A task force here, a task force there, and pretty soon you’re talking about a whole lot of committees working to cut a whole lot of red tape within City Hall. Mayor Bob Filner doesn’t mind. This is his way, our Lisa Halverstadt reports.

“He’s created a Medical Marijuana Task Force, the Livable Streets Coalition and the Solar Summit. He’s also shared plans to host a summit of the region’s major employers to discuss job opportunities for veterans, create a craft beer task force to cut red tape for beer lovers and to lead a coalition of border politicians to push for border infrastructure funding.”

Now, the mayor’s new budget includes almost $1 million for a new task force designed to ponder the city’s future.

Liam Dillon wondered why we needed city employees to bypass other city employees but urban designer Howard Blackson put it differently. This group would “cultivate innovation outside of [department] silos. The status quo isn’t effective,” he wrote.

Students Get Twerked Over by District

The Morning Report, which is allergic to annoying fads, has been trying very hard to avoid using any variation on the word “twerk.” But we just can’t avoid this story: the suspensions of more than 30 Scripps Ranch High students, mostly girls, for appearing in a video featuring the explicit form of dancing known as “twerking.”

What is twerking? Well, let’s say it’s not exactly the Lindy Hop.  

Sara Libby, VOSD’s editor, writes that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime: “administrators have perverted the definition of ‘sexual harassment’ and wielded it against the very people those types of provisions are meant to protect. Of those suspended, 28 were girls and three were boys (Or, as [San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Bill] Kowba creepily refers to them in a memo, ’28 white females and 3 male students of color.’)”

Who’s for Whom in City Council Race

They’re both Democrats. They both lean left. But the two candidates running for City Council from the Fourth District aren’t identical twins when it comes to endorsements.

So how to tell them apart? We’ve created a helpful endorsement scorecard to help you see who’s supporting whom and why.

Letter: Help the Taxi Industry

In letters, Andrew Rae writes about efforts by a coalition to protect taxi drivers: “Safe Cab San Diego is seeking to unite the voices of positive reform of the industry in order to encourage best business practices, as well as protect the investments that businesses, stakeholders and individuals have.”

Education News Roundup

• “District officials with more than half of the 42 school districts in San Diego County said they do not collect and review official school safety drill reports from their individual school sites,” NBC 7 San Diego reports. “And by law, they don’t have to review them.”

State legislators are paying attention to the issue in the wake of the massacre of students in Newtown, Conn.: “Many lawmakers across the nation want to know how prepared and practiced schools can be for something they hope never occurs.”

• We’re continuing to post visual messages to the incoming chief of San Diego Unified schools through our Dear Superintendent feature.

Meanwhile, U-T San Diego says the new chief has chosen a fellow principal to be her chief of staff.  

Local Taxpayer Dollars at Work

• Mayor Filner has a new ally in his unlikely bid to bring the Olympics to San Diego-Tijuana: local resident Mitt Romney. Filner seems positively flummoxed by how charming he found Romney to be, the U-T reports: “if I had seen him the way I saw this guy yesterday, incredibly down-to-earth and friendly and creative, he would have been president. He didn’t come across that way on television and stuff, but I will tell you he’s an incredibly creative and interesting guy.”

• A few weeks ago, San Diego tourism boosters raised quite a stink over a canceled ad campaign as they fought over whether a 2 percent surcharge they put on hotel bills was an illegal tax and then how to spend it. Turns out that ads will air anyway: The Tourism Authority and Seaworld teamed up for an $3.2 million ad push in several Western cities after Mayor Bob Filner signed the tourism marketing agreement, the U-T reports.

The Tourism Authority has repeatedly claimed that ads like these play a major role in drawing visitors to San Diego. Do the boosters have proof? For background, take a look at our Fact Check of a related claim in March.

The Stumblr, our blog of photos of decrepit local sidewalks, has a new entry from the 3700 block of Fifth Avenue, near the lamp store in the Hillcrest neighborhood. By the way, a run-down sidewalk on Upas Street has new asphalt after being featured twice in The Stumblr.

• Here’s an odd fact about San Diego’s municipal finances: property owners pay about $8 million in taxes each year to the San Diego Zoo. Yes, the world-famous zoo that makes plenty of money on its own.

Taxpayers been paying a fee for the zoo since 1934. The city auditor looked at the arrangement and found that it’s not very transparent due to a lack of communication between the city and the zoo, the Reader reports.

Culture Report: Sloth Is Headless No More

There’s a steel sculpture of a sloth out in Borrego Springs. A prehistoric giant sloth that is, not your friendly neighborhood teenager who hasn’t risen from the couch since 2010.

That’s neat. Not-so-neat: the philanthropist behind the artwork died before the sculptor added the sloth’s head to its body. The head just sat around on the site.

Now, sloth and sloth head are together at last.

The story of the headless sloth, courtesy of the U-T, is just one of many arts-related articles that get an airing in this week’s VOSD Culture Report. We also check in on bold murals in La Jolla, 20,000 museum images that are now online for free, and a series of plays being performed in local coffee shops.

One of them is Big Kitchen, the famous South Park eatery known for a famous ex-employee (Whoopi Goldberg) and the lady in charge, Judy Forman, also known as “Judy the Beauty on Duty.”

A few years back, I was enjoying lunch on the Big Kitchen’s outdoor back patio when Judy the Beauty walked by with flyswatter in hand.

“Classy joint,” I declared. She had the perfect rejoinder: “You won’t get this kind of service at Denny’s!”

Indeed. But where else am I gonna find a Moon Over My Hammy?

Hey! I heard that!

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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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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