The booming economy and the rise of the craft beer industrial complex — two not-unrelated phenomenons — have turned the hipster haven of North Park into a mecca for microbreweries.

That’s not all. Artisan food makers love North Park too: specialty bakers, upscale coffee roasters and even that (dearly departed) University Avenue peanut butter shop. But this trend is a creating a headache for city planners and community activists, reports VOSD contributor Jennifer McEntee.

The issue: The community’s blueprint doesn’t envision these kinds of businesses, which act a bit like food factories. A new blueprint is being drafted that aims to allow “light” manufacturing uses in North Park, although there are likely to be limits. “Getting the zoning right is very important,” says the chair of the local planning committee.

City Attorney Slings Mud, Gets Splashed

Politics has once again broken out in the world of local politics, followed by the requisite shock and horror from politicians. This time, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith started it at a Ted Cruz rally here last week. As he put it, “we believe in jobs, freedom and security. You know something? The Democrats don’t believe in these values.”

Ouch, said “the Democrats,” including those running for city attorney. Even the sole Republican candidate declared that “we can disagree without being disparaging.”

Goldsmith tells our Scott Lewis that he only meant his comments in the context of the presidential race, implying that he’s thinking specifically about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Meanwhile, Democratic city attorney candidate Rafael Castellanos attacks Goldsmith in a VOSD commentary, saying his comments “reflect the kind of politics that San Diego leaders do not easily tolerate.” He also says he’ll represent the city “without a political agenda” and then goes on to praise Democrats.

Goldsmith had a response to Castellanos’ response: “My political views have nothing to do with our office’s legal work.”

Balboa Park Boosters Show Some Muscle

The Balboa Park Conservancy, which has been taking on much of the park’s leadership responsibilities, is getting ready to figure out which projects need to go to the front of the line. In a meeting this week, park advocates talked about their priorities, such as improving accessibility (convenient parking is on the wish list), keeping things percolating on the financial and environmental fronts and preserving history. VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt has details.

No Charges Against Supervisor Dave Roberts

“San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has declined to file charges against County Supervisor Dave Roberts,” NBC 7 reports. “The news ends a months-long investigation into complaints alleging criminal misconduct by Roberts; the news comes amid an election year in which Roberts is running for re-election on June 7.”

Roberts, who represents much of the coastal parts of the county, has faced a variety of allegations regarding his behavior in the workplace. The county paid $300,000 to settle lawsuits; Roberts, the only Democrat on the County Board of Supervisors, has denied the allegations.

At Last, an Arrest in Jahi Turner Case

Fourteen years ago, the case of a missing 2-year-old boy named Jahi Turner became front-page news and captivated San Diego. At one point, searchers sifted through thousands of tons of garbage at the Miramar Landfill in a remarkable bid to find his body. As District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis puts it, this is “highest-profile unsolved cases in San Diego County.”

He remains missing today. And now, prosecutors have a suspect in custody: the boy’s stepfather, Tieray D. Jones, who was arrested in North Carolina this week. He will be charged with murder. (AP, City News Service)

It’s not clear why authorities now believe they have enough evidence to charge him. “In an earlier case,” a Maryland newspaper reports, “Jones had been scheduled to stand trial on a second-degree murder charge stemming from the shooting death of a 27-year-old man in Frederick on Aug. 30, 2000. Instead, the state dropped the charges, citing the disappearance or changed statements of nearly a dozen prosecution witnesses.” (Jahi was from Maryland.)

Culture Report: The Play’s the Thing at Donovan

An inmate at South Bay’s Donovan state prison isn’t just biding his time. As this week’s VOSD Culture Report explains, he’s writing plays and collaborating with other prisoners as part of the Playwrights Project. “It’s not just writing plays, see,” he says in a video recording. “I wrote a play about my dad, who committed suicide. That helped me deal with something that I … haven’t dealt with and helped me deal with it for the first time ever.”

The Donovan program has been resurrected after budget cuts, and a staged reading of a play will be presented at SDSU. “There’s just not that many opportunities to hear from individuals who are incarcerated,” the head of the program says. “Seeing the plays they write gives people a unique chance to learn about their reflections on life.”

Also in the Culture Report: The initial stirrings of a Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center, a moment in the sun for San Diego artist Robert Irwin and the departure of KPBS’s premier arts enthusiast after 12 years on the job.

Loched and Loaded

An Ocean Beach man “had a close encounter of the bizarre kind with seven-time San Diego mayoral candidate Loch David Crane,” NBC 7 reports.

Bizarre encounter? That sounds positively redundant. Among other things, Crane is the guy known for driving around on a homemade three-wheeled “Star Trike” complete with a Starship Enterprise replica. But it turns out this was a serious incident: He collided with another cyclist who suffered injuries that weren’t thought to be serious. Crane, who said the other cyclist was at fault, wasn’t injured.

Quick News Hits: Maybe Take an Uber Next Time

The county’s food stamp program has long been troubled by hassles and delays for would-be recipients, some of whom simply give up. Now, a new goal aims to allow applicants to get approved immediately instead of waiting days. (KPBS)

Hey, stoners! This is relevant to your interests, if you can remember them: UCSD’s launching a study that will enlist people to take marijuana and then see how it affects their driving performance on a simulator. It’s part of a bid to better understand how pot affects driving and how to best measure its levels in the body on the road. “Unlike blood alcohol levels,” KPBS reports, “blood THC levels don’t strongly correlate with driving impairment.”

• SeaWorld won’t expand its orca tanks after all. (U-T)

The Chargers stadium initiative’s petition drive will get support from big shots when it kicks off on Saturday. Cheerleaders will be there too, tempting people to totally sign the wrong thing. (U-T)

PETA says we’re the sixth vegan-friendliest city in the country. Portland, Ore., tops the list, which also places Detroit (Detroit!) above us.

A couple guys stole a shuttle bus at the airport yesterday but were promptly caught, @sandiegoscanner reports.

Jeez. Yet another sign that taxis from the airport cost too much.

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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