We have ourselves a race! At the latest count, Rep. Scott Peters and challenger Carl DeMaio were separated by just 752 votes — less than a percentage point in their contest to represent the California’s 52nd Congressional District. DeMaio led by a couple percentage points in early returns, but began to gradually close the gap as the slow-as-molasses counting went on.
• San Diego school board president Kevin Beiser easily won another term, and Republican Chris Cate will be a new councilman, preventing the Democrats from keeping a veto-proof City Council majority.
• The other local congressional and state legislative races held no surprises.
• Voters in the Poway Unified School District, which serves part of the city of San Diego in addition to the city of Poway, seemed to be firing two incumbent board members who supported that ultra-messy school borrowing scheme that we have covered closely.
• La Mesa’s Mayor Art Madrid, who’s been on the job for nearly a quarter century, got fired by voters at the age of 80, and voters supported term limits to keep someone else from being mayor for a generation.
• VOSD contributing photographer Dustin Michelson traveled around the city in search of candidates, voters, activists and politicians who aren’t running but want to lend a hand. You can take a gander at several of his photos here.
Statewide, Dems the Breaks for GOP
As expected, Democrats had a fantastic day on the state level, with Gov. Jerry Brown being re-elected for a final term and other Democrats winning easily. Props. 45 and 46, about health insurance regulation and medical malpractice, both failed, while the water bonds and prison sentence reductions won.
Voices of the Voters: Where Are the Voters? Edition
Poll workers didn’t have much to do in the San Diego neighborhood of Mira Mesa on Election Day, never mind that they actually have a contested City Council seat to worry — or not — about. At a middle school polling place, VOSD reporting intern Michelle Monroy found, the turnout by mid-day was only about 70 people.
But one woman who made it — on crutches, even — said voting’s worth the effort, especially to support Gov. Jerry Brown. “For a cranky old dude, he’s been doing a pretty good job on getting us back on track,” she said. Another voter, a marketing specialist, said he supported DeMaio because of the nastiness of the campaign against him: “It made me feel more convinced that it should not be his opponents.”
• In Rancho Peñasquitos, a voter supported the GOP’s Chris Cate for City Council, but refused to give her vote to another Republican — DeMaio. The Democrat, Peters, was “the best of two evils,” VOSD reporter Lisa Halverstadt discovered during a visit to a polling place there.
• A quirky polling place is a blessing if you like to tell jokes. Just ask me: I got a few giggles out of voting at the Clairemont Mortuary for a couple years. Yesterday, VOSD reporting intern Matthew Hose dropped by there and more traditional polling places — a church and a high school. He found a meager turnout but passion amid the voters who did show up.
Culture Report: The Alchemy of Art Labs
VOSD’s Culture Report is out with its weekly look at all things artistic and cultural in our fair county. Highlights include news about the annual Art Labs presentations in Balboa Park, an exhibit that links Gaugin with Andy Warhol, a guy who calls himself ERRE and the 20th anniversary of the San Diego Jewish Book Festival.
Quick News Hits: The Name Game
• Problem-plagued Bridgepoint Education, the San Diego-based private for-profit higher-education company, is laying off hundreds. (U-T)
• San Diego used just 3 percent less water in September compared to last year, a new report says, while some other parts of the county like Poway, Escondido and sections of East County and South Bay saved significantly more. (KPBS)
• Four young cheetah cubs are on display at the former Wild Animal Park: two males (Wgasa and Refu) and two females (Pumzika and Mahala).
Old-timers may remember the Wgasa monorail line at the park, which took visitors to look at the animals. Ah, Wgasa. Such an African-sounding name. And such a hoax, of sorts: It has nothing to do with any continent anywhere. In fact, as we revealed in a Fact Check a while back, Wgasa actually stands for “Who Gives a Shit Anyways?”
Believe it. The son of the park’s late designer confirmed that his father came up with the acronym after spouting those words at a planning meeting, and another official said it’s all true.
Now comes the big question. Some moms, like mine, prefer to use the embarrassing full names of their kids when they’re mad. Will Mama Cheetah spell out Wgasa’s name when she’s miffed at him? Let’s hope so.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga..