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A school of white seabass / Photo courtesy of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute

The state has spent $22 million over the past 15 years on an experiment to replenish the population of white seabass in the ocean.

The Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute has been breeding and releasing white seabass into the ocean for years. The goal was to spawn enough new fish to help overcome threats from pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction.

The experiment didn’t work.

Two years ago, VOSD’s Ry Rivard wrote about how some fish spawned as part of that effort have horns, deformed hearts or are blind.

A new report by an independent panel of scientists confirms the program is a mess. The report found that few of the Hubbs-bred fish were surviving in the wild.

That low success rate, though, turns out to be a good thing. If more of the fish born in the hatchery survived out in the ocean, they could have endangered the wild white seabass population by introducing genetically maladapted fish.

“In other words, the program’s failure has perhaps kept it from being a disaster,” Rivard writes.

SeaWorld CEO Is Out

Joel Manby is stepping down as the CEO of SeaWorld. (Washington Post)

Manby took his post at SeaWorld more than a year after the documentary “Blackfish”came out. The film resulted in a huge public backlash that ended up seriously cutting into profits. The film focuses on the orca Tilikum, who caused the deaths of several people while in captivity, and also questions the ethics of keeping orcas in captivity.

The protests and boycotts that followed made a dent in revenue.

Under Manby’s leadership, SeaWorld made lots of big changes, including shifting its orca show from entertainment to more educational, and building more rides and rollercoasters to rebrand it as more of a theme park. The company decided to stop breeding orcas, which means it will eventually lose all its orcas.

But none of the changes have led to financial resurgence for SeaWorld. On Tuesday, the company announced a quarterly loss of more than $20 million.

Like it or not, the city of San Diego is impacted by the theme park’s financial success. SeaWorld rents the land it sits on from the city. Its 50-year lease with San Diego is structured so the city gets more cash the more SeaWorld’s business booms, as VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt explained.

Trump’s Wall Pushes Through Legal Barrier

Budget struggles are one thing standing in the way of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. Another obstacle are legal challenges.

On Tuesday, Trump’s wall pushed past one of them: A federal judge in San Diego ruled in favor of the U.S. government in a lawsuit from an environmental organization that challenged Homeland Security’s authority to bypass environmental and other laws in the name of border security. (KPBS)

The judge, Gonzalo Curiel, is the same one Trump accused in 2016 as being biased against him due to the judge’s Mexican heritage.

Southeastern San Diego as a Canvas

A San Diego artist is spearheading an effort to hang art on businesses in Lincoln Park and other neighborhoods throughout southeastern San Diego.

That story leads off this week’s Culture Report. Also in this week’s roundup of arts and culture news: A site-specific adventure play, street performers are headed for Seaport Village, a new documentary about a choir made up of people who’ve experienced homelessness and more.

A Proactive Approach to Pot

Jerry Kern, an Oceanside City Council member and a candidate for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, has a prediction: “Within the next four years, every local jurisdiction in San Diego County will have an ordinance that allows commercial cannabis activity in some fashion.”

In an op-ed for VOSD, Kern says either elected leaders will regulate the industry, or the industry will regulate it for them via citizen’s ballot initiatives likely to be passed by the same voters who said yes to Proposition 64.

It’s with that framing that Kern details Oceanside’s new proposed pot ordinance that, if approved, would allow cannabis cultivation on agricultural land, manufacturing in industrial zones and up to four dispensaries within the city limits.

More Tijuana Sewage Headed for San Diego Waters

Approximately 44 million gallons of sewage from Tijuana is headed toward San Diego’s coastal waters. (Coronado Times)

Big rains like the downpour Monday night often cause problems for the aging sewage infrastructure in Tijuana. The ongoing issue has spurred Imperial Beach mayor Serge Dedina, a longtime environmental activist, to make stopping the sewage spills one of his top priorities.

In his State of the City address Monday night, Dedina reaffirmed Imperial Beach’s commitment to protecting the city’s coast line. (Union-Tribune)

The Revelator did a deep dive on the sewage issue and talked to Chris Harris, the same border agent we recently profiled who’s trying to join with environmentalists to clean up the sewage problem he says is poisoning his colleagues.

In Other News

• Anti-Semitic incidents are way up in San Diego, according to a new report. (Union-Tribune)

• The North American Soccer League announced Tuesday it has canceled its 2018 season. San Diego’s new 1904 FC soccer team, which was part of NASL, announced it is now finalizing an agreement to join the United Soccer League. (Union-Tribune)

•  Remember the mysterious death of Rebecca Zahau at a Coronado mansion in 2011? Sheriff’s investigators concluded that the hanging was a suicide, but a civil wrongful-death lawsuit going to trial this week blames her wealthy boyfriend’s brother. (Washington Post)

• Yup, home prices here are still going up. (City News Service)

• The city of San Diego really should revisit its whacky sidewalk policy that makes property owners maintain them while the city assumes liability for any problems with them. (Reader)

• San Diego Unified will close four preschools in June. (KPBS)

• It’s official. David Nisleit is the new San Diego Police chief. (City News Service)

• A class at San Diego State University is focused on the impeachment or removal of Trump from office, and some folks are not pleased. (KUSI)

Social San Diego

Snow! (Reddit)

• Local food writer and food TV star Troy Johnson announced via Facebook that he’s ready to open his own restaurant in Ocean Beach.

Kinsee Morlan

Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture...

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