Democrats in the state legislature, led by San Diego’s Lorena Gonzalez, passed a bill that would test mail-in voting for special elections — those that crop up when a politician leaves office (death, indictment, a job switch, that kind of thing) and a seat is open between regular elections. In other words, there would be no poll stations.

It would save millions but the GOP just isn’t into it.

How come? Ari Bloomekatz sought the answer. Here’s a surprising fact: the Dems were against it first before they were for it. And it originated from the county of San Diego’s Board of Supervisors, not a liberal bunch.

The bill made it, and it’s up to the governor whether it becomes official.

Inside the New SeaWorld Lawsuit

We dig into a new lawsuit against SeaWorld by an investor who says the company failed to let stockholders know about troubled waters on the financial front due to the brouhaha over the treatment of killer whales.

• While a lawsuit forced the San Diego airport to put up advertisements bashing SeaWorld, the airport in Orlando — home to another SeaWorld park — is refusing to play ball. It won’t display an ad “depicting a killer whale chomping on the leg of SeaWorld’s CEO.” (Orlando Sentinel)

School District Buys Armored Vehicle

The San Diego Unified school district has gotten itself some military surplus: a “mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle,” worth $730,000, for free. The idea, amazingly, is that it will protect kids with it, Inewsource reports. Says a district police captain: “Our idea is ‘How can we get in and pull out a classroom at a time of kids if there’s an active shooter?’” (Hmm. Call the cops, maybe?)

As More Inmates Die, Politicians Remain Mum

Since 2013, CityBeat has published story after story exposing a horrific pattern of inmate deaths at county jails.

CityBeat puts it bluntly in a new editorial: “no one who can do anything about the problem — the sheriff, whose department oversees the jails, and the county Board of Supervisors — seems to give a damn… We’ll continue to cover this appalling story; we hope that, one day, you’ll care.”

Mayor Wants More Money for Streets. However…

As we note in a new story, Mayor Kevin Faulconer thinks it would be a great idea to spend money fixing the city’s streets, storm drains and sidewalks. However, he doesn’t have a plan to keep the city’s streets, storm drains, buildings and sidewalks from continuing to deteriorate.

A Councilman’s Walk on the Poor Side

In a commentary published by San Diego Free Press, Council President Todd Gloria explains what it’s like to live on the minimum wage, which he wants to boost slightly beyond the state-mandated level. He wasn’t the only one to suffer by cutting his spending: “I knew this challenge would require a drastic reduction in what I was able to contribute to the local economy. I didn’t eat out this week. I didn’t dry clean my clothes. I skipped washing my car. The businesses that I did patronize saw far less of my money than they would in an average week.”

He even ran out of razors: “I know razors are an expensive toiletry, but I’ve never considered them to be a luxury. It gave me a far better understanding of the stress and fear that is constantly present in minimum wage households.”

• Fox 5 reports that the battle over the minimum wage in the city has turned violent, with scuffles breaking out: “One man has been stabbed by a pencil, another was chased down a street, and there is blame to be placed on both sides.”

Football TV Blackouts May Become History

As the NFL becomes an even bigger joke, there’s news that we may be exposed to more of it than ever before. The feds will soon consider whether to lift the rules that require games to be blacked out on local TV if they aren’t sold out. The Chargers have frequently triggered the rule.

The chairman of the FCC, which will make the call, writes in a USA Today commentary that the rules “are a bad hangover from the days when barely 40 percent of games sold out and gate receipts were the league’s principal source of revenue.”

Last year, VOSD’s Scott Lewis declared in a commentary that blackouts of Charger games are a great insult to taxpayers who subsidize the team, especially since the team has ways to avoid them.

Quick News Hits: Schools Spike

• There’s more news about that report on legal “pension spiking” among California public workers: the San Diego Unified school district “lacked documentation to justify pay increases granted to their employees immediately prior to retirement,” reports.

• Stephen “Stephanie” Meade, the no-shot Republican congressional candidate who’s getting more attention for his cross-dressing than any opinions he has, got into a tussle when he tried to convince GOP brass to endorse him: he “was declared out of order, grabbed by a sergeant of arms and dragged out of the room at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center in Mission Valley,” the U-T reports.

• The number of home sales is slumping in the county compared to last year, but home prices are up to a median (not average) price of $510,000, a new report says. (Times of San Diego)

• The number of reported violent crimes in the county for the first six months of the year remains low, a new report says, but reported rapes have risen by 20 percent. (Times of San Diego)

• The California State University system, which runs San Diego State and Cal State San Marcos, is warning that financial woes could force it to only accept students from community colleges. (LA Times)

• The Atlantic ponders “the new urban cemetery”: “There will always be a cemetery-like space,” the founder of a “Future Cemetery” said. “What’s going on right now is a rethinking of what the cemetery could be.”

We’ve written about the destitute dead and quirks (including a tombstone graveyard and a statue devoted to shoes) at Mt. Hope Cemetery, which the city of San Diego owns.

In a CityBeat article, author Amy Wallen strolls through Mt. Hope and its neighboring Greenwood Cemetery. Like me, she loves a good graveyard: “Over the years, my morning ritual introduced me to a ceramicist to the stars, a gentleman who played in a mariachi band during JFK’s inauguration, the woman who invented the poodle skirt.”

Oh to be a fly on the mausoleum wall. That gang must have a lot to talk about.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

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

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