City officials seem to be changing course from a policy Mayor Bob Filner advocated for while he’s away from City Hall.

“The city is planning to put its ambulance contract out for a competitive bid, seemingly reversing a June City Council decision pushed by Filner to extend the city’s existing agreement with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Rural/Metro Corp. for up to two years,” reports Liam Dillon.

City Chief Operating Officer Walt Ekard said no final decision on whether to put ambulance services out to bid has crossed his desk yet.

San Diego’s High Bar

It’s not easy to recall an elected official in San Diego. But just how hard is it? “No city in the state of California has a higher barrier,” say two attorneys in their request that the county grand jury launch a legal attack against Mayor Bob Filner.

San Diego Fact Check is on the case — or at least the claim — and finds that our city indeed makes it especially difficult to kick someone out of office. Among the 10 most populous cities in teh state, at least, San Diego has the highest bar for a recall. That earns the claim a “mostly true” rating. Read the story here.

Spare Us: The Worst Filner Media Stunts of Them All

The absurdity of the Filner scandal creates many opportunities for humor, especially in the snarky and ironic veins. VOSD managing editor Sara Libby notes in a new column that the scandal has produced something else: awful and embarrassing stunts.

She highlights three cringe-worthy embarrassments thanks to U-T San Diego’s cable TV channel, the Hooters restaurant chain and, yes, attorney Gloria Allred. (Hooters? Yup. They simply will not stand for disrespecting women.)

The Rest of the Day in Filner

• Surprise! Filner filed a response to the recall effort against him, touting his plans for the city’s future. Among other things, he makes a couple big claims: The centennial celebration at Balboa Park and the Convention Center expansion will each bring “millions” of visitors to the city.

• “The scenarios of how this could work out is more complicated than a Rubik’s Cube and I’ve never been able to solve a Rubik’s Cube so I won’t even try to predict the outcome of all of this,” says Filner’s chief of staff, Lee Burdick. (Via U-T)

• VOSD staffers have called out national media for using “sex scandal” to describe the sexual harassment allegations against the mayor. Now, a psychology professor explains the distinction to a New York Times columnist: The Filner scandal — and the 1991 Tailhook scandal — are “violence scandals. If I hit you over the head with a frying pan, I don’t call that cooking.”

• A panel of journalists and political insiders is gathering later this evening to talk about what San Diego media could have done to cover the mayor both before and after allegations against him were revealed. Check out more on the event here.  

Culture Report: Dance Is Off, ‘Zonkeys’ Endangered

• VOSD’s weekly Culture Report includes links to stories about the demise of a dance theater, a new interim director for the city’s arts commission (the previous director quit in protest as the allegations against the mayor grew), the sad vandalism of a freeway mural and the fate of the iconic “zonkeys” in Tijuana.

Quick News Hits

• In letters, Stephan Goss and Matt Marcin of Zeeto Media write about the importance of creating ideal workspaces: “San Diego is on the cutting edge of so many technological advances. Revamping the workplace isn’t that high tech, but it could transform this region’s ability to stay on that cutting edge.”

• VOSD is hiring! We need an engagement editor to “serve as chief of our website and social media voice.” For more details, click here.

• Students in middle and high schools across the county posted photos of state standardized tests online, KPBS reports. Last year brought the first large batch of tests posted by students in the state. Statewide, “none of the 242 schools where photos of test materials were posted from this year will be able to apply for academic awards from the state.”

• A new study warns that climate change poses major risks to the economies of the U.S. and Mexico, reports. Imperial Beach is especially at risk, the study says.

• follows up Sunday’s CicloSDias event with an interview with the city’s biking czar. For more, check VOSD’s chat with him.

• When it comes to being Hollywood’s back lot, San Diego is no Vancouver. But plenty of movies have been filmed here,” such as “Some Like It Hot,” “Anchorman” and “Traffic.”

And then there’s “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.”

Critics sliced and diced the disaster movie spoof, but it remains a bit of a cult classic. Now, Bon Appetit, of all things, has published an oral history of the film.

Yes, film co-creator Steve Peace — the former South Bay state legislator — is here. And the giant tomatoes, 1970s-style too-short shorts and an invented distributor name: North American International Entertainment.

Waiter? Check, please!

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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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