A message from VOSD: Thanks for helping us finish strong!

We’re thrilled to announce that thanks to the generosity and support of nearly 300 individual donors, we surpassed our year-end campaign goal by raising $110,442. This was our most successful fundraising campaign to date, topping off our strongest membership year.

We couldn’t be prouder of the community of members we’re building. We appreciate every one of you and look forward to welcoming more in 2013.


P.S. Don’t forget our “One Voice at a Time” event tonight featuring Slate’s Matt Yglesias, an author and one of the nation’s top thinkers on economic issues. VOSD’s Kelly Bennett will have a one-on-one conversation with Matt from 7-9 p.m. at Luce Loft, 1037 J Street, San Diego.

This event will be free for all VOSD members at the Inside Voice level and above and $5 for all others.

For more details, click here.

The Candidate Who Can’t Run for Office

Now it’s official and done: As of Jan. 1., Tony Young has resigned his position as a City Council member representing a big chunk of southeastern San Diego. He’s going to work for the Red Cross instead.

The race to replace him is an intense one, with at least 11 candidates in the hunt, according to NBC San Diego. But a woman who runs a community council in a neighborhood called Redwood Village won’t be one of them, and not by choice.

She’s interested and she lives within the council district. So why isn’t she eligible? Because she lives within the council district now, but those like her in the neighborhoods of Redwood Village and Rolando Park didn’t when Young was first elected.

Basically, as we report in a story here, the City Council map created after the 2010 census doesn’t yet apply in an election like this. “I feel like this entire community of voters are being disenfranchised,” says the woman who can’t run for the job. But it doesn’t sound like anything can be done about it.

Update from Our Homeless Correspondent

As you may have read, we’ve been in touch with a newly homeless woman who’s been telling us about life without a home. (You can read her earlier messages here and here).

Now, there’s good news: Liz Hirsch has gotten some work thanks to a VOSD reader. She provides this update: “I was starting to have trouble believing there were kind people in the world. I would read the newspapers and watch t.v. and well we all see what’s there. But, I have to say that I have met more kind and wonderful people even before your article came out, but more so afterwards.”

Hirsch also provides some perspective on one of the perplexing questions regarding the homeless: Why don’t they stay in shelters when they’re available?

You can read her latest messages here.

My, What Bold Claims You Had, 2012

San Diego Fact Check TV highlights the most notorious Fact Checks of the year, including the Biggest Whopper (it’s out of Poway).

Sheriff to Investigate Treatment of Transgender Inmates

Sheriff Bill Gore, under pressure from the gay community, will investigate the treatment of transgender prisoners, CityBeat reports. His decision came after CityBeat disclosed that the Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board failed to resolve allegations from transgender inmates that they were sexually harassed by guards and denied access to certain programs.

Nicole Murray-Ramirez, an activist in the gay community, talked to transgender inmates who “told him that 95 percent of the guards treated them respectfully, even using female pronouns to address them,” CityBeat reports. “That made me almost fall out of my chair,” Murray-Ramirez said.

Still, he found evidence supporting some of the claims of mistreatment.

The transgender inmates are kept in protective custody, segregated from other prisoners. “What they wanted, number one, was to be allowed to go into the general population,” Murray-Ramirez told CityBeat. “That’s not going to happen, and I told them that.”

The Politics of Biking

The Atlantic Cities offers a look at “Urban Trends We Hope Die in 2013,” and the top one is “Pedestrians fighting bikers. Bikers fighting drivers. Bus riders fighting train commuters.”

“Our transportation landscape is increasingly fragmented into single-mode interest groups who behave as if transportation infrastructure is a zero-sum game that can only be won by one form of locomotion at the expense of all the others,” the story says.   

We might know a little bit about that here, where bikers aren’t universally beloved. “Conflicts between motorists, bicyclists and others have become the latest flash point with an angry edge,” the U-T reported in July.

The Critical Mass bike rides, which lawlessly wander throughout the city each month, continue to draw criticism from both inside (“Critical Mass is Not Every Cyclist”) and outside the biking community. Just last week, a local wrote on our site that “there are plenty of responsible cycling enthusiasts in the San Diego County area. Too bad the group Critical Mass is not among them.

And I myself drew barbs online last year for saying that lawless cyclists bug me. Sam Ollinger, executive director and board president of BikeSD, lambasted me for an “unprovoked screed,” but some readers said they too see too much cyclist lawbreaking on the road. (See more of the debate, including a clarification, here.)

Ollinger appears this week in a new Q-and-A in the U-T. She says, “We can become a world class bicycling city in as little 10 years. But the biggest challenge is the lack of political will and negative public perception toward the humble vehicle called the bicycle.”

For more, check out our own Q-and-A with Ollinger.

Quick News Hits

• Gov. Jerry Brown wants to send more state money to serve poor students and those who don’t speak English. “The reality is, in some places students don’t enjoy the same opportunities that people have in other places,” he told the L.A. Times. “This is a way to balance some of life’s chances.”

“His intentions are already raising concerns among school administrators, district officials and labor unions,” the paper reports. “The governor postponed earlier plans to push for the changes when the discord threatened to distract from his campaign for higher taxes.”

• Six people have been nominated to fill two open spots on the port commission. (U-T)

Defending San Diego’s Cultural Honor

Here we go again: San Diego is getting dissed on the national stage.

This isn’t as high profile as last time, when a locally raised Pulitzer Prize-winning poet slammed our fair city in the pages of Newsweek. But still it stings.

The San Diego basher this time is a high-profile economist named Tyler Cowen. On his blog, he writes about an upcoming visit and notes that “San Diego, by population, is the eighth largest city in the United States.  Yet it seems to have had hardly any cultural influence.”

He asks readers for input. They give him plenty, some of it dubious.

“Simon & Simon,” Comic-Con, “Anchorman” and Raymond Chandler all get mentions. As do local phenoms like Raquel Welch, Ted Williams and fish tacos.

Plus, of course, carne asada fries and California burritos. And this handy if unpunctuated list: “San Diego’s World Famous Zoo & Animal Park Scripps Institute for Oceanography Sea World Veronica Mars (that’s a stretch, but KRISTEN BELL!!!!!) Jim Croce Pizza Port, Stone, Karl Strauss, Green Flash, Lost Abbey etc Triathlon Old Globe Theater Many shows that end on Broadway start in San Diego blink 182 Tom Waits Regis.”

Yes, that Regis. Mr. Philbin got his start on a talk show on Channel 10 back in the 1960s.

No one’s mentioned me yet, even though I got my start here in the 1960s too, at National City’s Paradise Valley Hospital, to be exact. I must be too famous to bother mentioning.

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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