A federal agency called Wildlife Services kills millions of animals each year, including thousands in San Diego County, in a bid to protect businesses (like farms, ranches and golf courses) and keep endangered species from falling prey to predators.

As we’ve reported, the agency is secretive. Now, after years of complaints, the feds are finally investigating Wildlife Services. In a new story, we explain what the agency does, how it’s kept the public in the dark, and how the new investigation is pleasing lawmakers and advocates.

Why Racial Profiling Is Iffy but DUI Checks Aren’t

We spotlighted racial profiling last week and the police department’s failure to keep track of whether it engages in it.

At least one reader wondered why it even matters if cops pull over people because of race. Answer: Because the law prevents them from pulling anyone over without a good reason to suspect something is wrong. OK, but what about DUI checkpoints? Cops pull over people to check if they’re drunk, and they may go after folks who see a checkpoint ahead and skedaddle down a side street. How is that legal?

We’re at your service! We offer the answer in a new post.

Strange Poll Puts Faulconer Way Ahead

An automated robopoll, reported by the U-T, finds that Republican Kevin Faulconer is way ahead in the mayor’s race, with many Democrats and — shocking to me — almost half of Latinos supporting him instead of Democrat David Alvarez.

Fun fact: The poll, in an effort to gin up the supposed ideological divide between the urban folks south of I-8 and the suburban folks to the north, asked people to identify which side of the freeway they live on. Six percent didn’t know.

• The San Diego Police Officers Association, the union which in the primary backed Nathan Fletcher, has endorsed Kevin Faulconer. The firefighters and most other labor groups in town support Alvarez.

Wildfire Season… in January?

Temperatures will be high the next few days (up into the 80s along the coast) since a Santa Ana is in town. Along with high winds and low humidity, even at night, they’re threatening to stir up wildfires locally, the National Weather Service warns. You can check details about wind speeds, gusts and temperatures around Southern California via this nifty map.

Meanwhile, we’re having an unusually dry January, with no rain so far — the average is about 2 inches — and no wet stuff on the horizon.

Maybe it’s time to hire a rainmaker! History suggests otherwise. Boy howdy, does it: 98 years ago this month, the leaders of a drought-stricken San Diego hired a cloud-seeding rainmaker to come to down and make it rain. The skies opened but didn’t close: It rained and rained. Flooding cut off the city from the outside world, turned the San Diego River in Mission Valley into a mile-wide torrent and killed at least 20 people when a dam broke. For more, check my history flashback about the flood, the man who may have caused it and the City Council that refused to pay his bill.

Falling Behind, Charging Ahead

• It was fun while it lasted: Bolo tie fever, inane sports headlines (“Chargers Focused on This Game, Not Last“) and an interim mayor with (thankfully) interim socks. But the Chargers are out of the playoffs, beaten (despite a last-minute bid for a comeback) by the Broncos.

• Speaking of football: Remember back a couple years ago when the U-T made a big front-page push for a stadium complex at the waterfront? Politicians and pundits greeted the proposal with a near-universal chorus of “huh?” Now, the U-T is once again out to convince any naysayers (or non-sayers) that a new stadium is a must.

It published a big package of stories on Sunday — eight in all — all geared toward one goal: making a stadium happen.

Among other things, an editorial says an NFL team is crucial for a variety of reasons, including serving as “a bonding point and a rallying point for a community… .And what can’t be emphasized enough is that a franchise, once lost, might never be regained.” Like L.A., it says, which has lost two teams. But it’s not clear how L.A. and its residents have fallen behind because of this.

Quick News Hits

• “Five years after the Obama administration’s renewable energy initiative touched off a building boom of large-scale solar power plants across the desert Southwest, the pace of development has slowed to a crawl,” the LA Times reports, “with a number of companies going out of business and major projects canceled for lack of financing.”

• Mission Valley and nearby freeways weren’t exactly deserted late Sunday afternoon during the Chargers game, but there seemed to be fewer people around. Except, of course, at Costco, where customers found no respite from congestion.

What a shame that all those people weren’t at home rooting for the Bolts. Wait, how do I know Costco was so busy? Um, a friend told me. Never mind those 85 rolls of toilet paper that are now sitting in my garage.

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 randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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 randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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