In an local election season that’s been shaping up to be surprisingly anti-climatic, an intense Democrat-on-Democrat battle was brewing in the race for the 39th state Senate seat, which serves much of the city of San Diego and a few other coastal cities.

The race, which began with bad blood between the two over an alleged promise, is over. State Senator Marty Block, the incumbent, announced at the capitol that he was bowing out of his bid for his own seat. That means Toni Atkins, now the speaker of the state Assembly, is likely to win the seat in the Democratic-dominated district. (She’s termed out of the Assembly.)

Times of San Diego reports Block is looking “very seriously” at the job of overseeing the community college system for the state.

We Read the Filner Tell-All So You Don’t Have To

Liam Dillon collected the “5 Craziest Moments” described in the self-published tell-all memoir by Lee Burdick, the former chief of staff of former Mayor Bob Filner.  She says his office was bugged and has some upsetting details about what she knew about his actions.

Chargers Said to Expect Deal Pronto

It was another day of maddeningly minor developments in the Spanos watch — the wait to see what Chargers owner Dean Spanos will do with his team for the coming year.

Anonymous sources are out and about. The LA Times’ Sam Farmer cites a few laying out the two plausible scenarios for deal between the Rams and the Chargers to to both play in Inglewood. The U-T has the little birdies saying that the Chargers expect a deal with the Rams soon, possibly by the end of this week, the U-T reports, over a departure to L.A. A deal, however, doesn’t mean the team is moving.

They could just wave it in San Diego’s face for a year. Joy!

• Then there was this: The Chargers have launched plans to move their training facility to Orange County. (U-T)

• Finally, the NFL relocation drama took a turn again with the news that a casino powerhouse in Las Vegas was proposing a new stadium there that could accommodate an NFL team and the Raiders owner, Mark Davis, was set to pay a visit.

Special Podcast: Exit Interview for the U-T’s Editorial Voice

Scott Lewis conducted a special VOSD podcast interview with Bill Osborne, who’s retiring as editor of the U-T’s editorial page. He first started working for the Evening Tribune 44 years ago.

Among other topics, he talks about how he’s changed the way he refers to editorials: “We’re a little more careful now. We don’t say ‘the Union-Tribune believes.’ We more often now say ‘the editorial board believes’ or when we use the term we, the reference is to the editorial board, certainly not the newsroom.”

San Diego Explained: Affordable Housing in Tijuana

San Diego Explained, our video series with NBC 7, takes a look at Tijuana’s role as an alternative for San Diegans who are seeking affordable housing. The risk is that housing prices will go up and make life difficult for Mexicans who live there.

Solar Installers Notch Victory

In a victory of sorts for the solar industry, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to support a controversial pricing structure. Rates will go up for people who use solar power at their homes, but not as much as electricity companies wanted.

“The decision, which initially applies only to new solar panel systems, was viewed by some as a compromise,” the L.A. Times says. “But others say it’s a defeat for the utilities.”

For background, check our stories about the pricing debate and possible good news for solar users in San Diego.

Stormwater Standoff at City Hall

There was an interesting story yesterday in the Union-Tribune about the mayor’s staff refusing to meet with a San Diego City Council committee about flood and stormwater preparation.

Councilman David Alvarez said he’s never seen anything like it and even Councilman Scott Sherman expressed confusion about it as he also wanted to ask questions before an upcoming major storm.

The mayor didn’t respond to the U-T request for comment but later we got a memo about his perspective.

Law Doesn’t Stop Debt-Packed Loans

Remember capital appreciation bonds? Those are the loans that school districts embraced until they encountered bad national publicity amid news that certain Poway-area property owners would cough up $1 billion to pay off a $105 million loan.

Politicians and watchdogs were horrified, and the state legislature passed a bill to discourage them. How’d that work out? The Bond Buyer journal has the answer: “Issuance of capital appreciation bonds by California school and community college districts more than tripled from 2014 to 2015 despite a law designed to limit their use of the bond structure.”

1930s ‘Sin Ship’ Reappears in Coronado

The U-T and NBC 7 have nifty photos of the remains of a rusted 1930s pleasure ship on the beach of Coronado. The rusting hulk has once again been uncovered by storms.

“Evangelists throughout San Diego County and Southern California devoted their whole sermons to sin ships: ‘May God let forth His wrath!,’” a fan of the shipwreck tells NBC 7. “When it did break moorings and crashed, they took credit.”

Booze cruises along the San Diego coast were big business during Prohibition. One booze cruise, in fact, produced one of the most biggest celluloid scandals of all time. As I put it in a VOSD history flashback, “It’s one of the great mysteries of Hollywood: Did a famous newspaper magnate try to shoot Charlie Chaplin in a yacht off San Diego and end up killing a filmmaker instead?”

Quick News Hits: Snack Attack

• Councilwoman Lorie Zapf dismissed concerns about police surveillance cameras in Ocean Beach and says they’ll be installed soon. (NBC 7)

• In a recent Morning Report, we said it would be cool if the city of San Diego allowed residents to comment online about City Council agenda items. Well, turns out, they already can and we were wrong.

• An animal control specialist says she’s appalled by the cruel trapping of a raccoon in a Clairemont park with a specialized device. “We have a very sadistic person in our community,” she said. The raccoon had to be killed.

• Maybe it has something to do with our Midwestern heritage. Or perhaps we’re just a tad bland. For whatever reason, national companies like to use San Diego as a test market that represents the U.S. as a whole.

Not long ago, McDonald’s tested all-day breakfast here. Now, the chain is serving Egg McMuffins (Eggs McMuffin?) 24/7 all around the country, and it’s expanding its breakfast menu during non-a.m. hours.

An interesting tidbit: McMuffin sandwiches include biscuits instead of English muffins in some part of the country. So we can get regional variation in Mickey D dishes? Hello, Fish McTacoMuffin!

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 is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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