Only Its Name Would Be Changed to Protect Its Ignominious Identity

North City West, its name synonymous with leap-frog growth and political flip-flopping, is searching for a new name and a fresh start.

No more taunts of North City Wasteland! No more North City Where?

"It's time for us to become our own community," said Ed Vasel of the North City West Community Planning Board. "We're going to get a real life."

Nominations can be dropped off at the shopping mall that serves as the community's nerve center. The planning board will then pick a name for submission to the San Diego City Council.

North City West is a surveyor's title, a blah label on a map stuck in a drawer in the Planning Department. Added to that is the ignominy of its political past.

North City West was the first exception to the city's growth management plan--the illegitimate child of Pete Wilson's political passion and need for developer contributions to run for higher office.

Sight unseen, Del Mar so despised North City West that it sued to prevent it from being built (and lost).

This is not the first time someone has tried to wipe North City West's slate clean with a name switch.

Several years ago, developers tried to rename the northern part Del Mar Highlands and the southern part Corona del Mar. A wise-guy reporter wrote that North City West was so controversial it was forced to use aliases. Except for real estate agents, the names didn't stick.

My hunch is that a new name isn't enough.

Maybe North City West should be put into the Federal Witness Protection Program. Give the whole community a new identity and relocate it to a different part of the county, maybe in the barren stretches of Otay Mesa.

In exchange, it would be required to testify occasionally at slow-growth hearings:

"I never thought of myself as a bad place, just misunderstood. People just wouldn't let me forget that my densities were so dense, my parks minuscule and my environmental consciousness subterranean."

Its face would be hidden behind a screen, and its voice disguised electronically, of course.

You Heard It Here First

Coming and going.

* Briefly.

The Scout, the newspaper at Camp Pendleton, reports the deployment of Marines to Saudi Arabia in a brief story with a ho-hum one-column headline: "U.S. Gets Involved in the Mideast."

No numbers, few details.

The editorial page is full of keep-your-mouth-shut advice: "Loose lips can cost people lives," and "What you say makes a difference."

That didn't stop the spouse of one Marine from telling UPI:

"I hate to say this, but they're packing up everything at Pendleton. They're pretty much moving the whole base."

* The San Diego City Council is choosing up sides in the sheriff's race.

Linda Bernhardt, Bob Filner and John Hartley are for Jack Drown. Bruce Henderson and Wes Pratt are for Jim Roache.

* The Recall Bernhardt Committee sent a demand to Bernhardt for her official appointment calendar and for answers to 11 loaded questions about developer money, the Mystery Map, etc.

Down on Its Lock

If you think North City West has image problems, try the Exxon Valdez.

First, it got a new name, the Exxon Mediterranean, while undergoing repair at Nassco in San Diego.

Then it was to be sent to the Mediterranean to load some Iraqi crude in Turkey as a post-repair sea trial. That's been delayed, for obvious reasons.

Trouble just seems to follow the big boat, moaned Exxon Shipping Co. spokesman Les Rogers. He swears he checked with his bosses to see if it could keep a lower profile.

"I asked them if they had any way to make this a Stealth tanker," he said, "and they said no."

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