San Diego prosecutors have unleashed a new weapon against pimps: They’ve been successfully accusing them of working with gangs.

When they add gang allegations to charges, prosecutors raise the stakes because defendants who get convicted can end up serving more time.

The local approach is unusual and controversial. A sociologist who studies gang members said it’s extremely rare for one to be a pimp. But in court cases, prosecutors don’t necessarily need to prove that alleged pimp is part of a gang.

We’ve got more details on the local prosecution efforts and two related gang investigations called Operation Bloodsucker and Operation Lucky Strike. Talk about a way with words.

In other news:

  • Mayor Jerry Sanders has got some work to do, and it’s a bit touchy: As we report, the City Council’s passage of the budget means he’ll “undertake a formal study on new city taxes for stormwater and refuse collection.”

    New taxes — especially for trash pickup — are a political hot potato.

  • In education, we attended a San Diego school district budget meeting — officials are facing cuts of as much as $200 million — and heard parents throw out suggestions. Judging by applause, the most support came for dumping or cutting back on testing, even tests required by the feds. “The kids will still learn!” one parent exclaimed.

    Another idea: a Qualcomm High. (Only if the company pays for the privilege, though.)

  • Also in education, outside experts think cutting the school district’s fraud hotline is a bad idea.
  • Local homeless advocates yesterday unveiled a new public awareness campaign to promote an effort to provide 1,600 housing units, plus assistance, for transients. “The reality is that not housing the homeless costs more,” a United Way official (and former city councilman) said.
  • Ready, set, prognosticate! Plenty of financial gurus did an absolutely terrible job of predicting the housing bust and the economy’s big swoon. But seers are still out there reading tea leaves, and we’ve compiled links to a few of their thoughts.

    One of the links goes to our own Rich Toscano, who actually has a sterling track record at getting things right. But for once, he’s specifically not gazing into his crystal ball. We won’t hazard any guesses as to what he is gazing at instead.

  • Toscano also has a new column looking at healthy housing sales but a tight supply in November.
  • Our Photo of the Day is a stunning nighttime shot of Children’s Pool in La Jolla by editor/reporter Rob Davis. Those are seals slumbering on the beach.
  • Our photo soundtrack — a song that evokes something about the Photo of the Day, in case you’re wondering — is an obscure and moody one by the Beach Boys.

Elsewhere:

  • In a story it touts as an exclusive, the NCT reports that “the Marine officer who commanded the Camp Pendleton troops responsible for killing two dozen Iraqi civilians after a roadside bombing in 2005 denied Thursday trying to cover up the killings or failing to report what he knew to the chain of command in Iraq.”
  • As we reported earlier this week, the Chargers have done an about-face and now say they want public money to help build a new football stadium. One of our columnists wondered if the public should get a stake for its largesse.
  • Now, the the U-T is also exploring the team’s hopes for taxpayer dollars. More than 1,000 people had commented on the story as of early this morning.
  • Finally, a local financial guru gives the Wall Street Journal some advice about what Mrs. Tiger Woods should do now.
  • Take everything he’s got except a broken nine-iron? Naw, says the adviser, who thinks she should explore nonconfrontational options like mediation.

Easy for him to say.

— RANDY DOTINGA

Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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