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Del Mar Fair asks Orange County Fair for bail-out

For as long as I've lived in the county, and that's a long time, that agricultural district and its operations have been very strange. There's virtually nothing about it that is "transparent", and there are suspicions that various pols have used it as a source of funding along with a way to influence other governmental agencies. One thing it does appear to do is employ some local residents, pay them well, and provide good benefits. In that way, it is doing good things. In fact, years ago there were some of the seasonal employees there who earned enough in a few weeks of work to carry them through the year, nice work if you could get it indeed. But the purpose of having the fair was originally to showcase local agriculture at a time when that was a major industry locally. Add in some rides and amusements and you had a formula for entertainment of a relatively unsophisticated rural population. In more recent years the fair has turned into a carny operation with many out-of-town peddlers selling anything and everything, and then leaving town with the proceeds. As to the financial management of the district, and its need for an emergency bail-out, it is outrageous, and ought to be investigated for criminal conduct. If there were a real audit and a real investigation, I'd expect some very embarrassing revelations. Past governors have appointed members to the board who were shady and strange, and we all might wonder why.
— June 19, 2020 8:06 a.m.

UCSD admissions not entirely clean

Hmm. You were a cheerleader at UCLA, huh? When I was there, over fifty years ago, that was a glamorous thing to be for sure. Only back then they were called Song Girls. There was one guy, at least who was called "Yell Leader". Anyway, over the intervening years, that squad was tough to get into, as it got (frankly) sexier. Back in my time, it wasn't all that hard to get admitted to UCLA--you needed the required courses from high school, but the grade point average wasn't all that high. The real challenge for many students admitted was academic, and there was a huge flunk out/dropout rate among frosh. Assuming that you were there far more recently than I was, the hurdles to get over were higher, and there might have been some special consideration available to such students as cheerleaders. But until recently, most of the admissions have been formulaic, based on SAT score and high school GPA. I do understand why these wealthy folks want to buy the way for their kids into certain universities. It's a way of making the kid happy, and regardless of his/her success in school, it won't affect the future life of the offspring much or at all. It is fraud and I don't condone it, and feel a bit sorry for the kids who are now kicked out of the school for having been admitted fraudulently. Worse yet, some schools are revoking degrees already granted, regardless of how well the student performed academically. And finally, although it matters little to the rich parents, they have made guilty pleas to felonies, and have felony records for life. All to what avail?
— May 27, 2020 10:24 a.m.

Will a $46,000 federally funded COVID-19 drone fly in El Cajon?

Alex, you are correct. I'd hoped that as chief of police this guy was showing some class and not wearing some ridiculous military rank insignia. But that's not it, I'm now certain. I have no recollection of when these chiefs started militarizing their uniforms. I'd long assumed that some military-sounding titles were the best that the cops could come up with. Even in England where all this ranking started, the only rank in the "bobbies" that sounds military is Sergeant. The basic level there is Constable. The next level is Sergeant, and above that comes Inspector. But then they move to civilian titles such as deputy superintendent and superintendent. And they sure don't wear military rank insignia. So nowadays in California, at least, we have the chief of police usually wearing four stars, as in the four stars of a full general in the Army or Air Force or Marine Corps. That's a rarefied rank that usually involves command of tens of thousands of troops, or sailors, or whatever. But who here in San Diego wears those four stars on his collar? Gore, our slimy sheriff does, as does Chief McCoy in Oceanside. I don't know for sure about the COP in San Diego, but his predecessors all wore four stars. A few years ago the chief of the tiny Coronado PD was wearing four stars. So they like to put themselves in league with major military figures of the past and present. (As a point of reference, the Army has only about 14 four-star generals, and it is certain that the AF, Navy and USMC each have fewer than that.) Moreover there are some skeptics who think that such numbers of four-star generals are excessive. But to pile it on, the odious sheriff of LA county has been photographed wearing FIVE stars. He wants to put himself in the company of such officers as Eisenhower, Nimitz, MacArthur, Hap Arnold, Halsey and Bradley. They all commanded forces in wartime in the millions. This misuse of military insignia by cops may be harmless, or maybe not. Ask yourself why the chief of a small city PD with a couple hundred employees thinks he should wear four military stars on his collar or epaulets, as though he is a major commander or war hero. Is it really harmless, or do these guys (and a few gals) really think of themselves in such highfalutin terms? If they do, we are on the downslope to a police state, and we all should reconsider their role in society.
— May 24, 2020 8:48 p.m.

Palomar College pours money into Rancho Bernardo campus

This is an excellent report by Ken, and covers news that would never make the pages of the You-Tee. He has touched on many related issues, but those of declining enrollment and scads of former retail space coming available are both 800 pound gorillas in the room. The legislation that made school bond issues "easy" to pass was short-sighted, in that school districts such as Palomar College can get approval for work that far exceeds the real need. The voters should put the brakes on all this spending until enrollment sorts itself out. Here in No County we've seen Cal State, SM grow from nothing into a large campus with many buildings and many more under construction in less than thirty years. Where are all the students coming from? And where will they come from in even greater numbers in the future? The current declines in community college enrollment say that they will not keep coming. "Build it and they will come" might apply in a few places, but when it comes to colleges and universities, if the people in the right age brackets are not plentiful and lack interest, they won't show up regardless of how fancy the campus looks. The main point of the disparity of spending between a satellite campus in RB vs Fallbrook is a good one. The only justification could be that the taxes raised to pay off the bonds will come from the more affluent area of RB due to sky-high home prices and hence bigger tax bills. But nobody seems to have raised that point. Final comment: These career school administrators are a breed apart. They can do a lousy job, thumb their noses at the board members who employ them, get away with all sorts of wrongdoing, and still stay employed with very generous salaries. And if by chance one board fires them, they will soon resurface at another school or district.
— May 23, 2020 10:25 a.m.

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