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After all the hoopla, proponents failed to gather enough signatures in support of a ballot measure that would have increased the size of the school board by four to nine and would also have allowed the new members to be appointed instead of elected. This means the measure is dead and won’t appear on the next ballot.

Supporters said the measure would allow the board to escape the influence of politics. But others thought it was an attempt to disenfranchise voters and muzzle labor.

County election officials found that the number of valid signatures was a few thousand short of the required 93,085. For background, check our extensive coverage of the proposed measure.

The firm that helped run the petition drive also failed to collect enough valid signatures to put a city measure supported by Councilman Carl DeMaio on the ballot last year. Election officials nixed it after finding way too many duplicated signatures in a sample.

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City Still Lags on Money Monitoring

How do you know if the city’s finances are on the up and up? One way is to look at its audited financial statements. If they’re available, that is. They’re seven months late. The delay comes not long after a decade in which the city lost the confidence of investors by bungling the timing behind a seemingly routine task.

The situation this time around is hardly as grim as it was when there were backlogs upon backlogs, and the city hopes to finish its work soon. Still, this delay has costs.

Arise, Redevelopment, Arise!

As expected, it looks like the city will continue to support urban renewal projects with taxpayer money that’s funneled to it through redevelopment. It just won’t have nearly as much money as it did before.

Mayor Jerry Sanders declared yesterday that he wants to move forward and buy into a redevelopment system offered by the state, even though the city’s urban renewal projects will lose $70 million this year and $16 million annually in the future. This is, he said, “better than pulling the plug on it all together.”

He added that the city will support, but won’t join, an expected lawsuit that will challenge the state over its changes to the way redevelopment works.

Meet the Pricey University President

As we mentioned on Saturday, the state’s university and college systems continue to crumble, the new president of San Diego State is expected to make $350,000, a third more than the man he’s replacing, plus another $50,000. He’ll also live in university housing and get $1,000 monthly as car allowance; it’s not clear where he’ll do $12,000 worth of driving over a year. Tuition rates, meanwhile, are expected to go up by 12 percent. (U-T)

Ex-Assembly Speaker Gives Dumanis a Mouthful

When he was speaker of the state Assembly, Fabian Nuñez developed a close working relationship with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now, they’re both out of office and both haunted by Schwarzenegger’s last-minute decision to reduce the jail term of Nunez’s son in connection with a murder at San Diego State.

Nunez isn’t slinking away in disgrace. He’s angry, and spent part of Monday expressing his wrath at District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who’s been fighting the sentence reduction, and a San Diego judge who oversaw the case. “This case has been politicalized from the beginning,” he said, according to the U-T. “Irrespective of the facts of the actual case … They picked on my son from day one.”

However, the parents of a Mesa College student who was murdered had sharp words of their own at a hearing in Sacramento regarding a court case challenging the sentence reduction. (Dumanis has filed another suit.) “I feel like he was stabbed in the back by politicians after his death,” said his mother. The Sacramento Bee also has the story.

Cryptic Move at the U-T

Amid yet more layoffs and poor morale, newsroom types at the U-T have been wondering if the paper is for sale, a prospect that might raise some hopes because the cutbacks to date have been so traumatic. Now comes an announcement that the paper has hired a bank to look into options for the paper. What kind of options? A merger, a sale, something else? It’s not clear. But it does sound like the paper wants to do something new, and it wants everybody — buyers? sellers? — to know it.

Possible Delay on County Redistricting

The county board of supervisors is poised to delay its approval of new country voting districts, the U-T reports. If they run again, the supervisors will each try to gain a majority of votes in one of the newly redrawn districts.

County officials are recommending that the board slow down because of concerns raised by the ACLU, which thinks the map — which divides the county into five districts, one for each supervisor — prevents minorities from gaining power. The same five supervisors have served since 1995; they’re all white and Republican despite the county’s political and ethnic diversity.

27 Miles of Oil and a Whodunnit

A sea vessel apparently spilled oil in the ocean southwest of Point Loma late last month, and it created a 1,000-foot-wide sheen that went on for 27 miles, CityBeat reports. It’s not clear who spilled the oil, and there aren’t any leads.

The spill, one of several in recent months, apparently evaporated fairly quickly.

Fact-Checking the 401(k) Measure

San Diego Fact Check TV wrestles with the various claims from supporters and opponents of a proposed ballot measure that would replace pensions with 401(k) plans for most new city workers.

From Balboa Park’s Future to a Neutered Watchdog

Our radio show looks at school layoffs, a weakened education-spending watchdog, proposals to remake Balboa Park and the Hero and Goat of the Week.

Cat-Tax Fever

By one estimate, San Diego County is home to 373,000 cats. Guess what the city sees among all those meowers? Money, of course. The city auditor is raising the idea of a cat tax, maybe $25. The prospect is thrilling headline writers who dream of putting “raised hackles” and “hissing” into Times New Roman.

Kitty owners, however, think this is an outrage up with which they will not put. They have an ally in Councilman DeMaio, a mayoral candidate who raised the alarm: “On the list of issues facing our city relating to public health and safety, this is nowhere near the top. In fact, I’d put it at the bottom.” (NBC San Diego)

The full City Council will consider the cat tax idea, but opposition among council members is already forming. Meanwhile, I’m thinking of a creative way to get out of a tax with the help of black and white paint. Cat? What cat? That’s a skunk! Run, city inspector, run!

‘The Real World’ Fine-Tunes for La Jolla

Producers of “The Real World,” who will film their next season at a home in Bird Rock, are having to take special pains to not annoy their neighbors. The folks behind the reality show must hire security, pay for cop to be on duty part-time and shield their lights. MTV’s “The Real World,” a pioneer in reality television that’s hardly critically adored, is in its 28th season. (La Jolla Light)

I hope the “Real World” folks will give me some special dispensation if I’m detrimentally affected by the Bird Rock production. Like, for instance, if I were to accidentally watch it.

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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