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Not a lot of San Diego citizens take the time to help set the future for their neighborhoods by getting involved in the community planning process. That can lead to some shenanigans, our Andrew Keatts reports.

He was on hand this week when a community planning group in the Uptown neighborhood went a bit gonzo in an attempt to bring a former chairman back to his previous position.  

“He and the rest of the board engineered a way to open up a seat. Then the board immediately moved to give him back his position as chairman,” Keatts tells me. “When you have elected bodies with very little participation, there’s opportunity for lots of funny business.”

Where’d All that Money Come From?

We’ve taken a closer look at how Mayor Bob Filner found millions of dollars in his proposed budget for new projects. The sources run the gamut from a legal settlement to hotel-guest taxes to cutbacks elsewhere.

Something’s a Mess in Santee

You ever find yourself thinking about the haunting character of Santee? Me neither. But you might after checking this striking photo of the filthy underside of a Santee bridge after a storm.

The photo, and others, are by photographer Shannon Switzer. As we report, her project of photos of the world of water in our county “features lagoons, wetlands and other natural phenomena you’d expect… But Switzer also included shots of the seamy underbelly of the region’s watershed, the spaces under bridges or around storm drains.”

Commenters Take a Bite Out of Twerking

It’s been a parental mantra for generations: Teens these days look like they’re doing it when they dance! And sexy dancing might make them think about sex. Heavens! (Makes me think of Stockard Channing mocking the uptight in “Grease“: “Elvis, Elvis, let me be/Keep that pelvis far from me!”)

Is the dance scandal at a San Diego high school just another case of parental tut-tutting? In a commentary this week, our Sara Libby finds it hard to find a crime in the now-famous “twerking” video (it’s “crude but ultimately harmless”) and says “administrators have perverted the definition of ‘sexual harassment’ and wielded it against the very people those types of provisions are meant to protect.”

VOSD commenters are now debating the issue too.

B. Chris Brewster thinks the video objectifies women, “precisely what sexual harassment policies are intended to prevent. What could be more emblematic of objectifying than showing your body, but not your face?” (So the girls in the video sexually harassed people who made the choice to watch it? How does that work, exactly?)

But Mark Giffin writes that “Girls knew what they were doing. The Boys knew what they were doing. They were having fun and acting like……teenagers.”

Education News Roundup

• We’re continuing to get submissions to our Dear Superintendent blog, which features images of local folks (including kids) with advice for the incoming chief of San Diego Unified School District. Check out the latest posts.

U-T San Diego chats with Sandra A. Brown, the vice chancellor for research at UC San Diego, who oversees medical projects about topics like AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease.

Brown’s continuing her own research in substance abuse too. “We are testing a new way to keep teens from binge-drinking in three states and, working with a national consortium, we are examining alcohol’s impact on brain development during adolescence and young adulthood,” she told the newspaper.

• San Diego Unified school District may have crossed the line and used public resources for political advocacy, the volunteer Grand Jury alleges (this is not the criminal Grand Jury).

Quick News Hits

• The Stumblr, our blog of photos of decrepit local sidewalks, now has its first contribution from the San Ysidro neighborhood. Check our map of where all the Stumblr photos were taken.

• The Atlantic offers a hefty batch of 40 photos that highlight the U.S.-Mexico border. Many of the photos, which include several from the San Diego-Tijuana area, are stunning, especially those that spotlight the natural features of the border.

• The LA Times interviews Ruben Barrales, former president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, who’s now running an organization called GROW Elect which “is cultivating Latino Republican elected officials in California, not exactly fertile soil for the GOP of late.”

He has a sense of humor about his predicament: “The joke is, I’m representing a minority within a minority: Latino Republicans. We can probably have our convention right here in your office.”

• San Diego makes CNN’s list of the top beer cities in the country, although it notes that we don’t score that high on the history front. (Unlike, say, Boston or Philadelphia.)

Meanwhile, Bloomberg News explores how craft brewers are resisting pressure from bankers to sell because they “believe private-equity firms and large brewers can’t be trusted to preserve a culture that values employees, local communities and good beer over maximum profit.”

The story quotes Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co., perhaps the most beloved and publicity-savvy local brewery: “I’m on the revolutionary side of the equation, on the fight-the-power side. We have a responsibility as craft brewers, just like artisanal coffee roasters and cheese makers, to help shift the national consciousness into things that are real instead of this prefab manufactured industrialized notion of food and drink, which is killing us clearly.”

You’re never supposed to say never. Ever. But Koch did: He declared he won’t sell. Come hell or high hops, presumably.

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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