The world of San Diego street gangs can turn pretty small when things turn violent. It’s always been that way thanks to the speed of breaking news about friends and foes.

The cops are aware of this, and they like to be part of this communication system to get tips and leads. Now they’re taking advantage of a wicked-fast tool to prevent the escalation of violence: the ubiquitous text message.

In a new VOSD story, we profile the volunteer-based Community Assistance Support Team, which recently “persuaded the police to share real-time information on gang shootings and stabbings so they could deploy quickly into streets, alleyways and hospital rooms to talk gang members down from retaliating.”

We look at the team’s efforts, which include help for victims of violence, and examine its record of success.

Former Councilwoman Dies at 75

Former Councilwoman Abbe Wolfsheimer-Stutz, “a tough-as-nails environmentalist,” has died of cancer at the age of 75, the U-T reports.

A law professor prior to her two terms on the City Council, Wolfsheimer-Stutz represented La Jolla and nearby areas in the late 1980s and early 1990s. “She had so much expertise, so much knowledge,” a friend tells the newspaper. “That woman was whip smart, and she was very insightful, too. She had a huge intellect.”

Ready, Set, Minds-Meet!

Get ready for the seventh Meeting of the Minds arts-and-culture-and-more event this Wednesday. We’ll have another slate of local forward-thinkers offering quick presentations about their work or their interests.

Among them: a plastic surgeon who’s come up with a contraption to help children after brain surgery and a representative of a company that’s given us groundbreaking photos of Mars. You’ll also hear from a “luthier.” (Yes, that’s a thing.)

Former VOSD reporter Kelly Bennett is back on the Meeting of the Minds beat after a hiatus to explore the world. The one outside of this county, that is. (San Diego isn’t enough for you, eh, Bennett? Well, aren’t you the fancy one!)

She’ll be emceeing Wednesday’s event and dropped by the latest edition of the VOSD Radio Show and Expanded Podcast to talk about what’s on tap.

Digging Into How Cop Cameras Work

We’ve been tracking the San Diego Police Department’s efforts to explore equipping officers with body cameras to monitor their interactions with people. As the AP reports in a new story, there are plenty of questions to ask when it comes to the ways to use the cameras and the video they take.

For example: When should they be turned on and off? It may sound logical to just leave them on at all times, but that raises issues of privacy, not only for cops but for victims of crimes and confidential informants too.

Also: Who gets to see the video? Will the officers be allowed to? And how long should the video be kept around? Here’s an eyebrow-raiser in the AP story: “Police in Rialto, Calif., keep videos in cases involving felonies for seven years; homicides for 100.”

Caring (or Not) About Big Government Salaries

Who’s the highest paid city manager in the county? One who works for one of the biggest cities like Escondido, Oceanside or Chula Vista, perhaps? Nope: The U-T says Carlsbad’s new hire tops the scales at $260,000 a year plus some hefty perks.

One local taxpayer advocate is sounding the usual alarm about excessive pay for government employees. But the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, which typically opposes big paychecks for government workers, says city managers can be an exception: “Taxpayers benefit from effective leadership,” the group’s interim president told the U-T.

Quick News Hits

• Ready, aim … debate. My recent VOSD explainer about the battle over concealed weapons permits was the most popular story on our site over the past week. Other biggies in the click-stakes: Two articles in our continuing quest to understand SeaWorld and its killer whale conundrum.

The full Top 10 list of the week’s top VOSD stories is here.

• Speaking of SeaWorld San Diego, its vice president of zoological operations writes in a U-T commentary that animals on display are “ambassadors for their species.” OK, so what does it take to get them some diplomatic immunity?

• The U-T explores that new report analyzing the trades in sex, drugs and guns in several American cities, including San Diego. Among the notable facts: Pimps here make an average of more than $11,000 a week; prostitutes make an average of $150 an hour and gangs are a major force in the world of illegal sex.

How reliable is the report? The amount of research might provide a clue: “Researchers interviewed 18 people in San Diego, including representatives from the FBI, the county Sheriff’s and city police departments and the Internal Revenue Service. Some former pimps were interviewed in prison.”

• Longtime loud-mouthed local sportscaster Ted Leitner made the national news in the sports world the other day when he launched what Deadspin calls “an on-air rant for the ages, given it happened in the middle of a one-point championship game with 75 seconds remaining.”

It was the San Diego State Aztecs basketball game. What happened? A security guard wanted him to move his suitcase. (Thank goodness nobody asked him to move his cheese.)

For what it’s worth, a friend and I regularly crank-called Leitner’s radio show about the Padres back when we were in high school. We’d fool the screener each time by giving a fake and often-obscure location (“Hello, Dulzura, you’re on the air!”). Then we’d annoy Leitner with snatches of weird music, imitations of ballplayers and even a recording of the entire Abbott & Costello “Who’s on First?” routine.

A tape recording of some these pranks still exists, but it doesn’t answer the question: Why were we such an annoying pair of punks? I don’t know. (Third base!)

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:

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

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