The San Diego Unified school board sent Mayor Bob Filner home empty-handed Tuesday night, after the mayor showed up at the 11th hour trying to stop the sale of a prime piece of land in Mission Beach he wanted for the city.

The board approved the sale to a developer.

We previewed trustee Scott Barnett’s gambit to save the land for the city earlier yesterday, and last week we reported that Filner has his eye on the property.

L.A. Dreams as Football Pressure Point

Does this sound familiar? “An NFL team is upset that taxpayers won’t hand over money to fix its stadium. Word gets out the team is pondering a move to Los Angeles.”

Yup, it sounds a lot like the game plan of the Chargers. And the Dolphins. And the Panthers. In a new piece, our Liam Dillon examines how a hypothetical move to L.A. has become the go-to bogeyman for teams that want to blackmail — er, put pressure on — their home cities.  

• Former Chargers star Chuck Muncie has died of a heart attack at the age of 60, U-T San Diego reports.

• Our sports blogger Beau Lynott provides a brief lesson on how pro football oddsmaking works and ponders whether teams in the AFC West will beat expectations.

What about the Bolts? He has hope. Sort of. “I don’t see the Chargers being entirely mediocre this year,” Lynott writes.

Remind me not to ask him to serve as a job reference.  

Memorializing a Deadly War Protest

In, 1970, a young man who set himself on fire in UCSD’s Revelle Plaza to protest the Vietnam War. George Winne, who was just 23, remains one of the few people in the western world to have used self-immolation as a form of political protest.

Winne’s personal life and motivations for his actions seem to be lost to time. But he’s still remembered. In fact, a legend has cropped up about whether he’s memorialized by a somewhat obscure sculpture near UCSD’s central library. In a new story, KPBS sets the record straight.

This week’s Culture Report spotlights the KPBS piece and many others. You’ll find stories about a most unusual spot for a monastery, a chain store’s generosity (just don’t tell that overly excitable Target Lady) and what we call the “underbelly of infrastructure.” (See a doctor immediately if your underbelly develops an infrastructure.)

Grand Jury Makes a Grand Mistake

The county grand jury recently went out of its way to say nice things about the county jail system and noted that there have been just four prisoner deaths of prisoners from July 1, 2011 to Aug. 1, 2012.  Unfortunately, the grand jury hasn’t been paying attention.

“Those numbers are severely inaccurate,” CityBeat reports. In fact, 11 inmates died. As the alternative weekly reported in an in-depth series of stories, the county’s jail system has an unusually high death rate. 

The paper says six inmates have died at county jails so far this year — including three suicides and two drug overdoses.  

Quick News Hits

• There’s yet more fuss over the harsh punishment imposed on Scripps High students who dirty-danced on video, NBC 7 San Diego reports. The U-T has more about parents who are upset by the punishment; the school board says its hands are tied.

• The City Council gave a unanimous approval to a bid to allow large craft brew makers — which must be located in industrial zones — to open attached restaurants and expanded tasting rooms, KPBS reports

• The City Council today will consider whether to limit political parties from spending more than $20,000 in citywide contests and $10,000 in council member elections. “If such limits had been in place during the past three years, party contributions to candidates would have totaled $198,000 instead of $1.3 million,” the U-T reports.

• The governor has released his proposed budget, which includes good news for schools but disappointment for those who want more spending in other areas. The New York Times has details.

• National Geographic is suggesting to teachers that they have students discuss the efforts to bring San Diego and Tijuana closer together.

• Seniors in the California State University are miffed because many of them must pay a “commencement fee” in order to graduate. It’s $55 at San Diego State; a spokesperson tells the L.A. Times that half the money goes to store and file student records.

A university system spokesperson blames the law, which only allows tuition to be used for instruction. That means students must cough up the dough to pay plenty of fees.

It’s a shame that students won’t get any credit for taking Nickel and Diming 101.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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