The mayor’s office has been touting its proposed cutbacks to taxpayer-funded art projects as a way to save money that could be used for other purposes, like the police. But it turns out that the city can’t actually cut the biggest project on the mayor’s snip list and use the money for extra cops or anything else.

That’s because the city doesn’t pay for the $700,000 worth of public art that’s planned to be included in the new downtown central library now under construction, arts editor Kelly Bennett reports. So why is it on a list of art projects that are slated to be suspended?

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“There’s a number of different considerations, and we didn’t want to start treating each project differently based on what funding comes from what source,” a mayor’s liaison said. The reality is a bit different.

DeMaio Is Wrong-o

Councilman Carl DeMaio made a startling claim about a mayoral report: “For every $1 more the city will collect in tax revenues in next 5 years, 77 cents of it will immediately be diverted to the pension system.” Is he right? Nope. That’s false, San Diego Fact Check discovers.

Long Time No Study

The mayor’s office seems to be taking its sweet time as it works on a study that’s supposed to be released before the retirement system asks certain employees to consider controversial changes to retirement benefits. The study is a decade overdue. Employees may vote next month, without waiting for it, though preliminary results suggest that in an extreme feat of logic, the Deferred Retirement Option Plan being studied both does and doesn’t cost the city money.

Speaking of benefits, the NYT looks at the giant fuss in Wisconsin over the governor’s plans to balance the budget by sticking it to government employees. The paper suggests the drastic moves, including limits on labor rights, could be a sign of things to come nationwide on both the state and local levels. Schools in Madison had to close because too many teachers called in sick to go protest. The governor “would require state employees to contribute 5.8 percent of their pay to their pensions, where most now pay far less, and require state employees to pay at least 12.6 percent of health care premiums (most pay about 6 percent now).”

Understanding Why Redevelopment Is a Big Deal

To those who don’t closely follow government matters, redevelopment may seem like some vague bureaucratic entity that does something or other with buildings somewhere. But what and where? We’ve created a nifty graphic to show you both: it shows the reach of $442 million in redevelopment — funded by taxpayer dollars — in the county. Not surprisingly, San Diego’s chunk of the pie is huge; there are big slices for two mid-sized cities, San Marcos and Poway, too. Even upscale Solana Beach, which you might not assume would have run-down neighborhoods (maybe they’re the ones where the butlers live), gets redevelopment money.

Rushing to School’s Defense

A charter school in San Diego’s Chollas View neighborhood is under attack from parents and teachers, but now defenders have swooped into action too: scores of parents, teachers and others packed a school board meeting this week to defend the principal of Promise Charter.

Also in education, the school board wants to take a closer look at three unusual schools in City Heights. Working with San Diego State, they’ve gotten charity funding and special freedoms. But the results haven’t been spectacular, and now it looks like the board might be interested in changing things.

Keeping Tabs

If you’re curious about what local legislators are thinking and doing, check out CityBeat’s extensive compilation of details about their recently introduced bills, the committees on which they serve and their top donors.

Take that, Scurrilous Yet Awesome Urban Legends!

We’ve been checking out the veracity of local urban legends for a few months, and now you can check out a compilation of what we’ve discovered so far to separate myth from reality. Among the questions we’ve answered: Are there really bodies under a community park? Were there underground restrooms in downtown, “Wizard of Oz” Munchkins living on Mt. Soledad and a subterranean blob threatening the city? And what about watery tales about the Coronado bridge and the convention center?

We still have more myths to examine, and we’d like your help. Read the post by our resident Fact Check maven Keegan Kyle to see if you can point us in the truthful direction.

No Books for You

The Borders bookstore chain, which has filed for bankruptcy, will close its stores in El Cajon and downtown. There’s talk that there may be no bookstore left in downtown, although the reality is that Goodwill operates one and there’s another (with new books) in Seaport Village. But if you want to lounge around for hours in comfy chairs (or, like me, cast grumpy looks at the rude people in the chairs who prevent me from hogging them for hours), you may be outta luck.

Slow Down or Vista Will Move Fast

Be extra careful if you’re zipping through the North County city of Vista. If you cause an accident (because of, say, driving at top speed) the city will send you a bill for emergency response. It might be around $300; even city residents will get dinged. (NCT)

Department of Press Releases I Didn’t Finish Reading

Just came across this: “The Oceanside Dryer Vent Cleaning Wizard is Blogging his Passion about Dryer Fire Prevention.”

Alone Again, Germ-Fully

Live by yourself? A new study — based in part on findings from the homes of San Diego singletons — says you might be swimming in germs, especially if you’re a guy. “After testing for germs on four common surfaces — TV remotes, coffee tables, nightstands and doorknobs — scientists learned that bachelor pads contain 15 times the amount of bacteria than do the homes of bachelorettes,” MSNBC reports.

I’m not too worried about germs at my place. It’s enough to fight off the dust bunnies that keep threatening to turn into dust elephants. (En garde!)

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

Randy Dotinga

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

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