It’ll be up to you to decide who’s right in the fledgling battle over a pension reform initiative that could hit the ballot next year. But one thing is clear now: supporters and opponents are getting a lot wrong.

As a series of fact checks in our pages and elsewhere has shown, both sides have publicly exaggerated their cases for and against the initiative.

The pro side, which is being boosted by the GOP, has relied on a misleading assumption and, as our latest fact check finds, falsely referred to a “strict cap” on salaries. The anti side, led by organized labor, has misled with false statements about the measure’s savings. Other media organizations have uncovered misstatements on both sides too.

The initiative supporters need to gather more than 94,000 signatures from registered voters to put the measure on the ballot.


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When the Public Can’t Stand the Public Art

A while back, an artist proposed to create a sculpture of crashing boats over Harbor Drive. An outcry killed the public art proposal; some people didn’t think the harbor/airport area was a good place for a massive airborne shipwreck. Earlier, officials mulled a proposal to build an airplane sculpture sticking out of the ground, with tail up, near the airport. It wasn’t long after 1978’s PSA Flight 182 crash in North Park and an outcry sent that proposal into oblivion.

Are the artists out of touch? Or is the public full of art-phobic philistines? In a mini-Q&A, we turn for perspective to Richard Gleaves, an artist and local public art super-fan. His views may surprise you: he says widely criticized works like these just didn’t make sense for the people who’d have to look at them every day. He’s suggesting that those people actually matter. (Shocking!)

As for artists, he said, “The minute they go wide and public, they are stumbling into a world far beyond their understanding as given by their own profession.” But he said public art has evolved. “It’s not the model of ‘I’m a great artist; I have made my name in the art world in galleries and museums, and now I want you to give me carte blanche to exercise my unique artistic vision in your hometown, right in the center of a plaza.’”

Man, this guy is singing my song.

Possible Murder in Coronado Gets Murkier

She was found nude, hanging from a balcony with her arms and legs bound, but the cops aren’t entirely sure she was murdered. Her boyfriend is a pharmaceutical industry star whose young son was severely injured just days earlier in a fall on a staircase; authorities say the man wasn’t home when his girlfriend died. And it all happened at a historic Coronado mansion that used to belong to one of san Diego’s most storied families.

The 32-year-old woman’s mysterious death this week at the Spreckels Mansion continues to captivate journalists, although investigators aren’t saying much about what happened. However, it appears they don’t think the fall and the death are linked.

Provocative developments abound. Among the items removed from the home by investigators: “a table top with a leg missing, a roll of carpet and a large painting.” (U-T) And the man’s brother found the body but is not a suspect or even a “person of interest,” an investigator said in the LA Times. Former District Attorney Paul Pfingst, now a private attorney, is involved in the case, although he wouldn’t tell News 8 who he’s representing.

The stock of the homeowner’s company had hit a 6.5-year high on Wednesday but tumbled by almost 4 percent on Thursday, with lots of trades being made, as the news of the death spread.

An interesting note in the U-T story: it includes comments from a woman who used to work for the man’s second ex-wife in Arizona; the interviewee is the sister of one of the reporters who worked on the story. Another reporter did the interviewing.

Roiling Debate over Balboa Park’s Future

Our commenters are continuing to discuss the proposed major makeover for Balboa Park, with many saying they like what they see. One understands its “tradeoffs” and thinks the design is “far better than the usual civic design dross we see here. (Convention Center expansion, anyone?)”

There’s also more discussion of how we handle disclosures when our major funders appear in stories. (One is a major mover behind the park proposal.)

Newspapers don’t make a point of noting when news coverage discusses their advertisers. But it’s also pretty clear who their advertisers are because their goal is to be seen on the printed or online page. As for us, we list our donors on our site and have an ethics code regarding this and other issues.

Hen Gets Rudely Plucked from Exile

Not long ago, a backyard hen named Owl had to move from its home in North Park because a neighbor complained about its existence. (The city doesn’t allow chickens to live near houses.) It went to a makeshift pen in another part of the city and settled down to a presumably pleasant — and still illegal — chicken life.

But not for long. The chicken went for a jaunt and has disappeared, apparently the victim of a coyote. “This never would have happened in North Park,” said one of its former owners. (It might have been run over by a hipster on a scooter, however.)

“Owl’s forced exile had become something of an example for local food and urban agriculture advocates, who have recently embarked on a push to get the San Diego City Council to change city rules for keeping chickens,” Adrian Florido reports. A council committee will tackle the issue next week.

• Back in high school, I went with my 11th-grade AP history class to dinner at a local French restaurant called Chez Moi. The service was snotty and the breast of chicken was tiny. In an inappropriately loud voice, I dismissed it as “nipple of chicken.”

More than 25 years later, reunion planning this month has brought me back in touch with the Chula Vista teacher who was there. She remembers my uncouth words and says they’ve been a punchline for her at cocktail parties ever since.

It’s nice to know that my witticism has aged well. Better than me, in fact. Anyone got some spare Botox I can borrow before my reunion?

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

Randy Dotinga

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

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