Most San Diegans can probably tell you where San Ysidro is. Or North Park, the College Area, or Pacific Beach.

Other neighborhoods aren’t as high-profile because they’re just where people live, not where they go. Like greater Encanto, which includes Valencia Park, Chollas View and other communities. There’s little in the way of stores and restaurants to draw people from elsewhere or even to serve residents.

The city’s urban renewal agency plans to turn things around in Encanto. This won’t be a simple task. “When you live in an area that really has not been not paid much attention, I believe, there’s always going to be distrust when any organization says it is going to come in and help your area out,” a local activist tells us.

Cross Check: Did Congressman Really Ruin Everything?

Is Rep. Scott Peters, a former city councilman, responsible for the never-ending legal mess over the legality of the Mt. Soledad cross? His rival, former Councilman Carl DeMaio, would like you to think so. He’s issued a bunch of blistering claims against Peters, culminating with this humdinger about why it all matters: “The result? Years of legal battles and millions in taxpayer dollars wasted.”

San Diego Fact Check says one of DeMaio’s claims is Mostly True, but another one deserves the rare verdict of Huckster Propaganda.

About Those School District Test Scores…

The San Diego school district got some good news about test scores this week. Or did it?

The district touted fourth- and eighth-grade test scores that rank somewhat favorably when compared to other larger school districts around the country.  In a new story, reporter Joel Hoffmann explains why these figures aren’t that nifty after all: “Being near the top is less impressive when the rest of the pack is also falling short of the standards.” And there are other reasons, he writes, to be skeptical about the message of these test scores.

The Day in Odd Political Attacks

The campaign of David Alvarez, a councilman who’s running for mayor, took a moment to throw a barb at his rival, fellow Councilman Kevin Faulconer. No surprise there.

But here’s the weird part: Alvarez is getting on Faulconer’s case for not giving away free tickets to Chargers and Padres games, the U-T reports. Alvarez does give out tickets, which provide access to city suites.

Faulconer says he wants to sell the swanky suites.

City Hall News Roundup

• More city employees have filed claims against former Mayor Filner, the U-T reports. Not all allege sexual harassment. One employee says Filner bullied her, yelling “THINK, THINK, THINK, THINK” when he felt she didn’t move fast enough. “The mayor made me feel small, dumb, humiliated, as if he is the supreme and I am a nobody that he can treat as he pleases,” she wrote in her $7,500 claim.

The story doesn’t say whether bullying by a manager is a legitimate reason for a claim against the city.

Also, remember the National Women Veterans Association of America, which planned to honor Filner then decided against it and turned out to be beset by troubles? It’s suing too, seeking more than $100,000 because the event to honor Filner went bust.

• The Reader says some citizens are raising the alarm about a secretive advisory group of “developers, lobbyists, and architects” that meets regularly to “reshape San Diego’s land-development code.”

• In a new commentary, the president of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association explains why outsourcing-plus — “managed competition” — is a good idea: “It’s about determining needed service levels and getting the best price.”

Quick News Hits

• Inewsource explores the thousands — yes, thousands — of cameras and microphones that monitor the moves people make in city trolleys and buses.

• And away she goes: “Sweetwater school district trustee Arlie Ricasa will resign her seat from the school board after pleading guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of accepting gifts above state limits,” the U-T reports as the massive South Bay corruption scandal continues to unfold.

The Sweetwater district operates middle and high schools in the South Bay. Ricasa is also an administrator with Southwestern Community College, which is ensnared in the mess too. She won’t go to jail.

• It wasn’t too long ago that the busybodies at the Federal Communications Commission got themselves worked up about naughty language and exposed body parts on the TV. Now, the FCC is concerned about something else: sports event blackouts, like the ones that keep haunting the Chargers.

The LA Times has the story and notes that the NFL would really prefer that you just not see those games — you know, the ones in a stadium that you paid for — when they’re not sold out.

• Speaking of football… “Chargers’ hatred for Raiders not personal,” claims the headline on a U-T column as the Bolts get ready to play their cross-California arch-rivals. It’s more of “professional hatred,” says the team’s coach.

Huh. I’ll bet these players would feel differently if they were alive, living in San Diego and watching football in 1978 when this bit of on-field insanity happened in our fair city.

Forgive? Forget? Never!

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:

Randy Dotinga

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

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