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OK, this is fun.

I just talked to Darren Pudgil, the mayor’s spokesman. I wanted to know why the city of San Diego would be asking for $10 million from Congress and the president to expand the Ocean Beach library only weeks after the mayor excoriated the City Council for not closing that same library.

The request for the $10 million was included in a massive list of projects all San Diego area public officials submitted to the federal government.

Pudgil said the list of projects the city sent in came from the list of capital improvement projects that the City Council approved last year. And that this was well before the mayor himself had recommended cutting the Ocean Beach branch.

Furthermore, he said, the list didn’t matter much. Pudgil says it’s just to give Obama and other feds an idea of the kind of projects the city would fund.

“This is not a grant application. It’s basically just us letting them know the kinds of projects we would fund with block grant funding,” Pudgil said. “It is not a menu or a wish list.”

OK. So I wondered: If it’s meant to give Obama an idea of what the city would spend its money on, are we giving him a misleading idea if we include projects on there like the expansion of a library the mayor doesn’t even want to keep open now?

No, Pudgil said, we’re not. “This will all be revisited next year.”

So, with fanfare, the region releases a list of the projects it would fund with stimulus money from the new federal government.

But the mayor of San Diego says a good portion of the list isn’t to be taken literally. It’s just an “idea” of what we’d buy with federal money.

They should have just put, under the city of San Diego’s tab of what it would fund: “I don’t know, you know, libraries and roads and stuff.”

SCOTT LEWIS

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