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Its new name makes it sound like it’s full of slot machines and blackjack tables, and it’s been quite a while since it played host to a major pro sports team. These days, few San Diegans remember the sports arena for anything other than swap meets and the occasional concert.

Yes, we’ve long passed the arena’s heyday of the Clippers, Jimi Hendrix and Muhammad Ali. Or have we? In a new Q-and-A, we talk to Ernie Hahn, the general manager at Valley View Casino Center, about the future of the half-century-old arena. If there is a future, that is: There’s talk that the land around the venue will be sold as part of a deal to build a new football stadium.

Hahn says he hasn’t heard a peep about this and is focused on keeping things humming. “This arena still does 110 events a year, it still ranks in typically the top five facilities for its size in the United States for the 10,000 to 15,000-seat arenas,” he says. “It’s usually a top 50 facility worldwide even in San Diego, which is a tough market in general.”

Hahn also talks about competition within the music industry, a missed opportunity for a new arena downtown and a lease that means the sports arena should be there for another six years regardless of how the stadium chatter works out.

One Year in, Grading the Schools Chief

She’s been at her job for about a year, so it’s probably a good time to stop calling Cindy Marten the “new” superintendent of San Diego schools. It may also a good time to give her a report card that’s no longer “in progress.”

Christie Ritter is on the case with a commentary that gives Marten a lot of credit for doing the right things about issues like violence and teacher negotiations. But Ritter complains of too much fuzzy happy talk and too little transparency.

Meet the ‘Ask a Mexican’ Guy

Gustavo Arellano is a syndicated columnist in the alternative newspaper world and a major force up the coast at the OC Weekly, one of the best alt weeklies around. His coverage of the massive cutbacks at the Orange County Register showcases the kind of critical but generous spirit we need in media-watchers: “While we have many enemies at the Reg, we also have many friends and people we admire there.”

Arellano is our guest on the VOSD Radio Show and Expanded Podcast this week. He talks about his column (“Ask a Mexican”) and the mess at the Register, whose young publisher’s lush dreams of newspaper renaissance have, to put it mildly, come a cropper.

Serious Threats Behind Those DMV Lines

The U-T digs into the local DMV corruption scandal. Wait, the what? Yup: “…an FBI probe that revealed a corruption scheme that peddled more than 100 fraudulent driver’s licenses for bribes to DMV employees in excess of $20,000.”

As the U-T reports, “the case provides a glimpse into just how easy, and for how little money, official driver’s licenses can be bought and sold, and the potential threat such corruption poses to our national security.”

Quick News Hits

• A compilation of major moments from our SeaWorld chat tops our list of the week’s most popular stories on the VOSD site. In second place: Our story about the mysterious ballot measure that nobody voted on. Education stories and our hit-and-run investigation filled out the rest of the top 5.

• Today, City Council President Todd Gloria is apparently going to release a new version of his proposal to raise the minimum wage within San Diego city limits.

• San Diego State’s former basketball star, Kawhi Leonard not only won his first NBA championship last night but also was named the MVP of the Finals. There were some rumblings that he was leaving SDSU too early and he wasn’t ready, when he decided to go to the NBA. That seems to have been put to rest.

• In other sports news, soccer fans can catch the U.S. Men’s National Team play its first World Cup game today at the Park at the Park at Petco Park downtown.

• The Daily Caller, a conservative publication, is clucking about how universities like San Diego State allow gay graduates to wear special tassels: “Straight students do not appear to have been given the option of having special tassels.”

• A San Diego organization called The National Coalition for Men made a stink about city-funded self-defense classes for women in the L.A.-area city of Glendale. Now, men will get classes too, although the women’s classes got delayed while legal types figured out what to do.

• Meanwhile, in El Cajon: “Real Gun Shop Gets Robbed by Fake-Gun-Wielding Suspects.” (Times of San Diego)

• Do you like cool old company signs like the one at Petco Park and the many can still be seen in downtown and on El Cajon Boulevard? A New York Times contributor is out to kill your buzz with some tough talk about the oppression of the working class.

Weeee!

• We at the Morning Report are made of stern stuff and will simply not be suckered by yet another awww-inspiring local creature. This is a firm stand that reflects our dedication to… Wait, a cute puppy and a baby cheetah have become buddies at the former Wild Animal Park? And there’s adorable video of the dog licking the cheetah? Oh the humanity!

I’m getting misty again. Darn these allergies!

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president-elect of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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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