Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, one of the many candidates already announced as running for mayor in 2012, says he is not sending naughty pictures of himself to anyone.

Which may be a sore disappointment to the staff of CityBeat, which appears to have surprised itself by falling in love with him, despite his Republicanism.

Also on our weekly radio segment on KOGO AM 600, CEO Scott Lewis asked Fletcher whether he has the same CEO-style skills that District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has. Fletcher’s response, basically: If you can make life-and-death situations on the battlefield that affect many soldiers, as he can, then you’re ready to be mayor.

Is combat experience the trump card on these sorts of arguments?

Do You Like Me? Check Yes or No

Dumanis herself got a couple of love notes this week in the form of endorsements by Mayor Jerry Sanders and Councilman Kevin Faulconer, which give her “credibility and gravitas,” writes our government reporter Liam “Bulldog” Dillon.

Faulconer told us that he wasn’t himself running for mayor because polling showed it’s “going to be a very tough race for everybody.”

So, more than a year away from the election, we’ve got three big-time Republican candidates. Dillon’s review of the roller coaster at Mayorland 2012 Adventure Theme Park: “DeMaio is running against the system, Fletcher is running past the system and Dumanis is running the system.”

Of course, if there is a “you must be this tall to ride” sign on this midway, it’s the measure of how each candidate plans to handle our old friend the retirement and pension mess, lately taking the form of arguing over a 401(k)-style plan. It’s like a Tilt-A-Whirl that costs all of your tickets, never stops, and has no safety bars.

Scott Lewis is watching the riders and writes, “I still am having trouble understanding why Sanders and 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.”

Fletcher hasn’t taken sides on a June 2012 ballot initiative that would replace pensions with 401(k)s for most new city workers. “If he comes out in favor of it,” Liam Dillon writes, “he’ll alienate the police and fire folks whose endorsements would give him a huge boost. If he comes out against it, he’ll alienate the party and donors who could turn him from a relative unknown into a chosen one.”

Filner Hearts Filner

Another mayoral candidate who became real this week is Democratic Congressman Bob Filner. “If there’s one person who thinks U.S. Congressman Bob Filner is going to be the next mayor of San Diego, it’s U.S. Congressman Bob Filner,” Dillon says. Filner is highly confident that his experience at winning elections and holding office will carry him through.

If he won it, he’d be the first Democratic mayor of San Diego in two decades.

Another Democratic candidate eyeing the Tilt-A-Whirl: State Senator Christine Kehoe announced that she will explore a run for mayor in 2012. She had a noncommittal response when asked about about the 401(k) ballot measure.

More Mayoral Blips

• Dillon has a rundown of the big players in next year’s mayoral election.

• A question that every mayoral candidate should be asked comes from reader Ed Rockdale: What do all these people get out of running for mayor of a city that is practically bankrupt?

• And what’s the current mayor been up to? Well, the city of San Diego passed a $2.75 billion 2012 budget this week. None of those library and rec center cuts that were threatened happened, thanks to “found money,” from “short-term fixes, such as selling land, that only can be used once.”

Twenty Minutes and One Shot at Doctoring

Randy Dotinga (who’s on vacation) interviewed Dr. Chris Searles, who administers to the homeless. His job is to gain the trust of homeless people who are often ravaged by physical illness and suffer from crippling mental problems. He might never see them again, or he may serve their needs for years to come.

There are a lot of common conditions such as alcoholism, schizophrenia and impetigo (a blistering of the skin by an infection), but Searles says he also sees “a lot of sprains and strains, joint injuries. They fall down embankments by the freeway. They’re walking at night, they tend to want to be on unlit streets because they’re harder to find that way.”

Let’s Go to Video

We’ve started posting the full presentations from the local arts gurus who showed a keen love for San Diego’s arts scene at our recent pecha kucha event. More videos will be posted all weekend, but right now you can view Seema Sueko explaining our complex theater ecosystem and Ben Strauss-Malcom showing us La Jolla’s murals.

You can also subscribe to a podcast feed that includes those videos, all of our radio shows, and audio from our special events in iTunes or another podcasting program.

Education Pink Slips

The potential for an extra $32 million in state education funds may mean a deal struck less than a year and a half ago may no longer be necessary. The school board may also be able to cancel hundreds of layoffs and it’s trying to get labor unions to put off promised pay increases and extend mandatory unpaid days off.

On our opinion pages, teacher Ashley Franz explains how frustrating it is to be a dedicated teacher, yet to still be looking at a layoff as of June 15.

Isn’t It Nice to be A Neighbor

Photographer Sam Hodgson and neighborhoods reporter Adrian Florido share the highlights of their exploration of San Diego’s neighborhoods, including even more photos.

Just the Facts

This weeks’ Fact Checks showed Councilman DeMaio mistook a $150 million long-term cost for an annual one, that 7,000 cars a day do compete with people at Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park, and that New Scientist magazine was misleading when it wrote about a 2007 interruption of the GPS service in San Diego.

Fact Check TV, produced with our media partner NBC San Diego, explained school test scores and the fireworks environmental brouhaha.

How Does Our Garden Grow?

The San Diego City Council has made it much easier to start community gardens on most vacant land citywide. Gardens like one we’ve been following, which went from a lush Eden to a derelict weed lot, will benefit.

To the Fair!

The Del Mar Fair opened this week, with most of the talk being about it as a deep-fried dystopia. How crispy do you like your Kool-Aid?

The rest of the talk about (well, besides parking and the new train service), Gov. Brown’s choosing to not reappoint three members of the fair’s board of directors.

The move may be related to the governor’s response to attempts by the city of Del Mar to buy the fairgrounds. Brown’s take: “This is not the best time to be selling real estate.”

I’m Grant Barrett, engagement editor for Drop me a line at, call me at (619) 550-5666, and follow me on Twitter @grantbarrett.

Summer Polacek was formerly the Development Manager at Voice of San Diego.

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