The 2012 mayoral election is still a long way off, but the next few weeks will be crucial in showing the candidates’ fundraising muscle.

“A mayoral campaign could cost as much as $1 million through next June’s primary,” Liam Dillon explains. “Prospective candidates have a brief window this month to show their strength and viability to donors…. The money that candidates can raise in June will be the only public disclosure of their finances until the end of the year.”

We offer an analysis of the major players in the race, including those who aren’t saying whether they plan to run.

Mayor’s False Fireworks Claim

As the legal battle over local fireworks continues, Mayor Jerry Sanders said in a statement that “Study after study has shown that fireworks have virtually no impact on marine life.” San Diego Fact Check finds his claim to be false.

Another Police Scandal

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Another San Diego police officer is under internal investigation for alleged misconduct, according to a report Wednesday from our media partner, NBC San Diego. “Reliable sources tell us the investigation involves an officer finding what they describe as “suggestive” pictures on the cell phone of a woman who was in custody — and sending them to himself.”

In another cop shop, Sheriff Bill Gore plans to focus on intelligence-led policing. Eight sheriff’s deputies and a sergeant will be hired to form a unit that will be dispatched to spots that are showing early evidence of crime patterns. (U-T)

Redistricting Commissioner Registered Here

In a rebuff to an undercover investigation sponsored by the local Republican party, the registrar of voters has determined that a member of a city redistricting commission is properly registered to vote, the U-T reports. That means he’s allowed to be on the commission.

The GOP had hired a private investigator who tracked the commissioner up to West Hollywood, even taking his photo and engaging in some subterfuge, in an attempt to prove that he doesn’t actually live here. The GOP’s chairman hinted via Twitter that the party isn’t ready to dump the matter.

Tri-City Hospital Director Cleared of Bribery Charge

A judge yesterday threw out a prosecution case against a board member of North County’s Tri-City Medical Center who stood accused of felony vote-trading, the NCT reports, although the judge stood by a misdemeanor charge of wrongful influence. Earlier this week, we explored the tangled and bitter recent history of the board.

Dreaded Double-Dip Isn’t Here Yet

Our real-estate guru Rich Toscano takes a look at new housing numbers from March, which exposed a “double-dip” nationally but not, he says, in San Diego. He also notes some of the limitations of the numbers.

As he does that, I’m going to try to understand this double-dipping business. What does re-dunking a pita chip into the hummus have to do with anything?

Ball Blocker

A meteorologist tells the U-T that the marine layer and the cool ocean breeze frustrate hitters at Petco Park. Perhaps home-field hitting will improve for the Padres after the marine layer skedaddles later in the summer.

Big Piggies

The federal government is encouraging the extermination of feral pigs (U-T). It estimates there are 200 to 300 in San Diego County and a “sounder” — the term for a hog herd — in Riverside County. The California Department of Fish and Game is hosting hunting clinics for licensed hunters. (LA Times)

Cartoon Case

A state appeals court has thrown out part of a judge’s ruling that exonerated The San Diego Union-Tribune in a case featuring accusations that it intimidated its current editorial cartoonist over a partnership with a former U-T editorial cartoonist.

Former cartoonist Steve Kelley, who was fired in 2001 in a flap over his drawing of “butt cracks” in a cartoon, accused the U-T’s higher-ups of pressuring his replacement, Steve Breen, to not work with him on a comic strip. The deal to create the cartoon fell apart, although Kelley resurrected it later on his own.

The local judge in the case ruled for the paper, but the appeal court disagreed in a ruling released yesterday, rejecting part of the ruling and sending the case back.

When a Local Mansion Prepared for David, Abraham & Moses

Back in the 1930s, a newly built 10-bedroom mansion in Kensington was a pretty sweet home. So sweet that the man who lived there, the head of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, said it was good enough to house the patriarchs of the Bible upon their resurrection.

Many of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who came to town last weekend for a convention (and earlier cleaned the stadium) might not be aware of how close they were to a landmark of their faith. In a history flashback, we look at the history of the house — known as Beth Sarim (House of the Princes) — and a church leader who made a big difference and not just in the evolution of his faith.

Labor Groups Plan to Commemorate Speech Fight

Local labor advocates plan to make a big deal out of next year’s 100th anniversary of San Diego’s Free Speech Fight, CityBeat reports. They hope to gain historic recognition of the intersection of Fifth Avenue and E Street downtown, where the fight was centered, through a plaque and possibly a statue.

“The free speech battle of 1912 brought out the worst in the governor, the police chief and local newspaper editors while shaking the reputation of a city eager to show itself off to the world a few years down the line,” I wrote in a history flashback earlier this year, noting that local municipal leaders “fought leftist union protesters with violence, vigilantism and a brazen attack on constitutional rights.”

Chime in on Last Night’s Arts Event

Were you there? If you attended last night’s Meeting of the Minds event, let us know what you thought and learned. Later today we’ll have photos and feedback from some of the participants.

At 30 mph, Soapbox Derby Is Awesome

Zack, one half of a pair of nine-year-old identical twins, says there’s “three reasons” why he and his brother wanted to race wooden box cars over the weekend in the Sherman Heights neighborhood. “One, the race,” he told us. “Two, we’re adventurous.” And three… well, it sounds like he forgot.

That’s OK. Zack had plenty on his mind, what with the race and all the people and adults worrying about things like wind resistance. We were along for his ride, and everyone’s ride, and recap the day’s events with three things: colorful reportage, photography and… um… Zack? A little help?

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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