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A few things:

  • As I mentioned in this post about Luis Acle, the president of the board for San Diego City Schools, he will be facing a hearing Jan. 31 in front of the city of San Diego’s Ethics Commission.

    These hearings are not normal. Almost everyone who the commission has approached with findings of violations of the city’s campaign finance or lobbying laws end up settling and their cooperation figures in heavily to the final fine administered.

    I asked Stacey Fulhorst, the executive director of the Ethics Commission, about it.

    “Holding an admin hearing is a tremendous drain on the commission’s resources, which are already extremely limited. For this reason, the commission’s staff always makes a diligent effort to effect a reasonable settlement with a respondent to avoid a hearing,” she said.

    She said the hearing will feature her as the petitioner and Acle as the respondent. The event is actually known as a probable cause hearing after which, the commission will decide whether a full administrative hearing should be held. It’s after the administrative hearing that a fine could be levied unless Acle settles before then.

    She said the probable cause hearing will be closed to the public unless Acle decides he wants it open.

  • If you haven’t seen it yet, today’s “Peanut Gallery” is a gem. Seth Hettena explores the disintegration of Copley News Service only a year after it and the U-T won journalism’s highest honor for its reporting on what turned out to be the most corrupt congressman ever caught.
  • We’ve got a great week coming up in Café San Diego. Today, libertarian Richard Rider sounds off with some decidedly contrarian views to the ones flowing about firefighters and public safety. Tomorrow, fire Chief Tracy Jarman might have a different take. Wednesday, City Councilman Jim Madaffer will make his first appearance and Thursday, Serge Dedina, the environmentalist from WildCoast, will make what is definitely not his first appearance.

    I’m really excited about Friday. Gil Cabrera, a local lawyer who chairs the city’s ethics commission, will do a point/counterpoint with political consultant John Kern. They’ll be going back and forth on the issue of restrictions in campaign finance laws.

    The Ethics Commission has begun the process of reexamining the city of San Diego’s election laws. Things like whether we should increase the $320 limit on individual contributions to mayoral candidates will be on the table.

    Cabrera sees a lot of value in limiting campaign contributions. Kern, not so much. Their discussion should be a good one.

  • Finally, I caught this picture last Wednesday at the awards ceremony for the San Diego Press Club. My phone doesn’t take very good pictures in low light but you should be able to tell that this is City Attorney Mike Aguirre and businessman Steve Francis, who’s running for mayor, in a deep conversation about something. Standing in the middle of a room while reporters and others chomped on tacos around them, Francis and Aguirre were really into it.

    So I thought of a little contest to start the week: Write up what you think they are saying to each other. I’ll send out one of our nice new black T-shirts to the cleverest entry. Either send me an e-mail, or post it in the comments below.

    I really didn’t want to actually try to listen in — I knew it would not be as interesting as my imagination. But here’s my best guess. Francis seems to be complaining about something:

    Steve Francis:Mike, if you and I are going to work together, you can’t sue me, and you gotta make sure CNN knows I’m the mayor when they come calling … assuming I do, of course, continue to consider exploring my options as a potential candidate for mayor.
    Mike Aguirre:Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve. Relax. Punches in bunches was the old me. And don’t worry, I know you’re nothing like the wealthy Republicans and downtown developers we’re fighting against.

SCOTT LEWIS

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