No, the folks behind the botched Balboa Park centennial celebration weren’t corrupt. That’s the good news from a new city report that analyzed how the planned party turned out to be such a disaster.

The city auditor’s report “reiterates the picture that emerged when the whole thing first collapsed: an ill-conceived event that failed to generate interest from anyone who could fund it, exacerbated by a series of leadership missteps and bureaucratic hurdles,” reports VOSD’s Andrew Keatts. “Broadly, it concluded virtually everyone involved in the process failed at one thing or another.”

Our story examines the report in depth, poring over its detailed postmortem of the civic debacle that Keatts called a “burning bag of dog poo.” (Fact Check!)

The centennial celebration, by the way, is still happening in honor of the exposition that transformed the park and turned it into a major attraction. It won’t just be a sheet cake or a fruit plate from Costco, as some had predicted with tongue in cheek.

How New Laws Affect Farmer’s Markets

VOSD food bogger Clare Leschin-Hoar examines how new state laws will affect the food world in San Diego, particularly the farmer’s markets where some sellers have gotten in trouble lately. Leschin-Hoar also looks at the effects of new laws on food programs for the poor, on salmon harvesting and on an insecticide that may be killing off bees.

Politics Roundup: Campaign Ads Are Misleading (Surprise!)

There’s been a blizzard of TV commercials lately in the race for the congressional seat representing the state’s 52nd district. No wonder: It’s one of the only toss-up congressional races in the country.

We’ve told you about how an anti-Carl DeMaio TV ad is misleading. Now, the U-T finds that two new ads, one from each side, are turning the truth into taffy. The most egregious of the ads implies that Rep. Scott Peters got a payoff in stock proceeds by supporting military funding. But Peters didn’t vote for any bill that provided specific funding for the defense companies in question.

• KPBS checks in with two Latina women who are running for City Council posts in Escondido, the county’s fourth-largest city and one of the county’s major conservative strongholds despite a large Latino population. One of the women is running for mayor, while the other wants to represent one of the new council geographic districts that were created after a lawsuit claiming minorities weren’t represented.

• In the hotly contested District 6 San Diego City Council race, Carol Kim, the Democrat, accused Republican Chris Cate of either voter or tax fraud because he received a property tax credit for treating his Carlsbad home as his primary residence — the so-called homeowner’s exemption. But if he lived there, he wouldn’t live in District 6 and wouldn’t be eligible for the Council. Cate replied that he had informed the county of his move but the county bungled it. The county assessor confirmed. Cate’s allies called on Kim to apologize. Kim said he should have noticed he was getting a tax credit he didn’t deserve.

Now, how many other exemptions has the county bungled?

Poway School Board Chief Explains Bond Switch

In a commentary, Poway school board president Todd Gutschow defends the district’s decision to look into a controversial alternative to its infamous $1 billion borrow-now-pay-a-bundle-later bond scheme. In light of the changes in the economy since the initial borrowing plan was approved in 2011, “there is a lot of new information for the board to consider,” he writes.

Quick News Hits: Medic! Um, Stand By…

• Dave Maass, the former San Diego CityBeat reporter who moved to the Bay Area to work with the Electronic Frontier Foundation revealed that software the San Diego district attorney has been peddling to families to protect them from predators might be doing the opposite. In response, the DA issued a warning about it.

• CityBeat finds evidence that Rural/Metro, the city’s private ambulance provider, has isn’t doing as well as it might seem when it comes to quickly arriving on the scene after medical calls.

We’ve extensively covered the emergency response issue.

• The San Diego Police Department scores pretty well in a roundup of how the staffs of major police departments represent their communities when it comes to ethnicity. That’s the word from the news site, which looks at the controversial rules in some cities (but not San Diego) that require cops to live in the city they serve.

We’ve explored the SDPD’s ethnic representation of the community in a previous story.

• A new study says post-menopausal women in the San Diego area who live near freeways are more likely to have high blood pressure than women who live farther away. It’s not clear why; the higher rate holds up even when researchers take things like income into account.

• “As the state ends the fourth-driest water year on record with no guarantee of significant rain and snowfall this winter, Californians face the prospect of stricter rationing and meager irrigation deliveries for agriculture,” the LA Times reports.

• Correction: Yesterday’s Morning Report incorrectly credited Inewsource’s series of stories about people on life support to its news partner, KPBS. A video version of the series, by the way, aired this week on the national “PBS Newshour” show.

• A new California law will create the nation’s first state-wide regulations for companies that sell health insurance for pets. That’s good news. Now if I can just train the cat to wait on hold for three hours while he waits for the insurance company to decide if his hairball-removal claim is covered.

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:

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Randy Dotinga

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

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