Balboa Park recently appeared to be at a crossroads, and not just because people were quite cross over roads. While people argued noisily over whether to give a makeover to a chunk of the park a makeover, the place was falling apart physically.

It still is. And now the makeover seems doomed thanks to a judge’s ruling and the apparent lack of mutual interest in some sort of compromise.

Our Scott Lewis ponders how we got here and notes that big obstacles face the movement to put on a lavish celebration in 2015, when the exposition that created the park as we know it turns 100.

In a separate story, Lewis has some news: “Mayor Bob Filner has not released hundreds of thousands of dollars the City Council allocated to the organization planning for Balboa Park’s grand 2015 celebration and the group has ceased operations for now.” We don’t know why.

Mapping Where You’re Likely to Faceplant

We’re now mapping your reports to The Stumblr, our blog about the most decrepit sidewalks in the city. So far, we’ve collected photos of some 30 blocks.

“So far, most of the photos we have are clustered south of Interstate 8 in older, mid-city neighborhoods,” our Liam Dillon reports. “It’s too soon to tell whether sidewalks are worse there, which would reflect San Diego’s traditional dividing line for politics, wealth and lots of other things, or whether we just have a lot of people sending us photos from those areas.”

It could be that the mid-city sidewalks are ancient and more likely to be deteriorating.

More Homeless Families in Shelter

A homeless shelter tells KPBS that it’s seeing what may be an unprecedented number of families with children. “We’re supposed to have 60 women and children. We had 96 last night … 44 kids and around 25 families,” said the emergency services director of the San Diego Rescue Mission.

Around 6:30 in the evening, “it’s like a freight train of women and baby carriages and kids coming up 2nd Ave,” the shelter CEO said. “I look at those kids, they’re soaking wet, it’s raining. At least I know they’re going to be safe here.”

An Ex-Cop Eyes a Council Seat

CityBeat continues its series of profiles of contenders for the open City Council seat that represents much of southeastern San Diego with a look at a former cop named Myrtle Cole.

Future Looks Grim for Lindbergh Mural

“Lucky/Spirit,” the giant mural of Charles Lindbergh that’s long greeted visitors from an outside wall of the airport’s commuter terminal, is about as awkward-looking as its title is awkward-sounding. But the mural has its fans, and some were quite sad to see it go last summer.

The panels making up the mural were sent for something called “condition analysis.” Now, the U-T reports, the airport is looking for a replacement mural (it’ll spend $25,000 just to ask for ideas) and the future of the existing mural is looking dicey.    

Quick News Hits

• Yesterday, we accidentally omitted a link to the story fact-checking a claim about education research. Read the story here.

• You can watch a University of California video of our Scott Lewis as he appears on an hour-long panel discussion about the future of journalism as a government watchdog. 

• On the congressional front, Rep. Susan Davis (who represents a big chunk of San Diego) doesn’t want Saturday postal service to end, while Sen. Barbara Boxer is taking aim at Southern California Edison, saying it knew of problems at the disabled San Onofre nuke plant but didn’t repair them. ( and L.A. Times)

• The Prime Healthcare Services hospital chain, which owns the local Alvarado Hospital and Paradise Valley Hospital is being probed by the Justice Department for “its Medicare billings and an inquiry into alleged violations of patient confidentiality laws,” California Watch reports.

• The San Diego Unified School District “is accused of improperly charging nearly $4.5 million to its cafeteria fund for custodial and utility expenses,” the U-T reports. The district denies the allegation.

• NBC 7 San Diego is raising questions about a supposed college in Carlsbad called Aristotle University that appears to be based in a single room, lacks state licensing and isn’t registered as a law school although it says it is one.

Oh my, Otay. (CityBeat)

• Of all species that could be endangered, great white sharks might seem among the most unlikely. 

Even so, California officials are thinking about putting them into the endangered category. Fishing groups, not surprisingly, are not happy about more protections.  

You can catch up on the creatures in our 2011 story “5 Things You Should Know about Sharks.”

It includes tips about how to fend off a shark attack. One is to stick out your arms and legs so you don’t look like a seal or sea lion.

Sadly, I think I’d still look like a sea lion. My whiskers wouldn’t help matters either.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

Randy Dotinga

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

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