The White House has been a fountain of head-spinning news every day since the inauguration of Donald Trump. Wednesday, the news hit topics especially important to San Diego.

Trump issued an executive order halting federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities, municipalities that don’t cooperate with immigration authorities.

So, is San Diego a sanctuary city? What about the county? What even is a sanctuary city? Sara Libby took a stab at answering those questions.

The president offered no firm definition on what a sanctuary city is. “Whatever definition the administration uses could matter quite a bit, since San Diego has popped up on lists of sanctuary cities for years even as its leaders insist it isn’t one,” Libby wrote.

In short, many cities believe the benefits of unauthorized immigrants feeling comfortable calling the police outweigh the costs. San Diego officials don’t say “sanctuary city” but they share the same assumption.

Meanwhile, “a separate order signed by Trump on Wednesday could impact San Diego bigly as well — it’s the one greenlighting a border wall and related enforcement and detainment actions.”

Faulconer’s Not into that One

Mayor Faulconer didn’t appear at the Women’s March last weekend. But he took to social media Wednesday saying he has “unwavering support” for close U.S.-Mexico relations and insisting that there’s already a “secure border in San Diego,” the U-T reports.

“Keeping trade moving in both directions safely and securely is important to San Diego’s economy and helps create local jobs,” he said in a statement.

In 2013, our Lisa Halverstadt took a tour of San Diego’s border fencing as part of a fact check.

Just about no normal voter is thinking about the 2018 governor’s race, but a new poll finds Faulconer in second place behind a Democrat, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. There’s no firm sign that Faulconer is interested, though. (Times of S.D.)

S.D. Unified’s Projected Deficit Widens

The San Diego Unified School District will need to cut even more from its next budget than anticipated: The number is now expected to be at least $124 million.

As our Ashly McGlone reports, the hopes of school board members of an influx of income have been dashed. “The deficit is somewhat worse than we had hoped it would be,” said the district’s new chief financial officer. “Certainly, we were hoping for good news in the governor’s budget, but that didn’t occur.”

It’s not clear what the district will do about the shortfall, which makes up nearly 10 percent of its $1.3 billion budget.

Convention Center Expansion Boosters Get a Boost

San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil issued a tentative ruling Wednesday affirming that the California Coastal Commission followed the law when it approved expansion plans for the San Diego Convention Center. If the ruling holds, and survives appeal from attorney Cory Briggs and his clients, it will clear one of the major obstacles in the way of the project.

Here’s the ruling. Briggs had argued that the facility would further wall off the waterfront from the public. Wohlfeil disagreed: “Even assuming the expansion will result in a somewhat narrowed public corridor along the shoreline, the rooftop park offsets this loss,” he said, referring to this green oasis.

It’s a big win. Two other major hurdles remain for the project. The city doesn’t control the land and the people who do are trying to build a hotel there.

Assuming the city gets the lease from them, it has to find the money. The mayor has proposed a hike to the hotel-room tax. Two-thirds of voters would have to approve the plan.

Poinsettia Bowl Is Kaput

After 12 years, the Poinsettia Bowl is no more. As the U-T reports, the folks behind the city’s bowl games (now bowl game) want to focus on the Holiday Bowl.

“Average attendance for the Poinsettia Bowl through the years was 32,264, although four of the game’s smallest crowds were in the past six years,” the U-T reports. “The only game with more than 30,000 in attendance was when SDSU played BYU in the 2012 game.”

Opinion: Gang Commission’s a Joke

In a VOSD commentary, Cornelius Bowser, pastor of Charity Apostolic Church, says the San Diego Commission on Gang Prevention has become useless amid poor decisions on the law enforcement front: “communities affected by gangs should develop their own commission. The city of San Diego might be OK with wasteful spending, but I am not OK with wasting my time. And since no one is listening, I’m out.”

North County Report: Vista Hits Revise on ‘Mixed Use’

This week’s VOSD North County Report, our look at news from the northern parts of our fair county, leads off with news from the city of Vista, where the City Council revised its “mixed-use loophole” — we wrote about it here that allowed commercial buildings to be redeveloped into apartments and condo instead of a planned mix of housing and retail.

Also in the North County Report: A surprisingly large Women’s March in San Marcos, a roundup of coastal storm damage and a look at the death toll from the train tracks in the Del Mar area.

Quick News Hits: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Voice

• It looks like county supervisors will outlaw all pot businesses in the unincorporated parts of the county, although a couple supervisors are opposed. There are two medical marijuana shops now in Ramona and East County near El Cajon. (U-T)

• Remember the One Paseo project in Carmel Valley? It was contentious and got thwarted by a petition drive until it received final approval through a compromise. Now, construction has begun. “Plans call for 608 apartments, 95,000 square feet of specialty retail space and 280,000 square feet of office space,” Times of S.D. reports. “Parts of the development will open as early as 2018, and full completion is expected in 2020.”

• The City Council has approved a plan to improve the way it oversees trees in the city, “but the program faces budget constraints and recently lost its manager to another city.” (KPBS)

• Our region has produced some might peculiar characters (Unarious Academy, anyone?), but none may have quite the staying power of the late “Dr.” Emanual Bronner and his Magic Soaps, said to be “the top-selling organic liquid and bar soap brand in North America.”

The late Bronner, a famous eccentric, world peace activist and “moral philosopher,” created an empire from Escondido. His soaps are popular among hippie types, full of tiny text with New Age messages like “All-One!” (Fun fact: The company has tried to update its hopelessly cluttered labels, but customers rebelled.)

Well, now a new vinyl record called “Sisters & Brothers” is out, the U-T reports, featuring Bronner’s preachings. But one thing got left out: His instructions about how to use his soap as a birth control device.

Maybe the record will do the trick.

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 is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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