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Local politicians have been coming around to support the idea, but the concept of turning sewage into drinking water still gives some people the heebie-jeebies. Headline writers aren’t helping. Consider this recent one: “Why Californians Will Soon Be Drinking Their Own Pee.”
Well, guess what: We’re already drinking our own urine. Not to mention the urine of countless animals and other body products. As we note in a new story, “sewage recycling produces cleaner water than what comes out of our taps now. We primarily get water from the Colorado River and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta — neither of which is pee-free.”
Still, pee-phobia is a powerful force. Just ask Portland, Ore., which has had some giant recent freak-outs over urine in a reservoir. Officials actually drained the reservoir, annoying sites like Slate: “The decision seems to be based on some combination of chemophobia, homeopathy, and pee shame.”
Fun fact via Slate: “Urine is 95 percent water. (If you’re ever trapped in rubble after a natural disaster, go ahead and drink it.)”
Slate suggests that Portland show its concern about health by fluoridating its darned water already. Not that we can talk: San Diego only got on the fluoridation train in 2011.
When the Boss Sets the Rules for Herself
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis wrote a college recommendation letter for the son of one of the players in a big campaign finance investigation, but she won’t cough it up to the media. The U-T finds that the DA’s office has something called “Special Directive 33” — very clandestine-sounding! — that forbids employees from writing reference letters on DA letterhead without permission and says “it would be improper to use DA letterhead to write a letter of reference for a relative or friend.”
In this case, the recommendation appears to be for the son of an acquaintance. A spokesman essentially said the DA can do what she wants and ignore the directive.
The U-T earlier found that other elected officials promptly disclosed college recommendation letters when asked for them.
District’s Short-Timer Digs In
A defeated Richard Nixon famously told the press that it wouldn’t have him to kick around anymore. Try to think about the reverse for eternally boiling-over San Diego school board member Scott Barnett: He’s not going to have virtually everyone to kick around anymore, at least from behind a microphone.
Barnett is stepping down when his current term ends, but he’s been going on a farewell tour of sorts.
In the latest episode of the VOSD Radio Show and Expanded Podcast, Barnett lets ‘er rip once again but also explains how his self-described rants might be paying off.
Also: Our Goat of the Week is a power-ful player in our world: SDG&E.
Why Your Startup Might End-Down
We’ve been focusing a lot on how to make San Diego more friendly to startups. Here’s some food for thought: A big New Yorker article warns that many of our assumptions about innovation — buzzword alert! — are based on dubious data and not helpful in making predictions. “Disruptive innovation is a theory about why businesses fail,” the article says. “It’s not more than that. .. It makes a very poor prophet.”
But in at least one way, perhaps, past performance can still help us forecast future events: “Three out of four startups fail. More than nine out of ten never earn a return.”
Quick News Hits
• The Padres’ general manager is out. (U-T)
• “Even while mired in a drought, Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers have been unable to strike a compromise on a new water bond that will have far-reaching implications for the San Diego region in the decades to come,” the U-T reports.
At issue are plans to ask voters in November to allow the state to borrow billions of dollars.
• A drone’s video of that Chula Vista yacht fire the other day is “hauntingly beautiful.”
• Speaking of the November ballot, those people in favor of six separate California states — check our earlier story here to understand the weirdness that they’re up to — held a petition-drive surge this weekend. (L.A. Times)
• Woo-hoo! We have many more museums and libraries than gun stores. Take that, Orange County! (Washington Post)
But wait. We have 336 libraries and museums? Good heavens.
• The county might spend $75,000 to study building a gondola to transport people between Balboa Park and downtown, the U-T reports.
• SeaWorld isn’t alone in being attacked for its treatment of animals in captivity. Zoos are getting zinged in a new book that says being held captive leads many animals to suffer and go crazy.
The author “chides us for our delusion ‘that it is our right to see exotic wildlife like gorillas, dolphins, and elephants in every major American city … especially since it often costs the animals their sanity,’” Slate writes in a story about the book.
Yikes. But what if gorillas could take those gondola rides to downtown from our own zoo? They could cheer themselves up with some shopping like the rest of us do.
It’s a win-win! Well, except for those of us who don’t really need to see gorillas strolling around in sundresses and sunglasses from Horton Plaza.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.