Morning Report: The Mayor's Special Dispensation Gambit - Voice of San Diego

Morning Report

Morning Report: The Mayor's Special Dispensation Gambit

Prominent pundit misses mark on border, when a park isn’t a park, Ice Age bison awaits its closeup and Filner looks up


Ideally, lawmakers don’t craft laws to affect a single person, although they sometimes try. (Remember Terri Schiavo?) But what about a special dispensation to a specific person?

In this case, Mayor Bob Filner essentially gave a get-out-of-trouble-free card to a man who sells jewelry without a vendor permit. The man wields a laminated letter from Filner granting him permission to sell his wares at any public park or beach in the city.

Does the seller have a right to sell at these places? It’s a matter of debate in the courts. Should the mayor allow the seller to ignore red tape? Read our story and decide for yourself.

Border Fence Talking Point Is False

Like other prominent conservative pundits, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer is none too impressed by border security. But he has a solution: a “triple fence.”

“The objective is to reduce a river to a trickle. It’s doable,” Krauthammer wrote in a recent column. “The two border sections with triple fencing outside San Diego reduced infiltration by 92 percent.”

That’s not true, San Diego Fact Check finds. Read our report here.

For one thing, the extra fencing at the local border wasn’t installed for security reasons but instead for other reasons, like geography. For another, the 92 percent number doesn’t take many other factors into account.

Parking It in Mid-City

By the city’s standards, the folks who live near Balboa Park don’t have enough nearby park space.

Um, whaaah? That can’t be right. But according to the city’s own standards, it is because Balboa Park doesn’t count as a local park. It’s a regional park.

Keatts, our land use reporter, examines the city guidelines that put planners and planning groups into a bit of a pickle. It’s not just a matter of semantics, since money from home builders is involved.

VOSD Website Undergoes Renovation

The VOSD website is about to get some work done. It won’t look younger, but it will be a lot easier to use and more equipped to handle intelligent conversation about San Diego.

The newly renovated site will debut on Monday. Our Scott Lewis has the details about what our new “content management system” — tech talk for the software that helps us post stories, photos and comments — will mean to you.

Southeastern S.D. Coalition Out of Building

Southeastern San Diego’s Coalition of Neighborhood Councils is leaving its city-owned office due to a money shortage, CityBeat reports. But the organization’s board isn’t playing dead. Instead, the newspaper says, it “wants to restore the organization’s original purpose: uniting communities in southeastern San Diego over common neighborhood issues.”

Dwayne Crenshaw, one of the two remaining candidates for a seat on the City Council, served a stint at the organization but was kicked out. His opponent’s supporters have seized on details about his tenure and its aftermath, but our Fact Check this week found that the claims are misleading.    

Quick News Hits

• The mayor’s office announced Wednesday evening that “the California Coastal Commission issued a permit to the City of San Diego approving the permanent placement of a year-round rope at La Jolla Children’s Pool in order to protect the seal rookery.”

• We have two more Stumblr submissions spotlighting poor sidewalks in the Jamacha and Encanto neighborhoods.

• Denise Montgomery, a marketing official with the contemporary art museum, will become executive director of the city’s Commission for Arts and Culture, replacing the founding director, U-T San Diego reports.

• ProPublica, the non-profit investigative outfit, and public radio’s Marketplace have produced a startling story exposing how lenders near military bases are plaguing service members with exorbitant loan rates despite efforts by Congress to provide protection.

• NPR profiles transient migrants who have “have dug bunkers along Tijuana’s sewage canal to protect themselves from police who routinely burn down their makeshift homes.” An estimated 1,000-3,000 people live along the sewage canal, including many who tried unsuccessfully to cross into the U.S.

• Something ancient is on its way to the San Diego Natural History Museum. No, it’s not a eight-track tape, or even a mix-tape. Even older than that. The museum will soon display the remains of a 200,000-year old Ice Age bison that was discovered in North County during road work, the L.A. Times reports.

Hopefully the bison won’t bore us all with stories about its sciatica.  

• Your illustrious Morning Report scribe is vertically gifted. (He blames the thin air up here for errors and annoying references to himself in the third person.)

But he can’t measure up to the world’s tallest man, a Turkish 30-year-old who visited town yesterday. Sultan Kosen, who clocks in at over 8 feet, got to meet Mayor Filner.

Hizzoner went into politician mode upon hearing that Kosen (a native of a Kurdish region) would like to move to California, 10 News reports. “I was the first congressman to call for an independent Kurdistan,” Filner said.

How do you translate “fishing for a future vote” into Turkish?

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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