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As the marquee political debate in the city of San Diego builds toward a crescendo, this may be remembered as a big weekend for Proposition D, the measure to raise a half-cent sales tax after a series of 10 financial reforms. It started with an introduction to the owner of Printing on Fifth, Manny Marin who began printing “No on D” signs for free.

The small businessman’s outrage seemed to be a new, inspiring symbol for the campaign. In the vein of “Joe the Plumber” from the McCain-Palin 2008 presidential campaign, Councilmen Kevin Faulconer and Carl DeMaio pushed the story and called him “Manny the Printer.”

“Efforts like this tell me there is a groundswell of opposition in San Diego to the sales tax increase,” Faulconer wrote on his Facebook page.

But Marin’s anger about a sales-tax increase may not have needed much prodding to swell. A review of his blog reveals a belief that President Obama is a dictator and an “assclown” and that “liberalism is a DANGEROUS mental disorder.”

But then, big news: The Union-Tribune endorsed Proposition D, joining the Chamber of Commerce and EDC and validating both Councilwoman Donna Frye’s decision to force her colleagues to reforms with a sales tax push and Mayor Jerry Sanders’ remarkable political ability to lock in support for them from the business establishment.


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The U-T went a step further than any of those groups, laying out a vision of San Diego and drawing a line from its support for a new Chargers stadium and Convention Center to Proposition D, which is “a new model for cooperative, bipartisan leadership for the future of San Diego.”

Also, compare that tone to the editorial from 2005 endorsing Sanders over his rival for the Mayor’s Office, Frye, in which the newspaper derided Frye’s campaign for a half-cent sales tax increase combined with a reform package. Something has indeed changed at the U-T.

I was struck not only by the paper’s outlining of its ambitious agenda for city government but also that the editorial didn’t seem to speak just for the editorial board. It spoke for the newspaper.

“For this newspaper, our vision for the future of San Diego is clear.”

• It was an interesting tack for the newspaper to cite the need for expanding the Convention Center and building a new stadium in an argument for Proposition D. Most supporters of Proposition D have not ventured as close to tying it to the vast expansion of construction efforts downtown approved in a late night meeting of the Legislature recently.

The U-T previously called that deal a “subversion of the democratic process.” But that it had a good outcome in the form of a foundation for the stadium and other projects the U-T supports.

• Whatever the outcome, the deal orchestrated by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher continues to generate fallout. 10News reported last night that the county was furious that its negotiations with the city about whether and how to expand redevelopment downtown had been steamrolled. “A highly-placed county source told 10News the county’s top administrator, Walt Ekard, met with Mayor Sanders late last week to discuss the growing controversy. According to the source, Ekard told the mayor he could no longer trust him to play fair with the redevelopment funds.”

The county and state had the most to gain from redevelopment subsiding downtown and the most to lose from it continuing unrestrained.

Though no one beside the mayor, CCDC and Fletcher seemed to know about them, discussions about the deal actually began in August.

In other news:

• Is John DeBeck a “vital critic” on the board of the San Diego Unified School District or is he “just a curmudgeon?”

That’s the basic question posed in this profile of the incumbent, the next in a series on the school board candidates.

“While de Beck has piped up, exposed problems and dreamed up ideas, he has been less successful in building political coalitions to actually change things,” Emily Alpert writes.

• The western stretch of San Ysidro Boulevard is struggling to survive, while nearby its eastern stretch bustles with commerce. What’s going on?

“Along West San Ysidro Boulevard, abandoned storefronts, vacant car lots and struggling businesses pock the landscape. Few pedestrians roam the sidewalks. But just to the east, on the side of the freeway closer to the international border, business booms…”

• Friday, our arts section Behind the Scene debuted a new feature in conjunction with our partners at NBC 7/39. “Behind the Scene TV” this week caught clarinetist Frank Renk preparing for his solo performances with Orchestra Nova.

• Rich Toscano has some good background on the burgeoning foreclosure “paperwork” scandal.

“… the lack of clarity about who exactly owns a foreclosed property could prevent buyers, lenders, and title insurers from wanting to have anything to do with properties that have been foreclosed on in recent years,” he writes.

Elsewhere:

• 60 Minutes ran a moving story last night about homeless veterans, the annual San Diego event called Stand Down and the Veteran’s Village of San Diego. It’s a story we and others have told to varying degrees, but the power of 60 Minutes to distill dramatic tales like this has rarely been clearer.

• The New York Times collected and translated a series of perspectives on drug violence in Mexico from various Mexican perspectives, including how it has driven away tourists from Tijuana but brought something good too.

• The North County Times touts an exclusive: “For five years, San Marcos city officials kept from public view a color-coded map showing varying degrees of risk to residents from catastrophic wildfires —- including two neighborhoods judged to be in ‘extreme’ danger of property loss, death or injury —- for fear insurance companies would use the information to justify dropping policies or hiking rates, officials have acknowledged.”

• Finally, the U-T’s Mark Zeigler is one of the best writers in town. He applied his talents Sunday to the NFL’s determined but hopeless fight against the internet’s undermining of its hated blackout policy.

Perhaps we can fit an end to the NFL’s blackouts within the U-T’s vision for public support of a new stadium.

Please contact Scott Lewis directly at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/vosdscott.

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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