It is official: The Labor Council chose Richard Barrera as its new secretary-treasurer, which is its executive director. And Barrera confirmed to our Will Carless that he will also stay on as a member of the school board of the San Diego Unified School District. The school board is a part-time, paid position.

Homeless Service Center Snags

The city’s large new center for the homeless has had a few hiccups in its early days, including shortages of various types. These are anything than tolerable, an advocate for the homeless tells us.

And she should know: she’s the one who led efforts to convince transients to come off the streets and into the building. Some of those homeless people, she said, now feel betrayed.

“It should’ve been ready,” she says in a new story on our site. “And if it wasn’t, we shouldn’t have opened the doors.”

Nasty Race Is Finally Over

We finish off our coverage of the District 4 race for City Council, won by candidate Myrtle Cole, with a look at how things got so nasty. Various players say they’re appalled by the shenanigans, but there’s no word from anyone who’s actually dismayed by their own actions.

Over at The Plaza, our website’s new chatterbox feature, we take note that Cole went on KPBS and refused to say anything about a mailer that falsely accused her rival of a connection to crack cocaine.

Here’s what she had to say: “You know I will not say anything about that. Things happen over the course of a campaign.

Unfortunate things happen over the course of a campaign. Both to myself and to the opponent. So, you know, I hate to say that’s politics because that does not, that should not, be. But that’s how it was. And that’s all I can say about that.”

Finding Ways to Stop Food Waste

The Convention Center has been hopping lately, and not just because thousands of urologists showed up for a recent conference, spawning a steady stream of puns. (Well, from me at least.) The United Fresh Produce Association was in town too.

And, as our food politics blogger Clare Leschin-Hoar reports, “what was left behind turned out to be a windfall for anti-hunger group Feeding America San Diego.”

In total, the association left 32,000 pounds of fabulous produce for the hungry. This is “a very tangible example of how those on our food front lines are also actively working to reduce food waste,” Leschin-Hoar writes.

• In related news, KPBS checks in on a program called Fish. Food. Feel Good. that collects “fish from sports fishermen and distribute the product to local charities. This year alone, it has provided almost 15,000 pounds, or roughly 30,000 meals, of sushi-grade fish to San Diego’s Meals on Wheels program.”

Million Dollars Here, Million Dollars There…

• KPBS has created an online gadget that will let you take a crack at balancing the city’s budget. You’ll get to choose from a variety of specific options like increasing library hours and ending trash service, shutting down a couple city golf courses and booting the football stadium’s $17 million subsidy.

Unfortunately, there’s no option to add “hire a personal concierge for the guy who writes the Morning Report.” Maybe they’ll fix this bug later.

• I used to have a source I called Strep Throat. Now, CityBeat columnist John Lamb has one he refers to as “Deep Moat.” (Mine’s better.)

The aforementioned Mr. or Ms. Moat suspects that Mayor Bob Filner’s foes have a hefty amount of money available for a mayoral recall and are just waiting for the right moment.

In a new column, Lamb wonders: “So, what’s it gonna take to put the kibosh on a costly squirrel-chasing special-election cycle that has little chance of succeeding?” He has recommendations for Filner, including “stop the pie-in-the-sky pronouncements” (I’d put a cross-border Olympics in that category) and “Let your people go—that is, let them do their jobs. Unshackle them from the micro-managing, wrong-size-paper-clip mentality that promotes fear, which, as they say, is a darkroom where negatives develop.”

We previously explained what it would take to pull off a recall of the mayor and why the city’s recall law may not be legal.

Quick News Hits

• Who knows what darkness lurks in the heart of North Park’s Grim Avenue? The Stumblr knows.

• Public radio’s Fronteras Desk profiles the ongoing public-relations gambit to make people forget about the violence in Baja California and focus on its food and fun. The campaign’s been ongoing for three years, and the region’s tourism is on the upswing even though Mexico as a whole is struggling to woo visitors.

• Dylan Ratigan, one of the most well-known ranters on cable news, left his MSNBC show last year and landed in North County, just outside Camp Pendleton, on a farm.

And not just any farm: he’s building what he calls “the prototype for job-creating, water-saving, food-producing, veteran-led hydroponic organic greenhouses nationwide.” This week, TV’s “The Daily Show” profiled Ratigan’s “less angry” new gig after making a visit.

OK, that’s interesting. But how does Ratigan get out his famous frustration these days when he’s not screaming on the tube anymore? Does he yell at the plants?

If so, they deserve better. Just whisper to them softly. And always change the subject when they wonder if that stalk makes them look fat.

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Randy Dotinga

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

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