Nick Inzunza, the former mayor of National City who was singed by scandal, wants to turn the Barrio Logan neighborhood into another Little Italy, a hub of Latino culture. He boosted his vision by turning a building he owns into a home for a center for the arts.

As our Kinsee Morlan reports, his vision has come up hard against recent realities. La Bodega, an arts gallery in his building, has been shuttered until it meets fire safety rules.

“We’re guilty as charged,” Inzunza said. “I don’t know what else to say. When people ask if we were having parties in the building, well yes, it’s on Facebook and YouTube. Hundreds of people show up to La Bodega events because people are hungry for this kind of stuff in San Diego.”

The gallery has raised some money through a crowdfunding campaign to pay for the improvements. “Other community groups have also stepped up to host fundraisers for the gallery. Inzunza said he’s doing his part,” Moran writes.

Politics Roundup: Alvarez in the Hunt

Councilman David Alvarez, one of the most liberal members of the City Council, plans to run for county supervisor in 2020, KPBS reports. Alvarez will be termed out of his Council seat in 2018, and plans to run for the seat currently held by Supervisor Greg Cox, who’ll be termed out in 2020.

“A lot of people are really not impressed with what the county has not done to serve people,” Alvarez told KPBS.

Amid an uproar sparked by media coverage, the City Council in South Bay’s National City refused to hike the mayor’s salary by a third. But all members of the Council, including the mayor, may still get a small raise.

According to the U-T, Mayor Ron Morrison “is the third-highest-paid mayor among California cities with fewer than 100,000 people.”

The U-T digs into San Diego’s spending to re-hire retired city workers on a part-time basis even though they were already getting a pension.

Former Legislator Lucy Killea Dies at 94

Former state legislator and City Council member Lucy Killea, an independent-minded trailblazer and inspiration to women in state and local politics, has died at the age of 94.

She was “a former military intelligence officer and aide to Eleanor Roosevelt who later shocked the political establishment when she left the Democratic Party to become an independent, and whose support for abortion rights led the Catholic Church to bar her from receiving communion,” the Sacramento Bee reports.

The Texas native, who moved here in 1968, “was not a woman who would capitulate, whether to a bishop or another legislator,” writes the U-T. “But high-volume confrontation was not her style.”

Her former chief of staff told the U-T that “she cared deeply about helping women move up the ladder politically, socially and economically. She felt an obligation and a responsibility to help women achieve their goals — in elected office or any other area they were interested in pursuing.”

Opinion: Support Your Local Pot Farmer

In a VOSD commentary, local land-use maven Anthony Wagner, who’s also a marijuana farmer, urges the County Board of Supervisors to support pot growers. He argues that San Diego could lose out on revenue if it enacts policies unfriendly to pot and growing: “under the law, jurisdictions that give the industry a path toward legitimacy will be eligible for more state tax revenues than those that don’t. In addition, communities that bar cannabis will receive virtually no additional local revenues because they will have no farms or other cannabis businesses to tax.”

Now a Note from the Dept. of That’ll Show ‘Em!

Looks like the Chargers may be getting in touch with friends who have pickups to make that age-old plaintive plea — “Can you help me move?” A movement has begun to convince local movers to not help the Bolts move to L.A. An anti-Chargers website, the L.A. Times reports, “currently features the names of 24 San Diego-area movers and 12 others from around L.A. that have joined the protest.

Pot Shops and Affordable Housing: Not Too Shabby

The L.A. Times finds that the grungy, back-alley feel of medical marijuana shops is giving way to sleek outlets “with natural light, spacious displays and open-floor plans” that remind folks of Apple stores.

Meanwhile, KPBS drops by an affordable housing project in San Marcos, with rents as low as $388 for a one-bedroom (!), and finds that it’s not the seventh circle of rental hell. In fact, one three-bedroom apartment “has marble countertops in the kitchen, generous closets and a balcony,” plus an activities director on staff.

KPBS also has an update on affordable housing projects in much of North County, all listed by city.

The story by KPBS is a highlight in our weekly North County Report, which also takes note of how Del Mar, Carlsbad and Oceanside are forming a group known as the Concerned Coastal Communities Coalition with Orange County cities. Plus: A new Encinitas Council member, a new Oceanside treasurer (a dead man had won the job) and a closing Oceanside donut shop leaves a hole.

Quick News Hits: The Jerkiest Creatures of All

“Immigrant advocacy groups said Tuesday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are allegedly turning away asylum-seekers before their claims can be heard, violating obligations under U.S. and international law,” the AP reports. “Customs and Border Protection, which is part of the Homeland Security Department, said in a statement that there has been no policy change on asylum procedures and that it doesn’t tolerate any abuse.”

The online site Reddit has a fantastic thread in which users answer the question “Zoo Workers of Reddit, which animal is the biggest jerk in your facility?

Among the biggest jerk animals: 500-pound tortoises who love to sit on everything from hoses to feed troughs and squeegees, a baby camel (“I still love the little antichrist”), ravens who pull tail feathers out of peacocks (who are pains themselves), and a spitting, hitting, grinning orangutan.

Other jerk animals: Lorakeets, swans, cassowaries, dolphins and “[expletive participle] chickadees.” (They know what they did.)

The best of them all? “At our zoo,” one contributor writes, “hippos will [poop] on their tails and helicopter it all over people.”

Reddit users had fun with his one (“a-poo-calypse!!!”). One noted, in their defense, that hippos do this to mark territory. But I prefer to believe they like to make humans look bad. Go, Team Hippo!

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

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