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Officials found an unusual way to hire a new boss for the $7.2 billion county pension fund last year: They made him a consultant in order to pay him more money than county employees are allowed to make.

Now, the pension chief has a new idea, one that is raising conflict-of-interest questions. He’d like the county to outsource its entire investment team and put him in charge of it for $10.6 million annually plus incentives.

“All that,” as our story puts it, “from a Texas man who got his foot in the county’s door by applying for a job whose salary was too low for him.”

In other news:

  • Here we go again.

    You may recall our standoffs with the San Diego Mayor’s Office over its refusal to hand over public e-mails (here’s how it started and here’s how it finished) and a government lawyer who wouldn’t show us her legal bills, which are public record (here’s how that started and finished).

    Now, we’re up against the District Attorney’s Office, which would like to charge us $1,354 for public records. Open government experts say the DA can’t charge us for much of what it is trying to.

    Our first post lays out what we’ve requested and why experts say the charge is outside the law. And our first update shows our attempts to interview the district attorney, contains our original request and comments from readers, including a computer engineer who questions the need to devote major computer power to our request.

  • The Fact Check Blog is in action, checking a claim that about 99.9 percent of challenges to local judges come from defense attorneys.

    Is the claim true? It’s impossible to tell. But it’s misleading regardless.

  • What do “sextillion” and sports have to do with each other? No, we’re not talking about the notches on Tiger Woods’ bedpost. The number has something to do with the odds that you’ll come up with a perfect NCAA basketball bracket. An SDSU statistician has the skinny.
  • An Encinitas city official has more details why the new owners of a $810,000 house can’t move in. Basically, they’re still, um, a word that rhymes with “mood.”
  • Our editorial cartoonist explores what the “sunshine tax” really means for San Diegans, who tend to not pay much attenti … hey, look, it’s real purty outside! Everybody in the station wagon, we’re goin’ to the beach!
  • And in City Hall news, a judge “has thrown out the controversial special benefit a firefighter union head received as part of one of the city’s pension underfunding deals.” That former union head is Ron Saathoff, who we profiled in this 2006 piece about how he was the one man left standing in the wake of the pension scandal.
  • There’s no Photo of the Day, unless you’d like to see some lovely pictures of my cat looking adorable. Or me looking adorable, but with somewhat less fur.

    Why no daily pic? Our photographer is ill. We’re sure green beer and shamrock shakes from McDonald’s had nothing to do with it.

Elsewhere:

  • The runaway Prius saga continues with a new twist: a CHP report supports a man’s story that his Toyota accelerated uncontrollably, the U-T says. The AP has another interpretation, saying the report “did nothing to clarify the wildly divergent versions of events” from the driver and Toyota.
  • The state prison system gave in and released a 282-page file regarding the man accused of killing Chelsea King. At first glance, however, the files don’t appear to contain anything noteworthy other than the fact that he was “cited in prison for repeated violations, many of them having to do with smoking.” (U-T)
  • As expected, San Diego Fire Department response times have increased amid budget cuts. The U-T says “One crew took 10 minutes to respond to a heart attack patient, and by the time the crew arrived, the victim was dead.”
  • Oh boy, seal news! “A long-awaited hearing to discuss converting the Children’s Pool beach in La Jolla into a marine mammal park left city leaders deadlocked Wednesday and no closer to ending the decade-old dispute over an entrenched seal colony,” the U-T reports.
  • Since you are obviously an extremely intelligent and serious individual, you certainly will absolutely have no interest in the story (recapped in the LAT) about a San Diego tattoo model (there are tattoo models, apparently) named Michelle “Bombshell” McGee and how she supposedly had an affair with the husband of a famous actress. I included the link above so you can feel superior by not clicking on it.

    Is it just me, or is “Bombshell” a terrible nickname?

— 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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