Local mover-and-shaker Irwin Jacobs has suspended his controversial plans for a dramatic $40 million remodeling of Balboa Park that would create a parking garage, a road bypass and a big car-free plaza, the U-T reports.

His decision came after a City Council committee yesterday looked askance at the plans, which the mayor had been pushing along with Jacobs.

“I will hold back and wait and see what happens,” Jacobs told the paper.

Ergo, Filner Ego

Congressman and newly minted mayoral candidate Bob Filner understands San Diego will lose something if he wins the race: “an incredible voice in the Congress.”

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But Filner is a valiant sort, a giver really. He’s willing to make the sacrifice and thinks it won’t be for naught, he told reporters yesterday as he made his bid official. “I have won about, I don’t know, 25 elections,” he said. “I’m pretty confident in my ability to try to get the voters and not let the powerbrokers decide who’s going to be mayor of this city.”

So how he will solve the city’s pension mess? He’s not sure. Will he only stick it to city employees? No. But he does, he says, have “an outsider’s approach.”

Outsider? Since the 1970s, the often-cranky politico has served as school board member, City Council member and congressman.

In other mayor’s race news, we take a quick look at the early endorsements for Bonnie Dumanis and the early line on the race: “In short, (Councilman Carl) DeMaio is running against the system, (Assemblyman Nathan) Fletcher is running past the system and Dumanis is running the system.”

And our Scott Lewis wonders why Mayor Jerry Sanders and Councilman Kevin Faulconer “have so breezily absorbed Dumanis’ opposition to an initiative they’ve described as a historic plan: To switch all new employees over to a 401(k) style retirement system.”

DeMaio’s Bad Pension Numbers

According to the campaign website of Carl DeMaio, the councilman and mayoral candidate, San Diego’s infamous DROP program “costs the city approximately $150 million annually by allowing city employees to return to a salaried job while concurrently drawing their retirement payouts.” Whoa! $150 million? That can’t be right. And it isn’t, San Diego Fact Check finds.

CityBeat and Fletcher, Sittin’ in a Tree…

Red alert! Despite its leftie leanings, CityBeat is in full swoon mode over mayoral candidate and Republican Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, and not just because he’s a cuddly 34-year-old ex-Marine. “We’ve decided to start dating Fletcher,” a mildly creepy editorial says.

Whoa, what? “Standing next to a hyperventilating, truth-challenged, self-righteous, narcissistic ideologue like DeMaio — wow, Fletcher looks downright dreamy,” CityBeat says.

In the olden days, that kind of attack would result in a duel. I miss the olden days.

But what about the possible Democrats in the race? No CityBeat-ian hearts are beating pitter-patter over them, it seems. But the paper is still open to politicians who pitch woo, and its old flame, perennial journalist favorite and ex-Councilwoman Donna Frye, still gets its motor running. If she launches a bid for mayor, “we’ll dump Fletcher down the drain like an expired gallon of milk.”

Possible Charter Cut-Off

Despite objections from parents, the school board went ahead with plans that could lead to the closure of a charter school in the Chollas View neighborhood. “It’s not fair that because of bad leadership, a community is being disintegrated,” a parent said.

Positively Hair-Raising

NFL star Troy Polamalu, known for his defensive skills and his never-ending locks, is suing the son of local billionaire Ernest Rady, claiming Harry Rady sold him a $4.75 million La Jolla house whose backyard then collapsed into a canyon. Harry Rady’s attorney contests the allegation and says Rady didn’t own the house.

Post-Mortem by the Arty Minds

We’ve followed up with the speakers at our “Meeting of the Minds” arts event last week, asking them what they learned and what was missing.

The Outside from the Inside

We’ve debuted a new feature called “Chatter” about the topics our staff has been twittering about. In the first edition, check out discussions of the value of law school (post-graduate employment numbers can include those who sling tacos at Jack in the Box) and the former Tijuana mayor (who ran as a kind of people’s “Santa Claus”) who’s now behind bars.

Season of the Stench

I’m afraid to go outside at night because the skunks have run amok, and I’m not talking about the kind that runs for office. This is skunk breeding season, and there must have been a lot of dinner-and-a-movie dates recently, because the critters are everywhere around my humble Normal Heights abode. [Check out this AP brief from a 1958 battle with skunks in Sacramento. Maybe that time it was political? —Ed.]

The other night, I sat helpless and paralyzed as a skunk decided to sidle up to my indoor cat at the screen door. If kitty or I made noise, I feared, the end (and the tomato juice) would come. Thankfully, nobody made a stink.

Some people like skunks. They eat annoying insects, and my dad says they produce his favorite smell. (Yes, I know. Weirdness doesn’t just run in my family. It gallops.)

I don’t care. I want them gone, especially given my unfortunate habit of screaming, cussing and running when I come across one. Maybe the city can send them on a nice vacation. You know, I hear Escondido is lovely this time of year.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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