Myrtle Cole greets supporters on the night of her victory in a City Council special election. / Photo by Sam Hodgson

It’s December, and local politicos know what that means: intrigue over who will land the powerful position of president of the San Diego City Council.

The president does more than run Council meetings. He or she also controls the Council’s agenda and appoints the chairs of various Council committees, so the position is more than a political resume booster and an impressive title to boast about at cocktail parties.

Sometimes the intense politicking over the position means little in the long run. But this year, it may matter a bit more. The current Council president, the low-profile Myrtle Cole, is in a hot spot.

On one hand, the local union leaders who’ve developed a strict my-way-or-the-highway approach to straying politicians are demanding that she freeze out Republicans when it comes to those plum committee positions. But the Council’s GOP minority has influence of its own over who becomes Council president, and Republican Council members may dump her in favor of either of another pair of Council Democrats if she seems likely to abandon them.

Our Andrew Keatts has the political play-by-play in a new VOSD story.

County’s Danger Zones for Pedestrians

A local law firm has identified 20 dangerous intersections for pedestrians in the county, including some that may not come immediately to mind as being especially hazardous, like the one at the top of the list — University Avenue and First Avenue in Hillcrest. Others are extremely busy, like Rosecrans Street and Midway Drive in Point Loma and several downtown. Few of the intersections are outside of the city of San Diego.

The U-T provides the list, which is based on numbers of crashes, deaths and injuries that were severe or visible. It’s not clear if the list-makers took into account the number of pedestrians who use the intersections.

Balboa Park’s Back Lot Finally Gets Attention

There’s a good chance you’ve been to the Palisades area of Balboa Park, but you’re not likely to know its name or have thought much about it. It’s the area by the Air and Space Museum and the Starlight Bowl, one dubbed by its advocates — yes, the advocates are saying this — as the “ugly stepsister” to the promenade known as El Prado. (I’m going to be linguistically correct and not call it the El Prado promenade.)

Now, there’s a move to restore gardens and fountains the Palisades at the price of ripping up a couple hundred parking spaces.

How would that happen? Not by launching an effort to make parking in the park easier, more efficient and still free, the U-T reports. No, instead the idea is to approve the controversial and long-stalled Jacobs plan for a paid underground parking lot nearby.

Buyback Takes 164 Guns But Is it Wise?

Gun buybacks are controversial because some critics say they’re a waste of money. “There’s no evidence that gun buybacks actually curb gun violence,” reports The Trace, which covers gun violence and gun policy. But they’re still a local law enforcement tool. Now, San Diego police say they bought back so many guns (164) during a gun buyback in the South Bay over the weekend that they ran out of $25,000 in gift cards. Three of the guns were assault rifles, the U-T reports.

Quick News Hits: Meet the Bluntest Map Around

The first of three large tents to hold San Diego’s homeless people has opened to single men and women, the AP reports. Two more tents will open later, one for families and the other for vets.

Some of Southern California’s most segregated schools are right here at home. (KPCC)

Headline of the Week goes to the U-T: “Navy aviators disciplined over air phallus after Coronado hearing.”

Don’t mess with our hometown basketball star Bill Walton. We warned you. (Deadspin)

Another one of those crowd-sourced maps of San Diego has popped up online, identifying various neighborhoods by their distinguishing characteristics. The descriptions range from the general (“tourists” and “hipsters”) to the specific (“lawyers dating 20 year olds,” “rich white people” and “rich old white people”).

There’s also a fair amount of shade, including “perennially bad sports team” (downtown), “students who didn’t get into UCSD” (SDSU) and “UCLA USC UC Berk rejects” (UCSD)

As a UCSD grad, I resemble that remark! (And I appreciate the other one.)

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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