Talk about a head start.

Carl DeMaio, the conservative councilman thought to have dreams of high office, is making a bid for one. He’s officially filed to run for mayor. (Yes, the race that won’t be decided until 2012, with the November election a mere 668 days away.)

He’s the first to file to run, meaning he can spend his own money for the time being. DeMaio tells us, however, that his bid isn’t a sure thing: “Fixing the City’s pension and budget problems are my top priorities, and if running for Mayor will advance fiscal reform of our city, I will do it.”

Opera for Everyone:

Think it’s too hard to figure out opera? Nicolas Reveles begs to differ.

“Dr. Nic,” the San Diego Opera’s education and outreach guru, says you can understand opera if you can understand a country song. “That’s really all that opera is. Telling a story through powerful music. And every three-minute country western song does that. And they do it in a sometimes overly dramatic or overly emotional way.”

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In this weekend’s Q&A, Reveles confesses that he’s not big on opera recordings, discusses his dreams (where some scenes from his recent “queer opera” came from), and the connection between Carl Sagan, Chinese tunes and an upcoming opera’s score.

A Claim Too Far:

We’ve busted another urban legend claim: Sorry, folks, the center section of the Coronado bridge isn’t designed to float so the Navy could push it out of the way if the bridge was bombed. “Absolute nonsense,” says the bridge’s principal architect.

Of course, that is exactly what he’d say if it’s actually true, isn’t it? Hmm. Maybe I’m onto some sort of conspir… Urf! Ouch! Take those handcuffs off my… Arrgh!

Small and Worth It? In education, the San Diego school board decided to “allot more money per student to smaller schools as it revamps its budget. The debate danced around a key issue: Small schools typically cost more to run, per pupil, than larger ones.”

A Tale of Two Kitties:

The Mental Floss site spotlights cats who live in bookstores. No kitties from San Diego makes the list, but I’ve seen a cat or two at Adams Avenue Bookstore in Normal Heights. (Their website shows two, including one in the middle of either a giant yawn or a reaction to the latest Dan Brown opus.) Do you know of any other feline-friendly local bookstores? If so, drop me a line.

Do You Take This Mouse Pad…:

A public relations specialist from San Diego wanted to make her wedding “fun and personal,” the AP reports, so she did just the thing to promote intimacy and good times: she went on the Internet. “Really, the wedding Web site was one of the first things we did,” she said. Her site includes a glossary of English and Welsh words (in honor of the groom) and photos of the 20-person (!) wedding party.

Let’s hope the vows don’t include any URLs.

What We Learned This Week:

Near-Death Experience: Redevelopment agencies saw a light at the end of a tunnel this week, and they didn’t need to think long to realize it’s an incoming train called Governor Jerry Brown. The new boss in Sacramento reportedly wants to get rid of redevelopment agencies, which are supposed to help run-down areas get back on track. If it happens — and that’s far from guaranteed — perhaps San Diego’s dreams could be snuffed.

However, Vlad Kogan writes that over the last couple of decades Los Angeles made a similar transition, neutering its redevelopment agency, moving redevelopment away from downtown, reducing the government’s subsidy of largescale projects and putting more financial risk in the hands of developers. Los Angeles’ downtown has only thrived.

Share and Share Some More: Hey, Carlsbad! Got a spare cop? Imperial Beach! How about a streetsweeper? OK, things might not go quite like that. But there is new talk about saving money by consolidating services among the various government agencies in the county. Why, for example, do cities run separate tree-trimming operations when one could do the trick?

Fenced In: An agreement was supposed to make a school field available to kids in Sherman Heights after school hours. So why isn’t it open?

Wrong and Wrong: Visitors to supermarkets and shopping malls have been besieged by petition gatherers in recent weeks, including a guy who told passersby in Mission Valley that a proposed measure would give teachers a voice on the San Diego school board. That’s not true, and neither is the name he gave the U-T.

The ballot measure — which would try to reduce the influence of voters by expanding the school board’s size — may get an airing at City Hall, of all places.

Money for No One: The city overcharged some property owners in downtown by thousands of dollars, but it hasn’t sent out refunds nor has it publicized the problem.


The Coffee Collection (engaging stories to savor over a cup of joe):

Parent Uprising: They seem to like their schools for the most part, but Point Loma parents feel like they’re still powerless to influence the San Diego school district. In the past, their options were slim. But a new law allows them to flex their muscle and even secede from the district.

A Brutal Beginning: Councilman Tony Young, now the longest-tenured member of the council, gained power in a tragic way: he won office after his boss and best friend died and left his seat vacant. In an interview, he remembers how he dealt with the death and considers what the future holds for a struggling city’s leadership.

A ‘Brute’ of a General: Marine lieutenant general Victor “Brute” Krulak had the cojones to tell a president that he was mishandling a war. But also he felt the need to embroider his own past. A new book looks at the man who became a San Diego civic leader and may have led an espionage effort from the Copley News Service.


Quote of the Week: “CNN’s going to report it because the freaks are out. You know that’s going to happen. … We want them to come early. We want that 35-year-old guy that still has a Storm Trooper outfit on, we want him here.” — Councilman Tony Young on his Comic-Con parade idea.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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