My Sordid Connection to Bob Filner

San Diego Bob Filner is known as a real hands-on guy. His type of leadership is viewed as very touching by the locals. Putting aside all stories of his handiness, Bob has other concerns now, including allegations of corruption (which hit a little close to home):

Did Mayor Bob Filner and/or members of his staff break the law in connection with a six-figure donation from real estate developers?

In a front-page story Thursday, U-T San Diego reported that the FBI “has visited more than one city official” while looking into how Sunroad Enterprises got a special treatment for a big apartment complex that’s in its final build-out phases in Kearny Mesa.

The intrigue involves city property on two sides of Centrum Park, two acres of grassland and playground structures on Lightwave Avenue surrounded by swank townhouses and construction sites for hundreds of apartment units to the north and south.

Many neighbors of the park are only now becoming aware of the land-use controversy in their midst, and wonder if it might reach scandal proportions now that the U.S. Justice Dept. is reported to be investigating.

“It could be a little embarrassing for the city if it gets that big,” said Jason Boutwell, interviewed Thursday while walking his Australian sheepdog and cattle dog in the park. “I think it would be in their best interest to clear it up as soon as possible.”

The back story?

It seems Sunroad’s building project encroached deep into 15 feet of required setback, or separation, from the public park property.

The firm came to the city  for an easement to make that legal.

A few years ago, Sunroad had a similar problem with a too-tall office tower nearby — and, after ugly legal battles, had to lop off two stories.

To residents in the Spectrum neighborhoods of Kearny Mesa, the park situation is an eerie case of deja vu.

“It’s pretty strange,” said Derek Blattner, as he stopped to chat Thursday on his way out of Centrum Park.

I leased my car from one of the dealers in the fine stable of Sunroad businesses. Don’t blame me though. I had nothing to do with Bobby Boy’s corruption or his grabbiness, for that matter.

Navy Sailor Tries to Save Puppy in Chula Vista

The term pos has a special meaning. The first two words are piece of. And some pos tortured a dog over in Chula Vista, but a hero Sailor by the name of Weylin Morton took him to the vet and paid his bill:

Puppy in Chula Vista, saved by Weylin Morton at Pet Emregency & Speciality Center

Chula Vista dog, saved by Weylin Morton at Pet Emergency & Speciality Center

A badly injured puppy found with a rod sticking from its mouth at a Chula Vista park has died, in spite of a local sailor’s best efforts to get her medical treatment.

Weylin Morton said he found the pit bull puppy with the rod sticking out of its mouth while walking his own dog at Cottonwood Park in Chula Vista in the 1700 block of east Palomar Street.

“I saw the puppy there … she was breathing heavily and fighting for life,” Morton said. “That little dog had gone through some torturous times recently … was left there to die.”

Morton said he acted quickly and rushed the dog to Pet Emergency & Specialty Center in Chula Vista where the bill for treating the dog amounted to $2,300.

Lil Chantilly, from Heels and Handguns and Rifles, tipped me off to this Sailor’s good deed. You can donate too:

According to Pet Emergency & Specialty Center, they will reimburse Morton his money if others would like to donate to help cover the bill. Those who would like to help can directly contact Pet Emergency & Specialty Center at 619-591-4802 and make a donation in the name of Weylin Morton or ‘pit bull puppy found in Chula Vista.’

Weylin Morton, you are a heck of a Sailor. . .

Highland Games and Gathering of Clans

Screen shot 2013-06-22 at 9.06.10 PMI am not now, nor have I ever been, Irish. But I recently did one of those genetic tests, the type where you swipe out a q-tip of your finest DNA (from inside your mouth) and send it back to a techie company. The results came back saying that my genetic make-up matched that of someone from Ireland! Curiously, my real country of origin (somewheres south-east of the Iries), grinned at me in the results as close to last place in the genetic lottery. That’s when I knew those DNA rackets were a load of rubbish.

That said- I am not now, nor have I ever been, Scottish. But I (indeed) attended the San Diego Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of Clans today. A friend of mine (who has her very own shirt for this occasion with her last name proudly emblazoned on the front and the back) (nerd) takes her Scottish roots seriously.

