In this space, I’ve written about the disappointment and condescension that comes with being a lady football fan – from the heinous NFL products to the offensive “Football 101 for Ladies” tutorials that appear like clockwork before each Super Bowl.

I’ve talked about how Philip Rivers is not good at his job.

I’ve shared stories upon stories upon stories of the Chargers’ attempts to strong-arm San Diego into forking over hundreds of millions of taxpayer money for a new stadium.

I’ve linked to arguments that high school football should be abolished.

And yet.

This week’s epic Rose Bowl win by USC brought me more joy than I can remember experiencing from one moment, apart from my wedding, in the last 10 years. I’m still floating. Every video clip of that last-second field goal soaring through the cold night air in the most beautiful stadium in the world has wrung out some tears. I can hear Clay Helton’s words rattling in my head – “What you did this season is what Trojans do – they fight. They fight until the bitter end. There is no quit, there is no give up; it will be a lesson you’ll need for the rest of your life” – pushing me to inch out of the hole that 2016 dug for me.

This is why we’ve spent more than a decade in a push-pull with the Chargers instead of immediately waving them off with a fond “don’t let the door hit you …”

It’s why conversations about the brutal injuries, the lifelong side effects and sometimes even the instant deaths that the game can produce are so uncomfortable.

Because even though football often breaks bodies and budgets, once in a great while, it fixes everything.

What VOSD Learned This Week

It’s always a big goal of ours to start the New Year out with a bang. Something to set the tone. And I’m proud that Ry Rivard did that with his excellent three-part series this week on the state’s chaotic mess of stormwater regulations and the impact they have in San Diego and beyond.

Here’s what Rivard found: Thousands – perhaps tens of thousands – of California businesses are polluting streams, bays and the ocean, but regulators don’t know how many companies are doing how much damage. In the absence of action from the state, attorneys and environmentalists have become a sort of private pollution police force. At least once, their efforts have resulted in someone who tried to follow the rules losing their business – even as others flout the rules altogether.

Ry also talked about the series and some possible solutions to the mess on this week’s podcast.


Kind of a strange juxtaposition this week: Buzz is ramping up that Mayor Kevin Faulconer might want to lead the most populous state in the nation, just as folks here in San Diego say he hasn’t been leading on the biggest issue in his own city.

The homeless leadership vacuum is being felt in other ways, too. Two regional groups that deal with homelessness are merging, and hope that having a singular leader at the helm will result in more progress.

New County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar told us in a Q-and-A this week that homelessness will be a key focus for her office.


I talked with all 10 members of San Diego’s state legislative delegation about what they plan to prioritize in 2017, and how we’ll hold them accountable on their goals.

While legislators scheme new state laws, Mario Koran revisited one that just passed in November: Proposition 58, which makes it easier for schools to open bilingual education programs.

The experts Koran spoke with offer advice to schools and neighborhoods interested in creating or ramping up bilingual programs.

What I’m Reading

 Two words: toilet revolution. (Citylab)

 India has its own version of Silicon Valley. And like its U.S. counterpart, it has a woman problem. (Quartz)

 The Salt Lake Tribune examined domestic violence homicides in “squeaky clean” Utah.

 The small Mexican city of Los Algodones just across the border exists almost solely to provide dental care to Americans. (Pacific Standard)

 Ronda Rousey’s complex legacy. (Vice)

Line of the Week

“More than 1,000 times a minute, someone bites into what has been described as a wet envelope of cat food—and keeps eating.” – Thus begins a wonderful feature on the Jack in the Box taco and the strange devotion it inspires.

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

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