What We Learned This Week

Morning Report

What We Learned This Week

Bob Filner is changing. A museum’s distancing itself from a hoax and a secretive federal agency’s getting more pressure.

 

Bob Filner’s Changing: The liberal congressman made his strangest political bedfellow yet this week, signing up political consultant Tom Shepard to run his campaign. Shepard’s responsible for electing three of the last five mayors, Republicans Roger Hedgecock, Susan Golding and Jerry Sanders.

The local GOP immediately severed ties with Shepard. Filner’s most progressive supporters likely did a double take.

We’re not sure if he created any new enemies, though, as he has in the past. As Liam Dillon reported this week, Filner’s hard-charging personality has caused a lot of tension even with people who otherwise agree with his politics.

He says it’s part of being a fighter for the underdog. But he said you’ll see a different Bob if elected mayor.

Shepard seems to have had a similar conversation and says he came away convinced of Filner’s leadership. Filner already began backing away from some of his more bombastic stances on pension reform and the Convention Center this week. And he publicly offered Shepard’s last mayoral client, Nathan Fletcher, a job. Shepard, meanwhile, sent out a plea to Fletcher’s supporters to support Filner. The subject line: “Our city needs Nathan Fletcher.”

The Museum of Art Is a Prankster Facilitator: When we found out the pranksters behind the hoax press releases from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, it wasn’t very surprising: medical marijuana activists making a point about federal drug enforcement. But then we found out one of their collaborators, and it was very surprising: The San Diego Museum of Art.

The North County Times reported that the museum helped connect the activists at Americans for Safe Access with a New York nonprofit that specializes in things like this.

And then it did the most amazing thing for a big cultural institution like that: It stood behind it.

And then the museum did what you would expect: it started to distance itself from the hoax.

The museum’s willingness to stand up for its involvement had earned our Hero of the Week on VOSD Radio. It was a bold move for a major nonprofit. Now, that title is in dispute.

The Military Twice Seized Balboa Park: Kelly Bennett’s stroll down the path of the park’s history of controversy and development led to this interesting find: in both world wars, the military commandeered Balboa Park. They trained soldiers in the lily pond and hosted dances in the Plaza de Panama. Look, there are even photos.

Also: turns out the Zoo came about only because they didn’t know what to do with “mangy and diseased animals in cages left over from the 1915-16 exposition that nobody else wanted.”

The Wildlife Killers Could Get Less Secret: Following our stories on the secrecy of the federal Wildlife Services by Rob Davis, local Congresswoman Susan Davis (no relation, swear) wants to force the agency to open up.

The agency has killed 18,700 animals across the county since 2005. Some of those have been to protect endangered species. Many others, however, have been killed for other reasons. And the agency isn’t doling out information explaining how and why they were killed. Susan Davis’ bill would change that.

There Is a Lot Going on in San Diego Arts: If you don’t believe me, then you didn’t come to our Meeting of the Minds event on Wednesday night. Kelly Bennett repurposed the top of the Horton Plaza parking garage into a fabulous open air space for a get together. There, she asked six local arts mavens to give quick-fire presentations on what’s happening around town.

If you still don’t believe me, you’re in luck: we’ll be publishing videos of each of the presentations over the coming days. The first one, about local artists creating their own work spaces, is up right now.

We also asked each of those mavens to tell us what most excited them throughout the night.  “Generally more proud to be a San Diegan when you see all the great, diverse cultural venues,” said landscape architect Marty Poirier.

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Quick Hits

• The radio station 94/9 tried to do things differently when it burst onto the scene in 2002. Now, a decade later, financial pressures are changing that. Where 94/9 once broke all the rules, now it resembles the kind of conventional station it once railed against,” says CityBeat’s Peter Holslin.

•  “At age 30, (Philip) Rivers is running straight into the plight of being a Charger.” So says Yahoo! Sports in a profile that wonders if he’ll end up, like so many other Charger greats, without a ring.

• The innovative public radio storytelling show Radio Lab starts off its recent episode in a driveway near you: “David Holway, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist from UC San Diego, takes us to a driveway in Escondido, California where a grisly battle rages. In this quiet suburban spot, two groups of ants are putting on a chilling display of dismemberment and death.”

• Our readers said some awesome stuff this week. Here’s a selection of five of those comments, including one that goes a little something like “politics have gotten so ugly.”

• If you want to know what happened in City Heights this week, social guru and creative lunch-maker Dagny Salas has you covered.

Number of the Week

600-700

The number of new visitor properties hoteliers need to include in their marketing clan to make it legal.

Quote of the Week

“Bitter.”

Juan Vargas, on what kind of beer he bought former archenemy Bob Filner to signal their truce.

I’m the editor of VOSD. You can reach me at andrew.donohue@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0526. Follow me on Twitter: @AndrewDonohue.

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