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The other day the mayor said the city’s payments for employee pension benefits will start going down after 2012. We ran that through our Fact Check-er-izer and found that it’s false. Actually, the pension payments are expected to peak at $500 million in 2025 and then drop substantially.

Why does this matter? If the mayor’s argument was accurate, it would hurt one of the opposition’s main arguments against Prop. D, the financial reform/sales tax increase measure. Foes say money from higher taxes will end up being used to be pay for ever-rising pension costs.

Separately last week, the folks who oppose the financial reform/higher sales tax measure sent out an email full of claims about the people on the other side of the Prop. D debate. A local TV station reported the political spin as if it were reality.

The televised edition of our reality check feature also examines a bunch of claims related to Prop. D.


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In other news:

• As we told you earlier this week, one of the city’s most neglected areas, along Commercial Street in southeastern San Diego, is due for a makeover. But, as our follow-up post explains, there are questions about whether the region’s redevelopment agency will play a role.

• In education, San Diego schools are likely to dip deeper into their reserves — leaving less of a financial cushion — if the governor doesn’t restore state funding for students with disabilities.

The local economy gained again in July for the 16th month in a row, a report says.

• If happiness is a warm gun, as The Beatles sang in a sardonic twist on the “Peanuts” line, then the San Diego crime lab may be a pretty pleasant place.

Crime lab technicians do a lot of work with guns of all types, and they have a hefty collection. Our photographer dropped by the lab — purely on business, mind you — and shot a series of pictures of the lab’s gun collection and more. They’re all in the Photos of the Day.

Elsewhere:

Will you have to pay to park at Balboa Park? It might seem to be a kind of sacrilege, but that’s one possibility being floated as the city tries to get rid of the pesky parking area in front of the San Diego Museum of Art, the U-T reports. On the drawing board: a two-story parking garage behind the organ pavilion where there’s sometimes available parking now.

Park activists interviewed by the U-T don’t appear to be dead-set against paid parking, with one saying he might support it in a parking garage if free parking remains elsewhere.

• A fledgling non-profit group wants to turn the giant Midway Drive postal distribution center in the Point Loma area into housing for the homeless, the U-T reports, following up on an earlier report by SDNews.com.

The story says little about the non-profit group. Its website has more: it appears to be a left-leaning organization with a proposed charter that says “no individual or non-living entity has the right to claim ownership” of land.

• North County Rep. Darrell Issa is the second wealthiest member of Congress, The Hill reports, with a minimum net worth of $160.1 million, a decline of about $4 million in 2009. Issa, founder of a major car-security company, reported a $1 million line of credit last year with Merrill Lynch.

• Education Week takes a look at the school reforms in San Diego and how they differ from those of the past in our city.

• Finally, CNET News refers to a study co-authored by University of Washignton and UCSD researchers that explains how it’s possible to hack a car’s computer system and take over some of its functions.

“Granted, the researchers needed to have physical access to the inside of the car to accomplish the attack,” CNET reports. “Although that minimizes the likelihood of an attack, it’s not unthinkable to imagine someone getting access to a car dropped off at the mechanic or parking valet.”

Call me when they figure out how to parallel park my car through a remote hookup.

— RANDY DOTINGA

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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