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How do San Diego and Los Angeles compare? If you ask San Diegans, we might reveal a little bit of an inferiority complex (surely we think of them more than they think of us) while we reel off a list of ways we’re better.

Fair enough. But there are differences that we’re not even aware of. Here’s one: According to a new analysis, San Diego is much more suburban than our neighbors to the north.

“Just three of the country’s 10 largest cities were predominantly suburban: San Diego, Phoenix and San Antonio,” reports VOSD’s Andrew Keatts. According to the analysis, not even half of San Diego fits its definition of “urban,” compared with 87 percent in L.A.

What does this mean? It suggests we live farther from our neighbors, on the whole, than Los Angelenos do. And it also suggests we have a lot of work to do to reach the levels of density — fitting more people into less land — that fit the city’s professed desire for a “city of villages,” dense pockets clustered around transit.

• Speaking of L.A., the city of Carson is trying to woo the Bolts. But “a town hall billed as the first chance for Carson residents to hear from the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders about building a joint-use complex in their city didn’t go as planned,” NBC 7 reports. Nobody made any presentation, and the Raiders — all together now, BOOO! — didn’t even show up. Pirates are so unreliable.

Meanwhile, San Diego city officials are trying to convince NFL officials in New York City that the Chargers are off their rockers when it comes to blowing off stadium plans. (U-T)

Department of ‘Wait, What?’: Confederate Campus

You might’ve thought the raging debate over Confederate symbols on government property was confined to the South. But San Diego has an elementary school apparently named after Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general. How did that happen? And more relevant: Should it be changed? Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is leading the effort to do just that, the U-T reports.

San Diego’s school was named in 1959. The district, in a masterpiece of jargon, declares that this “a wonderful opportunity to have a larger community dialogue with students, staff and families about the school name and look at the history and research surrounding Lee in order to make a collectively informed decision about changing the name or retaining it.”

There are also questions about a school in Long Beach with the same name. A columnist there “finds it astounding that there is still an elementary school named for Robert E. Lee, this country’s most renowned traitor.” A previous effort by the newspaper there led to the stripping of the name of “racist California governor Peter Burnett” (our first governor) from an elementary school.

By the way, the few voters who lived in San Diego around the time of the Civil War tended to be sympathetic to the South. In a history flashback, I uncovered the surprising fact that Abraham Lincoln lost both his elections in San Diego County.

Judge to Anti-Gay Measure: Get Lost

• Say goodbye to the kill-all-gays “Sodomite Suppression Act” ballot initiative. A judge has put it out of our misery. (Slate)

• “The ability of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and other utilities to engage in back-channel talks with top California Public Utilities Commission officials unfairly skews decisions in favor of big-money interests, and the practice should be banned in rate cases, a review requested by the state agency concluded Monday,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

• “In July, California will become the first state in the country to allow transgender individuals to have their gender identity listed on their death certificate,” KQED reports.

Local Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, speaker of the Assembly, spearheaded the legislation after hearing about a San Diego native whose death certificate didn’t record his identity as a man — even though his driver’s license did. “The new law also clarifies that if there’s a dispute — if relatives want the person’s birth sex recorded, for example — a driver’s license will trump family opinion.”

• If you’re of a certain age, you may remember seeing black California license plates with yellow lettering from the 1960s. Guess what: They’re back, and they cost just $45, straight from Folsom Prison. (L.A. Times)

Culture Report: Meet the Air Shuttle

VOSD’s weekly Culture Report takes note of the latest wild idea in a long line of wacky proposals for the waterfront — an aerial skyway from downtown to Balboa Park. Somehow, this is only expected to cost $65 million-$75 million and potentially be done by — get this — 2020.

Also in the Culture Report: and a borrowed Vermeer painting at the Timken (it’s a loan from a museum in Holland that borrowed the Timken’s stunning Rembrandt).

Quick News Hits: Remember This

• “Hundreds of Mexican farmworkers have been stranded along the U.S. border for two weeks after a U.S. government computer failure left them unable to obtain visas sought for them by Washington state cherry growers,” Al Jazeera reports.

• The county is working to station more deputies on public school campuses in the unincorporated parts of the county. (U-T)

• The landmark Palomar hospital in the downtown area of Escondido may close as patients go to the new Palomar hospital nearby. (NBC 7)

• UCSD researchers have found evidence that trans fat may cause men under 45 to lose some of their memory powers.

Huh. Considering the fried food options at the Del Mar Fair this summer (among them: “Wasabi Bacon Fries with grilled onions and peppers, Chicken-Fried Bacon, bacon in chicken-fried steak batter and the 10 feet of Bacon-on-a-Stick”), it’s amazing that any younger men can remember where they parked their cars.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member 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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