now that he’s in office.

Touting his focus on neighborhoods, Filner has criss-crossed town traveling to many of them, often to citizens’ surprise. He’s been to a skate park rally, a potluck, an airport store ribbon-cutting and on Wednesday, he lit a menorah at a Hebrew school.

His travels have even spawned a Twitter hashtag, #FilnerEverywhere.

Why the Rush on Hotel Lease? Good Question

As we reported earlier, the city was in a mighty big hurry to approve a peculiar new 40-year lease for the Bahia Resort Hotel in Mission Bay, which sits on public land. Rush, rush, rush!

But why? That’s a good question, and we’re not getting any good answers. An explanation from a city official doesn’t make sense.

So what happened? It may be no coincidence that things were pushed to happen before a new mayor took over.  

Most Disgraced Congressman Ever Gets Out of Prison

Former Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham, one of the most disgraced House representatives of all time, is now out of prison and living in a halfway house in New Orleans, the U-T reports. He’s finishing his term there.

Cunningham has traveled a long and verbose journey from his days as a popular but seemingly not-too-swift North County congressman (at least that was the perception of local journalists) to convicted mastermind of bribery schemes.

Among other things, he’s held pity parties via the media, dreamed of running for Congress again (gahhh!) and thrown his probably-unwanted support behind a Republican candidate for president.

Meet the New Councilman

CityBeat chats with newly inaugurated Councilman Mark Kersey,  Republican who’s now heading a committee on ways to fix the city’s infrastructure.

He offers an intriguing perspective on the council’s tendency to issue statements about political issues that have nothing directly to do with the city: “I don’t like the City Council weighing in on issues that we have no direct control over. My hope is that we can avoid these kinds of issues that aren’t doing a single thing to reform or rebuild the city or do any of the things that people who voted for us expect us to do. If people want to play political games and what not, I suggest they go to Sacramento or Washington.”

Remembering Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar, who died this week at 92, may be the most influential and world-famous musician who’s ever spent years living in the San Diego area. “If there was a musician who transcended the difficult boundaries between East and West, it was sitar maestro Ravi Shankar,” CNN reports.

If you’d like to read about his career, check the remembrances in the L.A. Times (“he grew and evolved, achieving a heightened awareness that he conveyed to his listeners”) and Slate (“he was a lot more than just the Indian guy who hung out with the Beatles”). And don’t forget that he was the father of singer Norah Jones.

There’s also a unique perspective at, which notes that he was dismayed by drug use among his fans in the 1960s: “I assured them that if they wanted to be high, I could make them feel high through the music, without drugs, if they’d only give me a chance. It was a terrible experience at the time.”

But many of the fans “have matured, they are free from drugs, and they have a better attitude,” he said in 1985. “And this makes me happy that I went through all that. I have come full circle.”

Quick News Hits

• Gov. Jerry Brown is being treated for prostate cancer, which is reported to be in the early stages and easily treatable. (AP)

• Average home prices in the San Diego region are at their highest level in seven years, the U-T reports.

• In yesterday’s Morning Report, I pondered the giant game of musical chairs that’s about to erupt in the local political world. Since it seems possible that every single person in the county will end up rotating through public office, I declared dibs on the position of city clerk in Lemon Grove.

Local mayors dig the Morning Report, and I promptly heard from one: Lemon Grove Mayor Mary T. Sessom. She says they have a “very competent individual” filling the city clerk slot, thank you very much.

Sessom then asked me if I like dogs. Yup, I sure do, I replied. Does she think that a canine should replace me?

“Oh no, never,” she responded. “I like dogs too much!”

Zing! Sounds like the “World’s Biggest Lemon” is making folks a bit tart out there!

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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