Not quite Alexander Julian Colours

Not quite Alexander Julian Colours

Quick funny story about last year’s Highland Games. Forgive me for dropping names (ahem), but I was wearing an Alexander Julian Colours shirt a year’go. And a lady, a lassie I s’pose considerin’ where we was, passed me and nearly squealed. Oh, I like his tartan! I wonder wot’s his clan? I had no nerve to tell her, clan J.C. Penny, ma’am. Men’s section. At the yearly Christmas sale! I felt somewhat delighted and flat-footed. Both. The latter’s a feeling I rarely feel, for my feet are delightfully (that word again) arched. Quite nearly Grecian. (Truth: I have an average arch, but average does not an interesting blog post make.)

So this year, when I searched for my tartan, I discovered my rust colored Alexander Julian Colours shirt was in the wash! Argggh, I did not plan well for this Gathering of the Clans. Not to fear, I wore my blue Alexander Julian shirt. And proudly sauntered around, ready to loudly proclaim my Clan. Sadly, no squealers over me were to be found at today’s gathering.

Wicked Tinkers

Wicked Tinkers

The music was pleasant. With the wild:

Wicked Tinkers

Wicked Tinkers – Known as “The Wicked Ones” , (click on photo to enlarge) play the music of the Scottish Highlands proud, stirring, passionate and spice it with the Celtic tunes of Ireland. Aaron Shaw, one of the top pipers in America and Warren Patrick Casey, drummer for twenty five years have wowed audiences all over America. Not a military or rock band, Wicked Tinkers perform the kind of music you might have heard hundreds of years ago at a Scottish wedding, ceilidh or around the campfire of a Highland raiding party.

Blackwaterside

Blackwaterside

The soulful:

Blackwaterside:

The band Blackwaterside was formed in 1995 by flutist Susan Craig Winsberg in celebration of her Scottish heritage. Since then they have released three CDs and have played several concerts and festivals, receiving great public acclaim. They are known for their varied approach to traditional Scottish and Irish music, alternating lively, upbeat tunes with lyrical and haunting ballades, constantly changing the texture and color of the instrumentation so that their sound is forever fresh.

Men of Worth

Men of Worth

And the lulling and subtle:

Men of Worth
The folk-music duo, Men of Worth, was formed by James Keigher (Ireland) and Donnie Macdonald (Scotland) in 1986. Both exiles, it was through the Celtic music scene in Southern California that James and Donnie first met, and within a couple of years a partnership developed that was simultaneously serious and fun.

Before you ask, yes there was highland dancing, sheepdog trials, piping and drumming, haggis (I checked ‘em out, did not partake), the Braemar stone throw, hammer toss, caber toss, and all that tossing, hurling, heaving stuff. Was it fun? Very much so. Although, I must remember for future Gatherings to wash me clan shirt!

Dawn Blitz!

If you live near the Sandy Eggo coastline, do not be alarmed by hordes of naval invaders. Chances are it is part of the Dawn Blitz exercise, between Japan and our forces:

Japanese troops will converge on California’s southern coast in the next two weeks as part of a military exercise with U.S. troops aimed at improving that country’s amphibious attack abilities.

U.S. and Japanese military officials said the unprecedented training, led by U.S. Marines and sailors, will help Japan’s Self-Defense Force operate in stronger coordination with the United States, its main ally, and better respond to crises such as natural disasters.

China may see it differently, however, given the tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over a long-running dispute concerning islands claimed by both in the East China Sea.

“It’s another dot that the Chinese will connect to show this significant expanding military cooperation,” said Tai Ming Cheung, an analyst of Chinese and East Asian security affairs and director of the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California, San Diego.

China asked the United States and Japan to cancel the drill, scheduled to begin Tuesday, Japan’s Kyodo News service reported, citing unnamed Japanese government sources. The Japanese Defense and Foreign Ministries would not confirm whether China had made any request but said they are going ahead with the exercises.

New Zealand and Canada will also be part of the exercise.

Relay for Life, San Diego’s Islamic Run

I try not to traffic in conspiracy theories, but did anyone on the Relay for Life team look closely at their little logo? The thing looks positively Islamic:

Relay for Life San Diego

Relay for Life, American Cancer Society, San Diego’s Islamic symbol?

