Back in 2010, SeaWorld’s Shamu had his own Twitter account — one where he cracked jokes and talked about other animals. (Fictional whales, they’re just like us!) But when a SeaWorld trainer was brutally killed by one of the park’s whales, the account quickly closed up shop.

SeaWorld’s attempt to personify its whales highlighted an uncomfortable truth, notes Scott Lewis: “SeaWorld seems to want it both ways. They want us to come to Shamu shows and see how human-like, how sentient and smart the animals are. The whales wave and smile. This bond cuts both ways. The more we feel like they are of us, the more we wonder why they are captive and made to perform for sustenance.”

What the Cops Are Facing

When it comes to the challenges facing local police departments, it’s been a big month for bad news. It’s not that there’s been a big increase in crime and other problems. Instead, we’re now getting greater awareness thanks to three wow-inducing reports, Caty Green writes in a new post.

One study, by the Urban Institute, finds that the sex trade in San Diego is about as lucrative as the drug trade and seems to be deeply embedded in local gangs. This might be no surprise, but the study also says that pimps and sex workers are increasingly using refillable cash cards to buy online ads, hotel rooms and gas.

Another report, by SANDAG, reports that four local law enforcement agencies have seen a sharp increase in calls for mental-health services, such as when someone is suicidal.

And a third study, also by the government coalition, finds that opioid drugs like heroin and the painkiller Oxycontin are showing up more in prisoners booked into local jails.

And Now, an Excuse to Spell-Check ‘Gobbledygook’

The San Diego school district would like you to know that budgeting is complicated. It involves fun concepts like carryover, legal restrictions, ending fund balance components, indirect rates and (don’t forget!) payroll rates.

This scintillating information comes from a graphic depiction that the district handed out the other day. We take a look at why this graph is so amusing and how it points to a more serious problem of inaccessible government jargon.

• The Wall Street Journal reports on an analysis that says only 6 percent of homes here are affordable for teachers.

• Speaking of pay for government workers, the U-T explores how plenty of county employees like prosecutors and sheriff’s workers retire with a pension and then come back to work some more.

Quick News Hits

• We have a follow-up for you on the journey of a local refugee doctor who was awaiting Match Week, when she’ll find out where she’ll go next. Spoiler alert: She got some good news.

• Balboa Park is unveiling a new all-access museum pass (zoo not included). It’s a pretty good deal at $129 for a year. (10News)

• How is the movie box office treating “Veronica Mars,” the movie version of the TV show filmed in our fair city? Well, I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it appears to not have any scenes in San Diego.

So who cares? “Veronica Mars” is dead to me. Dead! (At least until it’s on Netflix, then I’ll be all over that like Veronica on a whodunnit.)

• San Diego Comic-Con attendees will be saying hello to “geek couture” when a fashion show debuts this summer. (Jezebel)

Oh goodie. A chance to show off my ensemble inspired by Princess Leia’s hair bun! (Note to self: Develop ensemble inspired by Princess Leia’s hair bun.)

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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