Craft beer is big business in San Diego, as endless news stories have pointed out, and businesses have tried offering upscale donuts, fancy milkshakes (whither, ShakeAway?) and gourmet vegan peanut butter (RIP, Spread).

But what about coffee? “We’re definitely one of the fastest-growing coffee cities right now,” says Daniel Green of InterContinental Coffee Trading, a local coffee importer.

Indeed, “craft coffee” is now a thing, and local brews are attracting international attention just like San Diego-based beers.

But “San Diego’s coffee is still much less recognized, celebrated and embraced than its craft beer counterpart — particularly by people at the city, county and the tourism board,” writes our Kinsee Morlan. She sat down with rive local coffee gurus to discuss their industry’s growth and its challenges as it tries to capture the attention of powerful people.

A Rival Enters Race to Replace Foster

Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, a retired San Diego Unified educator, is joining the race to replace disgraced school board member Marne Foster, who’s resigned. She ran previously in 2004 but wasn’t elected. She joins LaShae Collins, an aide to Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, in the race.

Kersey Ballot Measure for Infrastructure Takes Step Toward Ballot

San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey’s plan to set aside future growth in city revenues for infrastructure took a step Tuesday that ensures it still has a chance to make the June ballot. ”

“San Diego is closer to finally having a long-term dedicated funding stream for infrastructure, reflecting the priorities of our citizens,” Kersey wrote in a statement.

Councilman David Alvarez, was not impressed. “Only in government do we say it’s an accomplishment to solve a 5 year problem in 25 years,” Alvarez wrote. Here’s an earlier analysis of the challenges with the idea by Liam Dillon.

Children’s Park? More like Crime Park USA

Its name is a bit obscure, but you might be familiar with “Children’s Park,” a shady plot of land near the convention center that’s dotted with pine trees. The city created the downtown park back in 1996 with an eye toward making it a destination for families.

Well, it’s a destination all right — for cops seeking criminals. Cops have responded to the park hundreds of times over the last few years, NBC 7 reports, and transients camp out there. “You have these mounds, and collectively it really creates an opportunity for folks not to be seen, and that’s certainly not good for children,” said Councilman Todd Gloria.

He’s calling for a redesign of the park, a project that was approved back in 2011 but died due to lack of funding.

Museum Director, 2-Time Quitter, Embraces Artist Within

A couple years ago, a man named Daniel Foster quit as director of the Oceanside Museum of Art. Then he un-quit. Then he quit again.

Now, as VOSD’s weekly Culture Report explains, we now know more about why Foster resigned: He wanted to embrace the artist and poet inside him. Now, a show will exhibit his work.

“So this show is my big coming out,” he says. “This inner world that I have not shown to even some of my family, my friends and my closest relations — they really weren’t privy to this activity — I’m ready to show it now.”

Also in the Culture Report: a surprising commenter perspective about the fate of Balboa Park’s Starlight Theatre (bulldoze it because it’s a lousy place for performances), an embrace of a former director’s ideas at the Timken (even though the director left mysteriously in 2014) and a copyright kerfuffle over the Cardiff Kook.

Not So Ship-Shape, Exxon?

Now this is weird: Consumer advocates claim that Exxon avoided putting an oil tanker to work to help restore gas supplies to Southern California after a refinery explosion. The purpose, they claim, was to keep gas prices high.

The L.A. Times has the story, which includes a detail-challenged denial from Exxon. Meanwhile, the national average gas price has dipped to $1.74 a gallon, a price you’re not likely to find anywhere in Southern California.

El Niño: Hot to Trot?

No rain, and it’s hot outside. Has El Niño dried up? Maybe not. In a twist — or a sign of stubborn, never-say-die meteorology — there’s now talk that El Niño is behind all this summertime weather in February.

“The high pressure that we have now … is being created from a tremendous amount of storms that are sitting out in the central Pacific,” a forecaster tells KPBS. We’re just on the “wrong side.”

What’s to come? Possibly more storms at the end of the month and toward the spring. “The storms that we saw in January were perfect examples of storms that were magnified by El Niño — the wind, the lightning, the heavy rain,” the forecaster says. “And we easily could get back into that pattern.”

New L.A. Stadium to Be Modernist Monster

If San Diego ever gets around to approving a new football stadium, it might look to the one on tap in L.A. as an example of what to do (or what not to do). The L.A. Times takes a closer look at the plans, noting that the stadium will be a va-va-voom Modernist icon — not a classic refined beauty like the Coliseum — and will be built on the “last great empty non-industrial parcel anywhere near the geographical center of Los Angeles.”

The stadium will include a performance venue and a roof that’s “visually dramatic and more than a little overwrought.” (Sounds like Southern California in miniature.)

Overall, the stadium is likely to be a “well-appointed, over-the-top showpiece.” Never mind what it’s called. To me, the stadium shall known now, always and forever, as Beyoncé.

Quick News Hits: Picky, Picky, Picky

Today may be Judgment Day for the executive director of the state Coastal Commission, which is supposed to safeguard the coastline. The possibility that the commission may oust its head honcho is outraging environment groups and their allies, who “have registered vociferous opposition, arguing that the commission’s real motive is to shift the agency more toward development interests.” (L.A. Times/NY Times)

• Former star quarterback and now TV football analyst Terry Bradshaw had some unkind words for Chargers owner Dean Spanos.

• The guys from “American Pickers” are heading to San Diego in search of junk that could be worth a bundle: “Vintage bicycles, toys, unusual radios, movie memorabilia, advertising, military items, folk art, pre-50’s western gear, early firefighting equipment, vintage musical equipment, automotive items, and clothing.”

Just get in touch with the production crew at — and we’re not making it up — 855-OLD-RUST. I might give them a ring about my parents’ overflowing garage and attic in North County. Hey, Amelia Earhart, Judge Crater and Jimmy Hoffa have got to be somewhere.

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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