I truly respect the Relay for Life folks; I’m not sure they thought through their logo choice. If you don’t know what I am talking about, please go here. And if you are Islamic, would you not think this is the wrong use of your religious symbols?

How to Find a Girlfriend Near a Navy Base

Marc Paskin is a millionaire who put up a billboard in San Diego along Interstate 5 and 28th Street. Literally, the sign was right around the corner from the 32nd Street Naval Base in a dumpy neighborhood called Barrio Logan. Marc was looking to spruce up his love life and he thought that advertising near the freeway would be a successful way to find a Latina girlfriend. Good luck, shipmate, you might just end up with a Latina Sailor. Or a hoodlum.

Zombies Drop in on Sandy Eggo

HALO Counter-Terrorism Summit, San Diego, Zombie Nazis

Nothing says counter-terrorism like the undead, like a bunch of crazed, zombie Nazis. And they are invading San Diego for a counter-terrorism conference:

When zombies and cops and Halloween – oh my — collide.

That’s the thrust of the so-called “zombie apocalypse” component of next month’s annual Counter-Terrorism Summit in San Diego, hosted by security firm HALO Corp. on a 44-acre island in the city’s Mission Bay section. Brad Barker, president of the California-based organization, said hosting the annual event over the Halloween weekend was too much temptation to resist.

 And my old boss (seven levels up) Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden will be in attendance.

San Diego Electrical Shortages

It should be a heck of an interesting summer. The US Navy has agreed to reduce its electrical use if San Diego gets hit with power shortages:

The Navy is nearing a first-time agreement to reduce electricity use at its sprawling San Diego-area bases, if power runs short in Southern California this summer.

The Navy is San Diego Gas & Electric’s largest customer, and the deal is intended to diminish the threat of blackouts while the San Onofre nuclear plant remains offline.

Under the agreement, the Navy would temporarily reduce its energy consumption if supplies get scarce, in exchange for savings on rates.

For all you movie fans: Yes, San Onofre is featured in the Leslie Nielsen Movie, Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! You, of course, remember which scene. . .

Guess Who Is in Town?

Quick question, guess the gentleman in the below picture? Hint, it’s not Hamlet:

Pawn Stars’ Big Hoss, Corey Harrison

If you guessed Corey Harrison, Big Hoss from History Channel’s Pawn Stars, you would be correct. Apparently, the folks from the program go on the road to appraise items from the public. And yesterday, the team was at a local San Diego resort:

Some walked away with a stack of $100 bills, others with nothing but the relics they tried to sell.

But everybody who stopped by Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula on Saturday to see the stars of the History Channel’s popular reality television show “Pawn Stars” walked away a little starstruck.

Rick “The Spotter” Harrison, his son, Corey “Bigg Hoss” Harrison, and Austin “Chumlee” Russell —- all stars of the popular weekly series —- purchased more than $30,000 worth of coins, gold items, watches and other valuables Saturday from some of the many people who waited in line to meet and haggle with the trio face to face, an employee with the show said.

I like Pawn Stars. Last month in Vegas, I drove past the storefront of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, but did not go inside. It looked remarkably smaller than the television portrays.

Rick Harrison, Corey “Big Hoss” Harrison, and Chumlee from Pawn Stars at Pechanga Resort

Only the three main characters showed up at the resort. None of the experts accompanied them. Nor did the “Old Man” (Richard Harrison), Danielle “Peaches” Rainey, or the shop’s enormous bodyguard, Antwaun.

Rick is also the author of the book: License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver, published earlier this year. That could be a good read. . .

Veteran’s Day at the Carrier Classic

In honor of Veteran’s Day, the NCAA Carrier Classic was played aboard the USS Carl Vinson:

CORONADO, Calif. — The nation’s basketball-fan-in-chief appeared to enjoy the first college hoops game on an active aircraft carrier.

President Barack Obama sat courtside and watched No. 1 North Carolina beat Michigan State 67-55 on Friday night in the Carrier Classic on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson.

The crowd looked massive on the flight deck. And the grey weather lifted:

NCAA Carrier Classic, Michigan State vs. the University of North Carolina, USS Carl Vinson

As for Veteran’s Day, I could not: say it better than the Rev, share a more inspiring video than ASM, or reminisce like Lou. . .