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It’s that time, friends.

We’re in the midst of settling on a Voice of the Year.

This will be our third incarnation of Voice of the Year. But it’s still new enough that it’s worth revisiting what it is – and what it is not. Most important to remember is that being included on the list is not necessarily an honor. It can be, but what we’re seeking to highlight is the folks who forced us to have a conversation about an issue that we wouldn’t have otherwise. People whose voice and/or actions provoked a dialogue.

Our first-ever Voice of the Year was Bob Filner. This was after the scandal. It wasn’t an award, it was an acknowledgment that for better or worse, Filner impacted our civic dialogue far more intensely than anyone else that year – we debated our investment in neighborhoods, development, the structure of city leadership, and eventually, sexual harassment, in a way we never would have without his voice.

Last year, Voice of the Year went to the SeaWorld agitators – the protesters, filmmakers and lawmakers who made us examine the trade-offs we make for a business that provides jobs to our residents, shelter to animals in danger and sweet cash for our city coffers. It didn’t matter where you landed on the SeaWorld vs. animal rights debate – their actions forced us to talk about it.

Another thing to keep in mind about this project is that it isn’t just a list of the biggest news stories of the year. Plenty of stories have fascinating and newsworthy elements but no real voice leading the way. This is specifically about people who amplified an issue or set of issues.

We’ve working our way through an internal list. If you feel strongly about who the Voice of the Year should be, drop me a line.

What VOSD Learned This Week

For many of us, this week kicked off a month-long gluttonous rampage. But there are far too many folks in San Diego who don’t have enough to eat during every week of the year.

Some of the people who service the hungry have been wondering why San Diego has two separate but nearby food banks. One of the organizations has tried to initiate merger talks with the other multiple times but has been rebuffed. Though a merger might cut down on overhead and make things easier for the groups that deal with both food banks, Feeding America San Diego, the group that doesn’t want to merge, says the region is served well by both groups and that they work better separately. Still, advocates believe the food banks could do more to collaborate better.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber wrote an op-ed for us this week urging for more collaboration between groups like the food banks that serve the hungry.

And what about people who produce their own food? Our North County freelancer Ruarri Serpa wrote a guide to the fight over suburban farms in Encinitas.

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After initially refusing, the city handed over the term sheet its sent the NFL – and the NFL’s response – to us, after we threatened litigation. Scott Lewis’ take: “Turns out, the NFL’s concerns mirror the Chargers’. The city and county cannot guarantee the team a new stadium or provide a timeline on when it would happen. The NFL officials pointed to the uncertainties that go along with a vote.”

Felix Tinkov, a lawyer who’s donated his time to helping our reporters obtain records from agencies across the state, explains on the latest podcast how he’s been able to press public agencies to cough up public documents. (Yes, this is what we’re up against. We often need a lawyer – sometimes multiple lawyers – to get public records.)

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There’s been some movement on the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation’s decade-long push to develop 60 acres it own in southeastern San Diego.

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An economist from UCSD thinks we’re doing water-pricing wrong.

What I’m Reading

I’m not gonna lie to you guys. It was a light reading week for me. Here are a few stories that did cross my radar. I’ve also been cozied up with “The Turner House” by fellow USC alum and all-around badass Angela Flournoy, which was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Amanda Hess gives us a window into what the weird, terrifying period after the Sony hack was like for employees there. (Slate)

Internet trolls have mastered the art of “swatting” – exploiting our super-militarized police by making fake emergency calls to send police to a target’s home. (New York Times Magazine)

How Chicago tried to cover up a police execution. (Chicago Reporter)

No one does in-depth campaign reporting as well as Molly Ball. Her latest explores how Donald Trump’s campaign has gone from “a larkish piece of political performance art” to “something darker.”  (The Atlantic)

Line of the Week

“So many of my associates that I talk to actually thoroughly enjoy today because it’s a great experience for us to have fun with our customers on one of the busiest days of the year,” – Kmart President Alisdair James to Buzzfeed News, on why Kmart was opening at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. (Paging Lorena Gonzalez.)

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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