It’s complicated.

That’s the simplest way to describe the county district attorney’s approach to the idea of endorsing a candidate for sheriff.

Bonnie Dumanis, the DA, has done it already: She’d like the current sheriff to keep the job. But she’d rather that her prosecutorial staff stay above the fray. In fact, she specifically asked them to butt out and be neutral, if they don’t mind.

Some of them apparently do mind. As the second story in our five-part series about Dumanis reveals, prosecutors are divided over what to do about her recommendation that they not make a recommendation. In the bigger picture, her pledge not to endorse has become a joke with insiders.

Tomorrow: Dumanis has used her clout in questionable ways, handing out political retribution and pursuing cases that later proved disastrous.

In other news:

  • San Diego school board member Shelia Jackson says she’s not running for county supervisor. She also denies rumors that she’s stepping down from the board for financial reasons, but says the small paycheck for board members is trouble for “for anyone that wants to be an independent voice.”
  • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Our readers are very busy and very important. Even more so during the past few weeks. If you didn’t have a chance to check our site on a regular basis over the holidays, we’ve got a handy rundown of our best work.
  • Our neighborhoods reporter Adrian Florido gives readers a preview of what he’ll be working on this year, including stories about southeastern San Diego, the lives of extraordinary people, and the borders that divide us.
  • Scott Lewis continues his series of interviews with smart local people looking at the year ahead. In the latest installment, he chats with high-profile environmental attorney Marco Gonzalez about sewage, government via outlier and the reason he’s ashamed of the environmental community. Gonzalez also ranks major projects and civic worries and names the region’s most promising leader.
  • Also in education: With a deadline looming, San Diego schools aren’t acting to help the state in its bid for more school stimulus dollars. This could have financial consequences.
  • A local mortgage brokering firm called itself Creative Financial Solutions, and it certainly thought big: prosecutors say it defrauded lenders of as much as $5.1 million. Now, five defendants in the legal case have pleaded guilty and sentencing is pending.
  • Our Photo of the Day spotlights the Chargers’ lucky number, which also inspires today’s photo soundtrack.

Elsewhere:

  • In Escondido, the NCT reports, “city officials are more than half way to their goal of spending $800,000 in federal stimulus money to buy ‘blighted’ properties and set them aside for affordable housing projects.”
  • The U-T reports that “San Diego Unified School District officials have agreed to spend more than $750,000 on fines, new hires, training and audits to settle a $1.26 million complaint from the county alleging widespread violations of laws governing hazardous materials.”
  • Finally: the public transportation agency that serves North County is so money-poor that it’s considering naming stops and stations after people or institutions that cough up cash. (NCT)

Wow. What will they think of next? Naming a stadium after a pet store?

Correction: The original version of this post referred to the sheriff as the “acting sheriff.” Bill Gore is the official sheriff after being appointed by the Board of Supervisors. We regret the error.

— 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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