The upcoming centennial celebration at Balboa Park has had a rocky start, and not just because of the blizzard of clunky concepts like STEAM (Intersecting Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math), “sPARKS 2015” and the now-abandoned Edge2015 theme.

We’ve compiled the unanswered questions about the extravaganza to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

How much will the unprecedented celebration cost? If anyone knows, they’re not saying. How much has been spent? Several hundred thousand bucks at least, but that number’s not clear.

What happened to the much-ballyhooed Edge2015 (whatever that means) theme? There’s more vagueness. And what about parking? Details are scarce there too.

When a Young S.D. Couple Stormed the Skies

In 1972, a pair of young lovers spent their time strolling amid the head shops of Ocean Beach and plotting the hijacking of a plane to Algeria.

You probably haven’t heard of Roger Holder and Cathy Kerkow, who have largely been lost to history until now. A new book chronicles the saga of how a pair of San Diegans became two of the boldest hijackers in an era of shocking skyjackings. Even more amazing: They (mostly) got away with it.

In a new Q&A feature, I talk to author Brendan Koerner about a remarkable tale of lust, violence and reinvention that plays out — toward the beginning and at the end — in our city.

• Speaking of history, the LA Times remembers when Albert Einstein made it to San Diego.

City Hall News Roundup: Bad Blood Edition

• Mayor Bob Filner had a bad week last week. But one part of it came after a very quick release of a transcript from a closed session of City Council. Records like this don’t usually come out so fast if at all.  The Reader digs into the strange behavior.

• The mayor has wielded his veto power to preserve cuts at the city attorney’s office, U-T San Diego reports.

• On Thursday, the mayor denied that his deputy chief of staff, Allen Jones, had left his administration. But that deputy chief of staff, Allen Jones, confirmed to 10News that he resigned because of his boss’s alienating style: “He said he had trouble with how the mayor dealt with people. According to Jones, the issue had been developing for some time.”

• Meanwhile, talk about #filnereverywhere: the mayor was in France speaking at a gathering of Iranian opposition.

• The mayor’s reorganization of the San Diego’s Planning Department leads our list of VOSD’s most popular stories of the week. For the full Top 10, click here.

• The U-T follows up on the continuing mess over tourism funding and finds that hotels still aren’t playing ball. That could be very costly.

No Short Cut for Ambulance Bids

The city has had a long and tangled relationship with the companies that have provided its ambulance services, but two years ago it looked like officials would finally clear up questions and put the program up for bid.

But, as the U-T reports, the services haven’t been put up for bid, meaning the current partnership with a private company will continue without anyone knowing if another firm would offer a better deal.

“The downside for consumers is that the average cost of an ambulance ride will increase from the current $1,670 to $1,820 under the extension. That’s a 39 percent increase from the $1,305 average cost in 2011.”

What’s Up Doc? Yikes, Sorry I Asked

A sculpture at a local hospital, shown in this U-T photo, looks like the world’s scariest medical instrument. Gah!

Chomp’s the Word as Summer Arrives

Summer here, and the time is right for stressing about sharks. Should you be worried about going in the water? Not really.

As we explained in 2011, shark attacks are exceedingly rare here (although not unheard of), although you might come across a harmless one. If you do encounter a shark, there are things you can do to protect yourself. We’ve got the details about those too.

We also fact-checked a prominent scientist’s ridiculous claim that how shark attacks actually save lives by preventing people from drowning.

But you should still be on the look out for land sharks, as this helpful instructional video from the 1970s will teach you.

One more thing: Candygram.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.

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

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.