For more than a century, the southernmost part of San Diego Bay has been devoted to commerce instead of wildlife. It was all thanks to the discovery of how the marshland could produce a commodity -- salt. Now, there's a renewal in the works.
"You should've seen it when we first opened it up," says one of the turnaround's architects. "The birds just immediately flocked here, checking out the mud flats that hadn't been seen for years."
We hear more from Chris Nordby, a wetland ecologist, in this week's Q&A. He talks about the effects of the local power plant on the environment, the future of the southern part of the bay and the fate of exotic creatures who may potentially be looking for a new home.
Ultimately, he said, "I see this as a little, natural, power plant. With all this food that's being produced on the mudflats and the marsh for all these creatures from fungus up to humans. These are great nurseries. Hopefully, some day, you'll be able to eat the fish you catch here. It's just going to be full of life, which it already is."
Two Shouldn't-Miss Performances
One group makes classical music hip. The other is putting on a surprisingly cool music festival in Carlsbad this weekend. Arts editor Kelly Bennett says you shouldn't miss either of them.
Fact Checking the Chargers and a Congressman
San Diego Fact Check TV uncovers a false claim from Rep. Bob Filner about ports and a true one from the Chargers spokesman about how NFL stadiums are financed.
• Oh, that Geezer Bandit! Such a card, taking time away from the shuffleboard court to rob banks. Well guess what: he's no charming rogue. Videos of his robberies show how began to threaten tellers with a gun, possibly in an effort to get more money. And, of course, he may not be a senior citizen: the FBI says his elderly visage might be a disguise. (10News)
• A "wicked brew of job woes, high costs of living, traffic congestion and poor air quality" has placed four California burgs on the Forbes list of the 15 most stressful cities in the country. One of them is San Diego at No. 4.
There's No Insurance Against Bad Taste
Someone stole an animatronic statue of horror movie villain Freddy Krueger from its spot in front of a Chula Vista insurance office, the U-T reports. The statue's head fell off during the theft and remained behind "but his body was still outstanding," a police official said.
Take note about where this statue was: in front of an insurance office. Krueger, as you recall, wears a trademark glove with long claw-like metal blades. That just cries out "You're in Good Hands" doesn't it?
Behind the Supermarket Labor Deal
We now know what both sides at the region's three biggest supermarket chains had to give up in contract negotiations.
A union official tells the Union-Tribune that there won't be two tiers of employees anymore when it comes to paying health insurance premiums. Everyone will pay up to $15 a week out of pocket instead of now, when some pay none.
The deal, which workers are voting on this weekend, also greatly boosts the size of a health benefit fund. Grocery workers last went on strike in 2003; the strike's legacy was a two-tiered system in which existing employees got more pay and benefits at the expense of new workers.
What We Learned This Week:
• SD Goes After Marijuana Shops: The city is suing 12 medical marijuana dispensaries, saying they violate zoning laws by being too close to schools. (Union-Tribune) An attorney for some of the shops says the city is confused.
• Efforts in Ashes: The city firefighters union has suffered two major defeats on the political front over the last year, raising questions about whether it still has the mojo that it once did.
• Voters to Consider Anti-Union Measure: Thanks to a successful petition drive, city voters next year will consider whether to ban union-friendly agreements in government construction projects. Check our primer on the issue to get a handle on what's at stake.
• Barrio Logan's Future on the Line: Residents and business owners are gearing for battle in the tiny Barrio Logan neighborhood as the city crafts a new way to blend people and industry.
• Transportation Plan Hits a Speed Bump: The state attorney general is not happy with the $200 billion plan for roads and mass transit in the county over the next 40 years.
Chargers Surprise of the Week: Hardball alert! The Chargers and the Convention Center, long on a collision course, finally collided. The team threw water on hoteliers' attempts to fund a convention center expansion without triggering a public vote. And the team says it wants a slice of the pie, and is willing to take a tax increase to the voters.
Quote of the Week, Runner-Up: "The problem with San Diego is that it is full of too many penurious San Diegans!" -- commenter Will Dawson, complaining of "cheap, miserly tax-averse citizens."
Quote of the Week, Winner: "They say we're second to only Jesus Christ. I walk neighborhoods and people say, 'Who are you supporting because that's enough for me.'" -- firefighter union president Frank De Clercq, noting that pollsters tell him firefighters still poll far better with voters than any other labor group.
Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.