Morning Report: Filner’s Record on Sewage

 

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It’s not every politician who wants to be known for wastewater treatment. But Rep. Bob Filner is no ordinary legislator. A while back, he even dubbed himself “Congressman Sewage.”

As monikers go, that’s not exactly up there with “Honest Abe.” But he tried to make it stick. And he indeed had a role in getting a waiver that allowed the city of San Diego to save big bucks in a flap over an environment-protecting upgrade for its sewage treatment plant.

Now you-know-what has cropped up in the mayoral race. “My first bill in Congress saved San Diego taxpayers, you guys, over $3 billion,” Filner declared in one of the endless debates.

San Diego Fact Check finds the claim is mostly true. Why a caveat? Because “the situation isn’t as simple as Filner makes it sound,” our City Hall reporter Liam Dillon reports. In short, we still have sewage issues.

• Dillon also looks at “The Curious Case of Bob Filner’s Pension.” He’s a former city official, and if he came back on the payroll as mayor, he’d rack up even more pension proceeds despite changes in how city employees are compensated in retirement.  

• There was yet another debate yesterday, this one sponsored by a local taxpayers group. You can watch it at www.sdcta.org or tune in to Channel 10 at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11.

U-T/Port Saga Continues

You may need a flow chart — or a stiff drink — to get your head around the flap over U-T CEO John Lynch’s reported threat to move to disband the port if it didn’t play ball regarding the U-T management’s push to turn the waterfront’s focus away from shipping.

Lynch initially claimed that a port commissioner doctored an email in which Lynch made the threat and added that “somebody could go to jail.”

Our Scott Lewis got in touch with Lynch.

Lynch says yeah, he made the threat. But the email was still doctored. How? He won’t say. He did say this: Scott Peters, the port commissioner and congressional candidate, “changed the email and was selective in what he released.”

Lynch could just check his “sent email” box and cough up what he wrote in the first place. But he hasn’t done that.

My theory is that he looked into his inbox, saw a Peters reply with original Lynch text that looked different than what he’d sent (due to some editing by Peters to avoid aggravating people copied on the message), and thought it was doctored.

Read that sentence a few times and it will hopefully make sense. If it’s not clear, send me an email, and as a public service I’ll doctor it and send it right back.

• In a U-T video, you can watch Lynch briefly talk about his vision for North County (where his paper just bought the county’s only other daily). “All of the communities of North County are emblematic of the kind of people who should like the U-T: pro-family, pro-military and pro-business.”

Anti-family folks are out of luck.

Quick News Hits

The political world was abuzz yesterday over a press conference featuring District Attorney (and failed mayoral candidate) Bonnie Dumanis and Councilman Carl DeMaio. Would Dumanis endorse her former rival?

Nah. She endorsed his education plan instead.

Dumanis, by the way, told us after the June primary that she’s “worried about San Diego” because of the identities of the two mayoral candidates. She also has a tortured history when it comes to political endorsements.

• The city has passed a law that seems to be targeted at rundown eyesores like the infamous Pernicano’s/Casa di Baffi restaurants in central Hillcrest, the Reader reports.

The buildings have been abandoned for more than a quarter-century, confounding and annoying local residents and merchants. An adjoining property is now home to one of Hillcrest’s most convenient paid parking lots, but the buildings remain empty and attract transients. (You can learn more about the properties by watching this video by our partners at the Media Arts Center.)

• Jason Russell, the local “Kony 2012″ activist whose breakdown last March made national news, talks to Oprah Winfrey in an interview to be aired Sunday. He said: “… it’s really hard to explain if people who have never had an out-of-body experience, but it really wasn’t me. That wasn’t me, that person on the street corner ranting and raving and naked is not me, that’s not who I am.” (USA Today)

• Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa has a much higher profile than when I attended services there as a kid. The church and its pastor, Jim Garlow, were major players in the push to pass the anti-gay-marriage Proposition 8.

On Tuesday night, Garlow appeared on “The Colbert Report” to talk about why he thinks tax-exempt churches should be able to spout political opinions.  

• The Reader is 40 years old this month and has posted a copy of its first issue from Oct. 5, 1972. It’s a nice time capsule of that era.

Lemon Grove had a nice French restaurant (!) called The Blue Man, dinner crepes sold for $1.25 and there was a long list of now-defunct movie theaters (Cinema 21, Cinerama, Vogue, Valley Circle) that old-timers like myself remember fondly. Ads promoted an Elton John concert, a performance by doomed actor Bob Crane and a radio station known only as “hers radio.”

Two stories on the cover explore downtown San Diego, especially around the gritty neighborhood that would be revitalized as the Gaslamp Quarter.

In search of perspective on the touchy topic of urban renewal, which has the power to both revitalize and destroy, a reporter interviewed a councilman named Floyd Morrow, who quoted Confucius, and a city official.

The latter had this to say about moving undesirables out: “We’re doing everything we can to help. You just can’t be all things to all people.”

Wisdom for — and from — the ages.  

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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