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It was to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Last Election Day, several labor-friendly candidates in San Diego won their races and were expected to usher in a new era of unity with unions.

It hasn’t quite turned out that way, especially at City Hall, where some crucial council votes “show evidence of potential miscalculations on labor leaders’ part” or a serious failure to communicate.

Also at City Hall, some laid-off San Diego city employees stay on the payroll to collect their vacation after they lose their jobs.

But they get more than that while they’re in this twilight zone between work and unemployment: holiday pay.

A newly released audit recommends that this policy take a permanent vacation.

San Diego County has a new sheriff, a familiar face in law enforcement who’s expected to run to keep his new job come election time in 2010.

And now, a musical interlude. Allegro! Mainly Mozart, it seems, can turn on a dime.

Until yesterday, the website of the local orchestra series solely credited a county supervisor for a taxpayer-funded grant. The website quickly changed its tune after a reporter asked questions.

On the education beat, a debate is simmering over when to start school. An early start time could leave kids outside waiting for buses before 7 a.m., but a late start time means children may be let loose after 4 p.m.

The downtown library is the central issue in letters, where a school board member questions who has “dibs” on bond money and a writer wonders about the value of books on paper.

Elsewhere, San Diego CityBeat continues its coverage of an East County psychiatric hospital’s service as a holding ground for mentally ill immigration detainees. Records reveal that 221 detainees have spent time there so far this year, reflecting a large — and unexplained — increase since 2004.

Some detainees are said to be shackled to their beds nearly 24 hours a day at the facility.

The U-T reports that the county now has its first swine-flu fatality: a 20-year-old woman who was apparently in good health before becoming ill.

A final note: There’s still time to sign up for next week’s special voiceofsandiego.org event honoring the people who make San Diego work.

You’ll meet the folks we’ve profiled, see extraordinary photos of their lives and enjoy light appetizers with our staff and supporters. Join us from 6-8 p.m. at the McMillin Event Center in Liberty Station on Thursday, July 25.

Just make sure to register by Friday. Admission is free for voiceofsandiego.org donors and $20 for first-time donors.

— RANDY DOTINGA

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