SeaWorld dodged a bullet earlier this week when the California legislature sidestepped a vote on a bill that would have outlawed orca whale shows. The company is no slouch when it comes to political donations, Lisa Halverstadt found, and their “tentacles of influence” extend from local business groups all the way up to the federal government.

• Animal rescuers from Sea World were caught on camera doing their wild rescue thing on Wednesday.

The Opera’s Options: San Diego Explained

The San Diego Opera is now approaching its two-week extension period recently granted by the board of directors, during which some major decisions have to be made. Scott Lewis and NBC San Diego’s Catherine Garcia pulled together what options the opera company has going forward, along with a guide to how the opera got here, in our most recent San Diego Explained.

Freeways Versus Transit

Jack Shu, president of the Cleveland National Forest Foundation, wrote in asking why local governments are so focused on building more roads for more cars in an age when demand for mass transit is up. “Our region’s elected officials continue to support a ‘freeways-first’ Regional Transportation Plan,” Shu wrote. “Why isn’t our region adopting a ‘transit first’ policy when survey results show a majority of San Diegans want a working system?”

• Related: 30 years later, has light rail in San Diego and other cities been unambiguously successful? Not really.

Illegal Money Funneler Pleads Guilty

The case of foreign money illegally finding its way into the coffers of the political campaigns of Bonnie Dumanis, Bob Filner and Juan Vargas continues to unravel as a prominent car dealer pleaded guilty to charges involving the case yesterday. Marc Chase, who owns Symbolic Motor Cars in La Jolla “admitted to conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions with cash paid to him by a foreign businessman,” according to NBC San Diego.

“Chase admitted that, between Dec. 29, 2011 and Jan. 2, 2012, he recruited people to donate $500 each to hide the source of the funds,” wrote NBC San Diego.

News Nibbles

• The New York Times profiled The Koala, a controversial student-run satire publication at SDSU that aims to offend and entertain.

• Court records may indicate that former Police Chief William Lansdowne knew about the illegal activities of now-convicted officer Anthony Arevalos, and did nothing about it.

• San Diego taxpayers will pick up the tab for local brewers to stay in San Diego when those breweries need to expand. That’s how much we love them.

• San Diego is stepping up to try to attract more foreign investment, according to UT San Diego.

• The Obama administration will take up the proverbial cross and defend the Mt. Soledad Cross as a war memorial in a Supreme Court case that seems inevitable at this point. (LA Times)

In Your Eyes

The first-ever operation in San Diego aimed at placing a telescope inside a human eyeball took place this week. On Monday, doctors implanted a four millimeter device into the eye of an elderly man suffering from macular degeneration. The device essentially replaces vision from the impaired part of the eye and sends the images to a healthier part of the same eye. “The implant is virtually unnoticeable to others because it is totally inside the eye and mostly covered by the iris.” The device is a much smaller version of a telescope designed by Galileo in 1609.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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