Looks like we’ll see a new president — and possibly even a new mayor — before the city finally gets around to actually taking a serious look at whether it could get a better deal on ambulance services. Never mind that city officials first raised this idea three mayors ago.

“City officials have been hoping that a new contract would allow them to better monitor ambulance response times across the city,” VOSD’s Liam Dillon reports. But a variety of hitches keep getting in the way, including the law.

Election Roundup: DeMaio Gets Fryed

• Former Councilwoman and almost-mayor Donna Frye resurfaced yesterday to call on congressional candidate Carl DeMaio to stop referring to a supposedly cozy working relationship between she and him. “I do not support him or trust him, and I want the public to know that. Mr. DeMaio, please stop using my name to promote your campaign unless you tell the public the full story.” (Times of SD) The U-T story on Frye’s remarks also notes that the US Chamber has announced it will run ads against DeMaio. It’s unclear whether the group is spending real money or just making a show, but it’s yet more fallout from the row between the candidate and the group Scott Lewis analyzed here.

• KPBS offers an exhaustive look at the allegations surrounding congressional candidate Carl DeMaio. The only thing that’s not encyclopedic: The responses from DeMaio’s campaign. It’s refusing to respond to reporters’ questions on the matter.

• But DeMaio was on the hot seat with San Diego 6’s Heather Myers and for the first time, he said that a controversial email sent from his account to two staffers was actually sent by one of the staffers who received it and not him. (That exchange begins at minute 4:00.) That’s significant because when the email first leaked, DeMaio implied the email was not real. Now he’s saying it’s real, it’s just not his work.

Myers also made Peters squirm the day before.

Commentary: Room to Grow Business in South Bay

In a commentary for VOSD, County Supervisor Greg Cox has a suggestion for people who worry about whether San Diego has space to expand business: Look south. No, not that far south. He’s talking about South County, which he represents: “A quick look at some of the projects on the horizon here shows huge amounts of capital are targeted for investment in South County. Consider the Chula Vista bayfront, further development of Brown Field, construction of the Millenia housing and office urban core in East Chula Vista and more.”

Today in Danger: Ebola, Guardrails, Homeless

• “Anyone arriving in California from an Ebola-affected area and who has had personal contact with a person infected with the deadly virus will be quarantined for 21 days, according to an order issued Wednesday by the state’s public health director,” the LA Times reports.

Nurses, meanwhile, have been questioning whether UC Medical Center in Hillcrest can actually handle Ebola patients. (U-T)

• Caltrans has no idea where potentially dangerous highway guardrails are, but they may be along roads all over the state. “We’re going to go out there and make sure that we positively identify what systems are in place, the manufacturer and the location,” a spokesman said. (OC Register)

• The traditional stereotype of a transient might be a wrinkled old guy with mental problems, but the LA Times says beach towns like San Diego are grappling with another variety — the young homeless known as “urban travelers” or “crust punks.” They can be “gritty” and “violent,” says the paper, which quotes San Diego Councilman Ed Harris about those lighting illegal campfires in Ocean Beach: “They can be very aggressive and very disruptive… We don’t want it to be a crime to be homeless, but we should not be as tolerant in the beach communities as we have been. We’re making it too easy to be a homeless traveling person.”

Quick News Hits

• The AP has a guide on new potential rules on how for-profit colleges can tap into federal student aid. It could have major impacts on businesses like San Diego’s Bridgepoint Education.

The city has turned down an application from a marijuana shop that wants to open up near Sports Arena, saying it’s too close to parkland, specifically Mission Bay Park. Well, as the crow flies, that is. There’s actually a freeway and a river separating shop from park, the U-T notes, but the city is unswayed by the actual practicalities of getting from Pot Shop A to Park B.

• Balboa Park will get a big wi-fi upgrade and smartphone apps. (NBC 7 San Diego)

• About 12 years after scandal hit the local Red Cross, the national Red Cross has a big black eye: “The Red Cross botched key elements of its mission after Sandy and Isaac, leaving behind a trail of unmet needs and acrimony, according to an investigation by ProPublica and NPR.”

• The percentage of uninsured residents in San Diego has fallen from 17 percent in 2013 to 10 percent in 2014, according to new data reported in the NY Times. “The law has done something rather unusual in the American economy this century: It has pushed back against inequality, essentially redistributing income — in the form of health insurance or insurance subsidies — to many of the groups that have fared poorly over the last few decades.”

• SeaWorld seems to be skipping the Rose Parade this year, possibly because a float last year drew a PETA protest. (LA Weekly)

• City Deli, the landmark restaurant in Hillcrest, reopened as the bizarrely named Harvey Milk’s American Diner last year. (It was never clear what the late San Francisco politician and gay icon Harvey Milk had to do with food outside of his last name.) The restaurant had a hard time making ends meet, and recently shut down after it had failed to fully pay its staff. Now, the owners say the restaurant will not reopen. (sdgln.com)

Something Wicked This Way Lives

As we told you a while back, San Diego has its share of hidden shadows under the sun: We have one of the most famous haunted houses in the country (it even spawned a straight-to-video movie that must be as classy as it sounds), a sad true-life fatal mystery from 1892 at the Hotel Del Coronado, and South Bay’s very own campfire-style urban legend of a serial killer.

We even have a popular city park that’s actually a cemetery with bodies still beneath and, of all things, a graveyard for tombstones.

Now, there’s something to add to this spooky collection: one of the most notable “extreme haunts” in the country, a kind of horrific, 4-to 7-hour deal for those who want to experience the rough equivalent of a “Saw” movie with 28 actors on board. A KPBS writer went on an excursion with blindfold on and… Well, I’ll let her tell you the rest of the disturbing story.

Yikes. I’m going to go watch something more relaxing to settle my nerves after reading about this. Maybe “Poltergeist” is on.

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 randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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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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