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Many people want to work at Voice of San Diego, and one of the reasons it is such a sought-after workplace has been obvious as of late: Staff who move on invariably embark on big adventures, like capturing prominent fellowships, moving to Uruguay or getting big spreads in the New York Times.

This morning Kelly Bennett writes that she, too, will soon join the illustrious ranks of Voice’s alumni, and head out on some adventures of her own. “I plan to be based mostly in San Diego but to spend portions of the next several months traveling, playing music and pursuing a few stories that have been percolating for a couple of years,” Bennett wrote.

Bennett has explored a lot of topics important to San Diego, like the arts and homelessness. In her newest quest to understand the innovation sector in San Diego, shewrote about how tech innovators are finding homes in unlikely suburbs, like 4S Ranch and Torrey Pines Mesa. But that kind of neighborhood flexibility may actually work in San Diego’s favor. “You just go where you have to go to start your company, and San Diego’s not a hard place to recruit people to,” said Gabriela Dow, a tech start-up consultant.

As a voracious reporter of San Diego’s culture and a leader of our popular “Meeting of the Minds” events, Bennett’s absence will be acutely felt. Make sure you keep following her antics on Twitter: @KellyRBennett.

Animals of Wonderland, In Ocean Beach

Once upon a time, San Diego had an amusement park in Ocean Beach, and a young couple was even married inside its lion exhibit. Surrounded by hundreds of monkeys and carnival games, it sounds like something out of “Alice In Wonderland,” and coincidentally that’s exactly what it was called.

Opened in 1913, Wonderland advertised “1,000 New Thrills and Gayeties … Nothing but Motion, Mirth and Melody,” reports Randy Dotinga. “Water slide, roller skating rink, carnival games, bowling alley, a zoo with 350 monkeys and the West Coast’s biggest roller coaster — Wonderland had it all.” All of that, and bad timing. Balboa Park would soon open and suck all the entertainment oxygen out of OB, dooming the park.

Fact Check: City Council’s Role In Sunroad Debacle

The fiasco surrounding a $100,000 donation to San Diego by a developer, allegedly in exchange for getting the city to give up some property rights for the benefit of Sunroad, has been getting a lot of attention this week. Filner has been accused of being part of a quid-pro-quo, an accusation he denies. According to Filner, “The council, without any staff report, pushed this easement deal through … both the committee and then the council, nine-nothing.”

Lisa Halverstadt set out to check those claims in a complicated Fact Check. Did the City Council pass the developer’s request for an easement? Yes. Was the vote “9-0?” No (it was 8-0). Were there a few relevant caveats the mayor conveniently didn’t mention? Definitely.

News media aren’t the only ones interested in the sketchy Sunroad situation. The Department of Justice is also investigating, according to anonymous sources reported by 10 News.

Tracking Filner’s ‘Special Forces’

Filner wants to increase solar energy usage in San Diego. He wants to make the city more bike-friendly; he also wants to tackle the medical marijuana problem. How does he get all these things done? He forms “working groups” or task forces to study the issues and report back to him with their findings and recommendations.

We checked in on how the various task forces Filner has setup are coming along, and there are a lot of ’em to check on. One for craft beer, one for bi-national mayors; heck, there’s even one for public bathrooms. Alex Corey reports that we don’t even know how many of these groups exist, but he set out to track down the progress of the ones we do know about. See how they’re progressing — or not.

News Nibbles

  • Reader Bill Bradshaw has an idea for how to plug the city’s suddenly-introduced deficit. “Let’s start with Mount Hope cemetery, the three golf courses and the two airports the city operates. Sell ‘em!
  • Two years after a San Diego city auditor found problems with the city’s Rural/Metro ambulance provider, not much has changed.
  • Former San Diego Mayor-for-a-day Michael Zucchet plays a mean, and winning, hand of poker.
  • Someone at the offices of the San Ysidro School District, which is currently “embroiled in an investigation into an alleged pay-to-play scheme with contractors”, decided to burn some documents on Wednesday. Fortunately, NBC San Diego was on hand to watch.
  • Walk-In-Wednesday weddings at the County Administration Building were especially busy this week as same-sex couples got their first chance to participate.

Over the Line Is Within the Law

The yearly Over the Line tournament will celebrate its 60th anniversary this summer on Fiesta Island. For the uninitiated, it involves a softball-like sport. Really it’s more tee ball-like, with the focus being mostly on costumes, partying and creative team names. Most of the names are too racy to make it past my editor, but one example was a team named “Cunning Linguists.” You get the idea.

The yearly event came under fire from an organization called FreePB.org, which claimed the event hadn’t completed the required environmental reviews. But with one stroke of his mayoral pen, Bob Filner exempted the OTL tournament from that requirement. So the game goes on. If you want to play, the rules are a little odd; you’ll need a few people and $90, and don’t forget that racy team name. And don’t forget to thank Filner if you see him.

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Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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