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The No on Proposition D campaign has been getting lots of mileage out of a roving billboard that compares a city librarian’s pension ($227,000) to a four-star general’s ($149,000).
The billboard is even going to be outside the Justin Bieber concert at the Sports Arena on Saturday. (I didn’t realize that teenage girls were going to be the swing vote this election.)
So how did the campaign come up with its figure for the general? It just did a Google search and found a number in a Reuters story.
We went a bit farther to dig into the billboard’s claims and found enough for the Fact Check to label it “misleading.”
The main problem: They aren’t comparing the pension of just any old librarian who spends her days shushing kids and restocking dog-eared copies of Mark Twain books.
She was the director of the city’s library system, which includes 36 branches and 3.4 million books.
For those of you keeping score at home, you can add this to our Prop. D Fact Check Scorecard.
• Now for something a bit more uplifting: Back in Japan, religious people would sometimes approach Mitsuhiro Iwamoto and ask if they could pray for him.
He’s blind. They wanted to ask that he could see.
His reply: “I don’t need it!”
Iwamoto, the focus of this week’s inspiring Q&A, has come a long way since he was a depressed teenager dealing with the loss of his sight. Not only has he embraced his blindness, but he’s pushed it to its limits. The San Diegan’s next step: Becoming what he says would be the first completely blind person to sail across the Pacific (along with one sighted partner).
After we did the interview, photographer Sam Hodgson went out on the water with Iwamoto:
“He works the boat with fervor — beads of sweat drip from his face. He cinches the winches tighter and tacks and jibes. Forget for a moment that he’s blind and the motions seem unremarkable. Shut your eyes and imagine going through the same motions and the simple acts seem nearly impossible.”
• Cheer up Chargers fans! You won’t have to watch your crummy team play on television on Sunday. The game is blacked out, again. You can go out and chuck a Frisbee, hike a mountain, carve a pumpkin or really confuse people and have an Easter egg hunt instead.
But, if you’re really jonesing for some mistake-prone pigskin, here’s our Guide for How to Avoid the Blackout.
• Our latest fundraising campaign has inspired a fun contest in the office: There’s ballot box battle between Kelly Bennett, Emily Alpert and Liam Dillon to see whose coverage gets the most support from our members. (Randy Dotinga writes from his Florida vacation hideaway — he likes the humidity — to declare himself as a write-in candidate. D-O-T-I-N-G-A.)
Help settle the score: Support Proposition VOSD. We believe that the nonprofit model is a vital one for the survival of public-service journalism, and we rely on your support to do it every day.
What We Learned This Week
Slain Cop Loved His Beat: The San Diego police officer who died Thursday after a shootout in Skyline, Christopher Wilson, loved working that neighborhood’s beat. He stayed in the department’s tough Southeastern Division for 17 years — deliberately. (U-T)
Maybe You Shouldn’t Sue Your Employer After Being Fired for Taking Money: A city of San Diego redevelopment agency fired its president, Carolyn Y. Smith, in 2008 after we revealed her secret bonus system. She’s sued the agency for a severance and pension. And man does the agency have a response. The basics: It accuses her of using its pension plan as “her tax-free ‘checkbook’ from public funds.”
Perhaps the Porkfest Was the Only Option: The guy who replaced Smith says it’s pretty clear why city leaders needed to resort to a secret deal to extend the life of city-subsidized redevelopment downtown. His answer: They weren’t going to be able to prove downtown was rundown through the public process they had promised. Hence, the late-night porkfest.
Bonus coverage: We got a hold of a GOP analysis that says aloud what’s being murmured quite a bit about the deal: That it was done to build a Chargers stadium and expand the Convention Center.
You Can Hear Colors: What if you saw colors when you heard music? Now you can.
Campaign Contributions Are Thicker Than Water: Ben Hueso tried to leave his brother a treat as he departed the City Council and big bro Felipe battles for his seat. The problem: Turns out the $25,000 donation Ben sent to support Felipe is illegal, the U-T says.
The Coffee Election (A special edition of the Coffee Collection, turbo-charged with top-notch election coverage.)
• Instead of blocks of text, we offer a Cartoonist’s Guide to the Election.
• Here’s what happens if the GOP wins Donna Frye’s City Council seat.
• Two of the four candidates have had public, personal financial issues. How will that impact their ability to deal with the city’s financial problems?
• The race between Supervisor Ron Roberts and Stephen Whitburn has had few promises. (As a matter of fact, much of the race has been about simply the Democrat/Republican designation.) Our Keegan Kyle nailed down some hard details on what the candidates feel is the county’s biggest recent failure, how to deal with the homeless and their pledges for their terms.
We followed up with more on traffic, fire and the so-called slush funds.
• Emily Alpert talks to a lot of parents. And they have a lot of questions.
She spent some time this week answering their questions on Proposition J, the schools tax. They wanted to know: if the money can be spent on items not included in the tax, if it can go to employee pay boosts, and more about just how that extra $50 million a year can be doled out.
Quote of the Week:
“Life is good,”
— Mitsuhiro Iwamoto, a blind sailor with designs on crossing the Pacific Ocean.