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Some critics think SeaWorld has become more amusement park — rides, rides and more rides! — than educational edifice. But while it’s true that SeaWorld isn’t all about the animals, a city rule keeps it from turning into the next MagicDisneyBerryFarm.

As we report in a new story, the city requires that at least two-thirds of SeaWorld attractions include significant elements regarding conservation or education about animals.

“City rules would make a shift toward more rides and fewer animals difficult,” we report. “And then there’s the fact SeaWorld isn’t interested in such a change.”

Flexible School Funding Raises Hackles

The state has developed a new, seemingly more logical and efficient way to deliver money to local schools. That sounds good, right? Well, yes. But there’s concern about how the funds will be spent here, and a several groups have banded together to express concern.

As we report in a new story, a coalition is forming to keep an eye on the dough. The group’s existence proves a larger tension: Plenty of people are wary of how the district divvies out funds.

• KPBS has an update on how local schools are jumping into testing under the “Common Core” system. For more, check our recent coverage here.

Balboa Park Centennial Debacle, Condensed

Back in the day, Reader’s Digest wasn’t just for the AARP crowd. It would distill bestsellers, turning them into “condensed books” that offered the chance to quickly catch up on the latest potboilers.

Those condensed books (now pompously known as “Select Editions”) are still around. And so’s the idea of condensing a huge thing into important bits that readers can handle.

Such as, say, our epic examination of the Balboa Park centennial celebration mess. You’d need a pot of coffee to get through the major investigation we published last week. But if you’d like a single-cup version, now you have it: You can read the highlights of our probe here and catch up on the major details we uncovered.

• How do you solve a problem like the Balboa Park centennial fiasco (other than looking in the thesaurus for alternative ways to say “debacle”)? CityBeat has a few ideas.

Politics Roundup: Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

The race for district attorney has transformed into a tedious battle over which candidate has the messiest record on campaign donations.

You might assume the “winner” in this how-low-can-you-go match would be the incumbent, Bonnie Dumanis, who’s tangled up in the giant campaign finance scandal. But now, the U-T says her challenger, Bob Brewer, is under the microscope for a $10,000 contribution from his wife (which she plans to cancel).

On April Fool’s Day yesterday, Dumanis supporters “issued a fake news release from Brewer’s camp saying he would be holding a news conference on the matter,” the U-T reports. Sounds like they should leave the jokes to the professionals.

Culture Report: Oh My! Edition

He’s best known as Lt. Sulu (make that Captain, then Admiral, then … oh nevermind, I don’t need Star Trek trivia nuts going after me). He’s also known as one of the funniest folks on the Internet, one of the most famous gay men in entertainment and the most well-known Japanese internee on U.S. soil during WWII.

And oh yes, George Takei created and stars in “Allegiance,” one of the most memorable plays of recent years, which got its start at the Old Globe.

The VOSD Culture Report has the skinny on what he’s up to now, along with details about how you can see him in person later this month.

Also in the Culture Report: a double-dog dare (woof!), unsaid woodworking jokes, belly dancing, zombies and the saving of “rotten souls.” (Relevant to my interests!)

Thoughts on a Mile-High City

I just got back from making my first visit to Denver, and I’m feeling a bit of city envy. They have stuff we don’t: A wonderful pedestrian mall downtown, handy public transportation to the airport and a dreamy remodeled train station.

Their burgers are better than ours, their rent-a-bike program is up-and-running and they have nifty intersections where all the walk signs turn green at once.

Compare that to our mishap-prone burg, which VOSD founder Neil Morgan called a “stumblebum with character.” (I prefer my own concoction — “San Diego: More Sun Than Sense.”)

But Denver smells like pot. Honestly. And San Diego is still home.

For many of us, it’s more than that: It’s where our hearts are too — right here at sea level.

Randy Dotinga

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

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