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You have to notice it.

Walk through the inner plaza of Civic Center and it comes at you: Power, radiating from the surrounding buildings. The Servants of the People, making decisions on our behalf, from which pot-hole to fix next to who to give the next multi-million dollar development dough to.

(You're right, we do pile on them too much. But who can resist?)

So here I am, crossing San Diego Bay, okay, the plaza's mosaic map of San Diego Bay as it was in 1542, when Cabrillo sailed the Ocean Blue.

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My sail is set for the one sign of life here at this time of night, Downtown Johnny Brown’s (1220 3rd Avenue, but actually in Civic Center's plaza, 619-232-8414), the green bar and eatery where your government drinks.

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That is, not the exalted ones. They’re probably down at Dobson’s, a couple of blocks away. Here are your clerks, paper shufflers, and yes, some policy types come to finish off saying everything they never got to say at the weekly meeting.

Whatever, mere humanoids like me seem welcome too.

At least I have no trouble getting in.

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And my nose has no trouble picking up the savory scents of roasting meat.

I make my way through people standing and sitting, half of them sparring, cliché for cliché, like there was no tomorrow. “That amendment should never have been amended!” “Moving forward…right-thinking people…vast majority…but he’s got the mojo, the backing of the Sixth Floor…”

Me, I’m obeying my nose. It leads me to this big pan underneath a chalkboard, not far from the bar.

And yeah! Somebody’s written on the chalkboard. “IPA Night: 21 IPAs & Complimentary Tri-Tip.”

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Huh. Guess this is it. I line up behind a couple of guys filling their plates, grab my own, fork on two slabs of the meat...

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...and head for a table.

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Two minutes in, half gone

Try not to look smug when the waitress brings plates to the couple next door, Derek and Taylor.

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Their stuff looks pretty good. Difference is, heh heh, they're paying.

He (Derek) has fish tacos ($9.75)...

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...and she (Taylor) has wings salad, kinda crispy buffalo-style chicken salad ($11.50).

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Now the waitress comes to me and I order one of those IPA’s from the board, the Pizza Port Man-Baby Wet Hop. Costs $5.75. Could have gotten a Sierra Nevada for $3, but hey, two steaks for $5.75 – and that means $5.75. Includes tax, seems – I ain’t complaining.

I think this deal is Fridays only. But they seem to have something going each day.

Hey, can't have government running on an empty stomach.

Now I jes’ sit back, ears burning, see if I can pick up the buzz on who's sleeping with who on the Sixth Floor…

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