For years, County Supervisor Bill Horn operated a charity through which he would hold money for real estate deals, “and I wouldn’t have to pay taxes on the money earned,” Horn was quoted explaining in an investigation published by inewsource on Thursday. Experts consulted on Horn’s activities through the charities concluded he “violated both state and federal laws, civilly and possibly criminally,” reporter Brad Racino wrote.

Horn is no stranger to controversy. Ari Bloomekatz, coming off his investigation of Horn’s challenger, Jim Wood, wrote up a comprehensive reader’s guide to Bill Horn. Horn has made controversial statements about everything from wildfires, to gay military service-members, to the rights of natural-born citizens. We gave Horn the Whopper of the Year award in 2011 for false statements about his own civil rights record. The LA Times, CBS 8 and Citybeat have previously published investigations.

“I am what I am and I don’t try to be something else,” Horn told us.

Dark World of Drones

Lisa Halverstadt looked into San Diego’s drone-makers and operators and discovered a scattered, secretive industry relying on word-of-mouth, largely thanks to a federal ban on commercial drone operations.

Several business executives and leaders said they couldn’t pinpoint many details of how many businesses are building or using drones, Halverstadt reported. Partly, that’s because drones are such a hot industry right now, new drone-related companies are popping up all the time. But the other part is the standing Federal Aviation Administration ban on companies using drones for commercial purposes. “Some drone businesses have decided it’s best to keep quiet until the FAA issues formal regulations,” Halverstadt wrote.

Farmers Market Gotchas

Local farmers markets are often a convenient place to find some fresh produce and take in the work of neighborhood artists. But Clare Leschin-Hoar reported that the markets are also a hotbed of legal infractions and violations, often perpetrated by unknowing farmers or marketers. “Selling a product that’s not listed on the certified producers certificate” is the most common violation at farmers markets. Other violations include selling non-agricultural items in the agricultural section and labeling a product organic without proof of organic registration.

The Big Ideas

Several stakeholders have formed an alliance in the East Village neighborhood of Downtown to organize what they call the IDEA District. The “idea” is to develop a significant portion of the neighborhood in an agreed-upon framework, but not a master plan. Scott Lewis joined NBC San Diego’s Catherine Garcia to explain and talk about space for technology companies downtown.

Less Sweet Deal For Former Opera Chief

While the San Diego Opera has found the funding to stay open and produce its 50th season, the company’s relationship with its former general director Ian Campbell has devolved into litigation. KPBS obtained a document that appears to show Campbell didn’t stand to gain tremendously if he were to line up as a creditor when the organization liquidated. A previously unreported amendment to Mr. Campbell’s contract with the company “reduced Campbell’s contract to an annual renewal process,” KPBS wrote, meaning that the former director would only be paid salary through 2014, instead of through 2017.

News Nibbles

• While fighting wildfires is a critical priority, it certainly doesn’t do the region’s water levels any favors.

• Carl DeMaio has made quite a name for himself in politics, according to the Washington Post.

• City Council candidate Lorie Zapf announced Thursday that her campaign had raised more than $485,000.

• KPBS thinks you might want to pay special attention to the views of this candidate for San Diego Community College District’s board.

• Another potential conflict-of-interest has popped up for District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

• While the Veterans Affairs health care system is under fire nationally, the local San Diego facility passed a recent audit and is not on the list of 26 facilities under federal review.

• UT San Diego noted that the San Diego Police Department was missing exactly $1 million from its seized assets fund. The department subsequently referred the discrepancy to the comptroller for investigation.

Kitten Fight

Two new, young Sumatran tigers at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park put their skills on display for Fox 5 San Diego’s cameras when the crew was onsite filming a story. It amounts to about 30 seconds of intense activity followed by what appears to be unending lounging, yawning and dozing. Speaking of weekend plans…

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

Seth Hall

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

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