Inside and out, the Wonder Bread factory building is considered one of downtown’s historic pieces of architecture. At the age of a century-plus, it’s still attracting fond glances from fans. Oh yes, and the Chargers.

If Measure C passes, the team could get a new football stadium downtown, the city would have to demolish the Wonder Bread building and preserve its memory, if at all, in a way that is still to be determined.

And to do that, the city may have to confiscate the property.

Gay Sinclair, the widow of Bob Sinclair, an East Village sculptor and founder of Pannikin Coffee & Tea, has been selling properties in and around East Village since her husband died in 2011. But, she tells our Kinsee Morlan, this building is special, and she won’t let it go without a fight.

The team wants to preserve part of the building to keep its history alive (and follow historic preservation law), but a critic thinks the idea stinks. This kind of thing, he says, is a “façade-ectomy” — not enough.

That reminds me: See an architect if your façade-ectomy lasts more than four decades.

Streets Get a Ratings Boost

A new rating of city streets gives San Diego a 72, in the “good” range and just above “fair.” Five years ago, the rating put us at 59.

“According to the report, 60 percent of the network is in good condition, 34 percent is fair and 6 percent is in the poor category,” City News Service reports. “That compares to the 2011 assessment, in which only 34 percent of the roads and alleys were in good condition, 44 percent were fair and 22 percent poor.”

The mayor praised the city for putting money into street repairs.

• “San Diego will make some changes to the city’s Ethics Commission based on recent recommendations by the county Grand Jury, but the city is rejecting some of the panel’s key suggestions,” the U-T reports. The rejected plans include a bid to stop politicians from appointing commissioners.

There’s another rejected idea: Six-year terms. “The grand jury said one six-year term would eliminate the threat of commission members not being re-appointed in retaliation, or for political reasons. The response says city officials disagree that commissioners have been denied reappointment as retaliation.”

Politics Roundup: The Decline and Fall of Issa?

The L.A. Times checks in on the campaign of Democrat Douglas Applegate, the no-name retired Marine colonel who put a scare into longtime Rep. Darrell Issa in the June primary. How big of a scare? Well, the Issa campaign is slinging mud in Applegate’s direction, attacking him over allegations from his ex-wife.

How’d this happen? It wasn’t money, that’s for sure. “Let’s be clear. We basically did nothing in the primary,” Applegate tells the Times. “It was his negatives. That was what the primary was all about.”

Now, voters are pondering Applegate himself with some hey-look-at-this-dirt help from the Issa folks.

• Hillary Clinton is still way ahead of Donald Trump in a new poll of California voters because of course she is. It’s California. But not as much as she was in July. (Sacramento Bee)

Opinion: Water/Power Plan’s No Big Deal

In a VOSD commentary, Mark Weston, chair of the San Diego County Water Authority’s board of directors, praises his agency’s performance. Then he dings VOSD for its “shallow, slanted and even arrogant” story titled “The Water Authority’s Big, Strange Battery Bet.”

“From the headline down, VOSD seems determined to mislead readers into believing that the Water Authority has decided to gamble on energy because it ‘wants to’ build a large pumped storage project in East County — and that things aren’t going well,” Weston writes. According to him, the reality is quite different.

“There is nothing unusual about water agencies creating or storing power…,” he writes. “In fact, around the country, countless agencies are involved in both water and power because the resources are inextricably linked.”

• Our friends at The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal outfit have narrowed down the suspects who might be the “Wet Prince of Bel Air” (a lifetime supply of Will Smith DVDs to whomever thought of that headline). This is “the homeowner who pumped an astonishing 11.8 million gallons of water during a single year of California’s crippling drought.”

“The mega-users broke no laws, because the city’s Department of Water and Power allows ratepayers to pump as much water as they can pay for,” Reveal writes. “But a new state law will subject mega-water users to hefty fines in future drought emergencies.”

Culture Report: Rule-Breaking at UCSD

This week’s VOSD Culture Report leads off with a mini-profile of local artist Eleanor Antin, one of the stars of a new exhibit at the photography museum focusing on work from those in the UC San Diego artistic universe. She has a long history of rule-breaking: Back in the day, she urged her art students to find a law to violate but without any violence, theft, damage or arrests.

“It made the kids open up and be fearless, and it made the word ‘crime’ and ‘criminal’ a little more complicated — there was a lot to discuss,” she says. Antin says the UC San Diego art department also broke the rules by being a postmodernism pioneer.

Also in the Culture Report: A post-mortem on the troubled KAABOO Del Mar music festival, a new name for the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (please let it not be “Safari Park”), and “sewer shows” that are, yes, held in sewer pipes.

• U-T columnist Bryce Miller thinks it’s a slam dunk for the airport to accept the free gift of a $200,000 statue of hometown basketball star Bill Walton. But the airport said no.

An outraged Miller rips the airport’s explanations and even opens a can of pro-capitalism in response to the contention that accepting the gift “may be perceived as unfair to highlight one individual’s achievements over another.”

“There’s a word for that: socialism,” he writes. “And didn’t you name the place after some Lindbergh guy?”

Quick News Hits: No Donut

• KPBS has launched a two-part investigative series into the hazards lurking in the little-regulated world of “stem cell tourism.”

“Southern California is a hotspot for clinics advertising stem cell treatments for everything from stroke to autism,” KPBS reports. “And experts say San Diego is an attractive location for any company hoping to usher patients across the border for expensive treatments that have not been proven to be safe or effective in humans.”

• U-T columnist Logan Jenkins drops by Barrio Logan, which is watching anxiously as the prospect of a new football stadium next door looms. And that’s not all that’s new. “Gentrification is coming to the Barrio, this neighborhood that broke off from Logan Heights when Interstate 5 was built and has long been San Diego’s industrial-strength back porch. Of course, it’s about the money.” We did a whole podcast episode about this tension.

• Over on Reddit, which promotes itself as the “front page of the Internet,” Lindbergh Field appears in a sprawling discussion of the best and worst airports in the world.

The reviews are good for the most part, with one user saying we’re “more manageable than major airports but I can fly direct to London or Tokyo.” There’s also discussion of the sky-high view of MCRD (“when I went to boot camp, they made us scream every time a plane took off or landed”) and the scary approach over downtown.

But the Southwest terminal (Terminal One) isn’t a hit. “If there was a walkway to the other post-security areas it wouldn’t be so bad,” a user says. “But you’re trapped in the hell donut and it’s just lame.”

“Trapped in the Hell Donut” sounds like the most San Diego horror movie ever. Take that, “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”!

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.