Now’s your chance to win fabulous prizes. All you need is a nose for news.

Yes, it’s time for the third annual VOSD Year-End News Quiz.  

Click here to read the rules and play. You’ll find questions about serious topics like local politics and the not-so-serious: What’s a  xoloitzcuintli? Who loves-loves-loves-loves-loves-loves-loves Bob Filner? (Get a room, you two!) And is the city’s motto really “Always Corrupt”?

One more thing: While this special year-end news quiz is open to the public, VOSD members get to play news quizzes (and win prizes) throughout the year. Click here to become a member.

The Best of SD Journalism

Six days a week, the Morning Report tries to serves as a sherpa, giving you a glimpse of the fine work produced by other media outlets in addition to our own stories.

What stood out in 2012? We’ve chosen five works of journalism about local issues — three stories and two multi-part series — that are well worth a look. They come from three local print publications, one national magazine and a public broadcasting station.

You’ll read about the tiny number of “frequent flier” patients who clog local ERs, the true story of what happened on that infamous night in Balboa Park, and the chef who’s trying to turn Tijuana into a respectable world-class city. You’ll also learn about the trials and tribulations of those who bring us the mail and the long arm of the Mexican Mafia in North County.

Click here to read and watch the stories and see excerpts.

Indictments in South Bay Corruption Scandal

Grand jury indictments have been handed down against school officials and others in the South Bay corruption scandal, NBC San Diego reports: “Prosecutors say the school officials traded their votes on multi-million dollar construction contracts for gifts and other favors.”

Government Transparency in Non-Action

So who’s in charge in the new mayoral administration of Bob Filner? It should be easy to find out, since he’s promised plenty of openness and transparency. 

The U-T asked Filner’s office for information, including salaries, about the people it has hired. Filner’s office hasn’t coughed it up, and the paper says Filner may be violating the state’s open records law.

Your New Best Friend: Broken Parking Meters

Ever wonder if you can park at a broken parking meter without getting a ticket? A new state law says you absolutely can. (Woo-hoo!) Just make sure you don’t stay longer than the time limit for the space.

The U-T has a handy run-down of this and other new laws that take effect on Jan. 1. Among other things, there are more protections for breastfeeding mothers and “publishers of college textbooks must provide professors and other buyers of differences between the old version and new publications to determine whether it’s worth the extra price given the high cost of books to students.”

Also: As a result of a case involving a Carlsbad woman, the paper says, “a victim of spousal abuse will no longer have to pay support to the attacker after a divorce.” Vintage license plate designs will become available (remember the old black and the more recent blue ones?). And don’t forget: Sales taxes will go up by a quarter cent on every dollar spent, thanks to Prop. 30.

State Fails to Use Tool to Find Rogue Doctors

Last month, the L.A. Times published a story about how just 71 doctors in Southern California are linked to 298 overdose deaths — at least three each. Among them is a physician from San Diego named Dr. Naga Thota: “Since 2005, at least 15 people have died of overdoses after Thota prescribed drugs for them.”

Now, the paper has published a follow-up story bashing the state for failing to use a database to find doctors who put patients at risk: “that has allowed corrupt or negligent physicians to prescribe narcotics recklessly for years before authorities learned about their conduct through other means.”

VOSD Contributors on the National Stage

We’re everywhere. Current and former contributors to Voice of San Diego got national exposure in 2012:

• Emily Alpert, our former education reporter, reports on world news for the Los Angeles Times. You can read her work here.

• Adrian Florido, who formerly covered neighborhoods for us, is reporting for KPBS and a multi-state media consortium called the Fronteras Desk. You can find his work here.

• Sam Hodgson, a former staff photographer who continues to contribute to our pages, contributed this year to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News, among other publications. See his work here.

• Rob Davis, a VOSD senior writer who recently resigned to travel, profiled a local newly married couple in a story for the New York Times.

• I’m a freelance contributor to VOSD and wrote for a variety of publications in 2012. One of my stories was about a local man who went without health insurance for six months in order to be eligible for coverage under Obamacare that’s tremendously cheaper and better than he had before. That guy was me. My first-person story, for a non-profit news organization called Kaiser Health News, was picked up by the L.A. Times, which referred to my “Hobson’s choice in reverse.”

• Our reporter Will Carless wrote an article for the New York Times about the flap over yoga in Encinitas public schools.

• Our managing editor Sara Libby recently wrote for the American Prospect magazine about tech volunteerism in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

In a related story, The Yoga Flap would be a good name for a band.

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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