Balboa Park’s California Tower sticks out as a landmark in San Diego and was made famous by an appearance in the classic film “Citizen Kane.” But it’s really dirty, Randy Dotinga writes, mostly because of poor drainage and an expensive clean-up process.

“Long vertical dark streaks mar the sides,” Dotinga writes, “which are primarily caused by mildew.” One expert estimated it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to wash the mess off the tower, due to the complexity of cleaning such a unique structure.

This is the first of many big and small questions we’ll be answering about the mysteries of life in San Diego in a new series we’re calling “What’s The Deal?”

An Age-Old Question for Parents

The age at which a child can be placed into the school system doesn’t actually rely completely the child’s age. It can also depend on the parents’ income, as Mario Koran points out.

“If they qualify, kids can actually start public school as early as 2,” Koran writes in the latest installment of The Learning Curve, his series where he answers questions about how schools work. Qualifying means parents earn less than a limit set by California. On the other end of the spectrum, people with greater incomes can pay for private schooling whenever they’d like. It’s the people with middle incomes, who aren’t poor or wealthy, who feel the preschool pinch.

“Despite the value of (public) preschool seats, the district can’t fill up the ones they have,” Koran reports.

The Port’s Role: San Diego Explained

Parks, hotels, restaurants, convention centers – they all share one thing in common: If they’re located along the San Diego Bay waterfront, they all come under the domain of the Port of San Diego. The Port’s board of commissioners, made up of delegates from cities throughout San Diego County, are the landlords of all that is at the water’s edge. Ashly McGlone and NBC 7’s Catherine Garcia highlighted some critical decisions the commissioners will soon have to make in our most recent San Diego Explained.

• One near-term decision? What to do with the famous Anthony’s Fish Grotto restaurant after its lease expires in 2017. The board will consider that question Tuesday, the Union-Tribune reports.

The Stadium Game

In case you hadn’t heard, Mayor Kevin Faulconer is telling the NFL that 51 percent of San Diegans would approve of taxpayer money going toward a new stadium. But never mind that; public money has already been set aside for the effort. NBC 7 reports how $500-per-hour lawyers are getting paid out of a special $500,000 fund set aside and jointly funded by the city and the county. So far the New York law firm has collected $81,000 for its efforts to keep the Chargers in San Diego.

Meanwhile, even without a finalized plan to build a stadium there, the NFL wants to sell you tickets to games in Los Angeles. If you are one of those rare Rams-Raiders-Chargers fans, you might want to get in line early.

• Sydney Seau has said she won’t criticize the NFL when she speaks about her father, Junior Seau, this weekend as he’s inducted into the Hall of Fame. But a sports writer over at Vice makes a good case that it’s just a matter of time until someone steps up to the NFL and calls it out for the role the game plays in the destruction of the brains of its most senior players.

Where They Go From Here

From the years 2010 to 2011, thousands more people left San Diego County than moved in, according to data released by the Internal Revenue Service and compiled by the website Governing. The data gives a rare glimpse at where people are moving to when they leave the county and how much economic value they take with them.

Earlier this year, Andrew Keatts took a look at how SANDAG compiles its forecasts for San Diego County’s growth, and discovered that ever since the Cold War, San Diego has grown in population mostly from new people being born here and not new people moving in.

All of the Tweets, All of the Tweets

• Local businessman Michael Robertson caught the eye of a New Republic reporter thanks to his thoughts about how women’s brains differ from men’s.

• Councilman Mark Kersey said he’s still working on a big infrastructure plan, with plans to be revealed before winter.

• Seriously, don’t drive down University Avenue near Florida Street this weekend.

News Nibbles

• SDG&E wants to stick consumers with the bill the company owes to homeowners whose houses burned in a fire that SDG&E was found liable for. (KPBS)

• The city’s top auditor says San Diego’s financial position has dramatically improved since its low point in 2005. (KPBS)

SeaWorld’s profits are down 84 percent “as customers have deserted the controversial aquatic theme park.” (The Guardian)

• Hillary Clinton is in La Jolla on Friday and wants to have a conversation, if you can afford it. (10 News)

Containerize Your Home

It’s the dream of every San Diegan: to move away, become moderately wealthy and move back to San Diego to live inside a fancy shipping container. For around $65,000, this dream can be yours too, as it is for Scott Crosby and his family of five, according to the New York Times.

“He was looking for an affordable way to add space to the house,” writes the Times, so he ordered the unit right from his phone. The company he ordered it from even deals with San Diego’s complex permitting process for him. Nobody will give you a home loan on a shipping container though, so you’ve got to come with cash, for now.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at or follow him Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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