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Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
Confederate-friendly marker removed from Horton Plaza, La Mesa councilwoman dumps GOP over Trump, S.D.'s cold cases and fake eclipse news from 1923.
Hundreds of marijuana delivery services are operating in San Diego, but their number may soon dip dramatically if current city enforcement trends are any indication.
For months, the city has only allowed permitted marijuana shops to deliver pot, but enforcement has been limited. Then, earlier this month, cops raided a delivery service. If the law is now being enforced, “it means hundreds of unlicensed delivery services currently operating — a listing of many can be found on sites like Weedmaps — will be in the crosshairs of police and may end up consolidating,” our Adriana Heldiz reports in a new story.
Heldiz breaks down the current state of the delivery business and created a map of the eight dispensaries in the city of San Diego that are we’re able to confirm are permitted, operating and offering delivery.
In a VOSD commentary, Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey calls for transparency, proper staffing levels and a more open work culture at the scandal-ridden regional planning agency known as SANDAG. Bailey is a member of its board of directors.
Bailey suggests that more management-level staffers beyond just Executive Director Gary Gallegos should go.
“Due to pressure from the public and the SANDAG board, Gallegos announced his resignation from SANDAG effective on Aug. 18. This decision is the right move for the agency and the public. SANDAG must now change its policies, processes and people to rebuild the public trust,” he writes.
The city can act quickly when it wants to: Workers on Tuesday removed a Horton Plaza plaque commemorating the “Jefferson Davis Highway” within hours after the city became aware it existed, the U-T reports.
The original monument, presented to the city by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1926, included a larger monument to Jefferson Davis, the traitorous president of the Confederate States of America, according to the U-T. The plaque (but not the entire monument) survived the recent big Horton Plaza redo, but the mayor decided it had to go amid the controversy over Confederate monuments.
There was big hoopla here back in 1923, when the milestone marker for the cross-country highway — which ended here — was unveiled at Horton Plaza. In Washington D.C., where the highway began, President Calvin Coolidge “touched an electric button that rang a gong in the plaza here,” the San Diego Union reported at the time. You can read the story and check out photos of a large crowd at Horton Plaza and several men posing importantly with the milestone monument here.
The Daughters of the Confederacy still has an active chapter in San Diego.
La Mesa Councilwoman Kristine Alessio has dumped the Republican Party to protest the president. She’s now registered as a Decline to State voter and posted this on Facebook: “I cannot stand with anyone who will not say no to racism and prejudice. Count me as decline to state and in favor of liberty.”
In an interview with the right-leaning blog SDRostra, she said “it is impossible to see our party as the party of Lincoln or Reagan, a truly conservative party.” Alessio also said she’s considering a run for county supervisor: “If the Republican Party ever returns to sanity, I’d run as a Republican.”
• The mayors of San Diego and Tijuana are joining together to call for reform of the North American Free Trade Agreement. (10News)
• CalMatters checks in on the lead-in-water scare in San Diego schools and across the state, and notes that local legislator Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher is pushing a bill that “would require school districts to test for lead at least once a year or once every three years depending on when the buildings were constructed. If tests find that lead is higher than the state and federal threshold of 15 parts per billion, the school district would then have to notify parents and shut down the contaminated water source until it can be fixed.”
“You can’t have water with anything testing above the limits that are drinkable and not follow through and fix for the solution,” Gonzalez Fletcher said. “We want to ensure that when you find lead, water is shut off and parents are notified so they can have their kids tested.”
Earlier this year, in fact, we reported that San Diego Unified did find lead at a school, but notified only one parent — the one who’d requested testing.
• L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez recalls last year, when “the coast was imperiled by conflicts of interest, the clout of pro-development forces, the undermining of staff experts and a head-smacking lack of professionalism among certain members of the Coastal Commission.” Now, he writes, a new day is here.
Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood, who recently suffered a stroke, continues to miss City Council meetings. If he’s not able to return soon his position will be declared vacant, Ruarri Serpa reports in VOSD’s weekly North County Report.
Without Wood on hand, the Council is often splitting votes 2-2 right as big issues are coming up.
Also in the North County Report: Encinitas is working on affordable housing (this is a perennial news item), neighbors are suing Carlsbad over a planned affordable-housing project and a plan for highway-protecting sand bluffs in Encinitas is going before state coastal officials.
• Could you help solve a murder? NBC 7 takes a look at cold cases that could use the public’s help.
• SeaWorld has euthanized an ill orca that was 42 years old. (NBC 7)
• The big eclipse is coming next week, and viewing parties are set up at Balboa Park and elsewhere to see the moon cover most (but not all) of the sun, weather permitting. Our weird August weather, however, may not be in a permissive mood, and a marine layer could keep us from seeing a thing near the coast.
The skies were clearer back in 1932, when San Diegans watched a total eclipse. A young reporter at the now-defunct San Diego Sun named Magner White wrote a flowery essay about the eclipse (sample sentence: “What is this fear we can’t keep down? The hint of the infinite night — a world with no sun”) and managed to win the first Pulitzer Prize ever awarded to a newspaper west of the Mississippi.
I wrote about this a few years ago for VOSD and later discovered the big twist: White made most or all of his story up beforehand, definitely the part about “painted women” in Tijuana looking “out on the heavens for the first time, perhaps, in years with wondering minds.”
Fake news! As he loved to tell fellow journalism barflies later on, he didn’t even leave the office when the world dimmed. Perhaps that’s why he wrote that animals at the circus were freaked out by the eclipse when they actually didn’t notice at all. White’s granddaughter confirmed to me the story of his tall tale, which she called “his interpretation of what he felt the eclipse was going to do.”
In the reporter’s honor, I’m going to pre-write my own interpretation of what the eclipse will do. Here’s the start: “As San Diegans shivered through a rare summer snowstorm, they looked skyward through the dark clouds to a slowly darkening sun … ”
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 (asja.org). Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.