One of San Diego’s seven housing commissioners is mystified by the findings in our story this week revealing that some current and former council members say they were tricked by the city housing agency into allowing projects to be approved without a City Council vote.

The commissioner, Jim Waring, said he’s confused as to why commission staff attained that wide new freedom as “part of a plan to fight the foreclosure crisis,” Will Carless reports.

Most of the property deals the commission has actually put together were complex and involved months, if not years, of negotiations. In those sorts of deals, there is no justification for bypassing the City Council, since there’s no rush to get the deal done, Waring said.

Dumanis Now Favors 401(k) Plan

Mayoral candidate and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis says she now favors a plan to resolve the city’s pension crisis (according to the Union-Tribune) — one pushed by mayoral rival Councilman Carl DeMaio. Earlier, she said she opposed the plan because retirees deserve secure pensions, presumably meaning they should not be put in risky plans based on the stock market.

Good News on Test Scores for Minorities

Black and Latino students in the San Diego school district are performing better on the high school exit exam they must pass to get an ordinary diploma.

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• There’s been plenty of drama over the redrawing of San Diego’s City Council districts. But San Diego schools have so far avoided making news with their remaking of boundaries that set the districts represented by board members. (They run in regional primaries and then go up before voters in the entire school district, which covers much — but hardly all — of the city of San Diego.)

City Gets Some Money Back for Once

The city redevelopment agency will get an estimated refund of almost $500,000 in connection with property taxes levied on the foundation that runs an arts, culture and nonprofit district in Point Loma’s former Naval Training Center. The foundation had gotten stuck with an unexpected tax bill, and the surprise threatened to push out some of the district’s tenants.

Trouble at High-Rise Non-Profit Senior Complex

In 1979, Mavourneen O’Connor — the twin sister of Maureen O’Connor, who would become San Diego mayor in the 1980s — pushed for the creation of a non-profit senior complex called San Diego Square. It now serves low-income older people and, CityBeat reports, some residents say the place is a poorly managed mess.

“Complaints range from bug infestations that go untreated to threats of eviction. … Residents can’t use the building’s recreational facilities without permission from the Kind Corp. board of directors, and they can’t use the parking lot. The majority of the lot’s 28 spaces sit empty.”

Kind Corp. leases the city-owned land underneath the complex for $1 a year. The city has recently warned O’Connor that the complex is violating its lease, CityBeat says.

Catch Up on Our Coverage

• We’ve compiled a guide to our investigations of San Diego school board member Shelia Jackson, whose recent actions have raised questions about ethics and conflicts of interest.

• VOSD Radio checks with our reporter Adrian Florido about the various stories he’s following, including the city redistricting process and the proposed makeover of Balboa Park.

• Our Scott Lewis declared last week that there’s no mystery about how to build a new stadium in San Diego, even though the mayor took a highly publicized three-city trip to look at sports complexes elsewhere. The keyword, Lewis wrote, is taxes. He returns to the topic in the latest episode of San Diego Explained, our video series with NBC7 San Diego.

CityBeat is not impressed by the mayor’s trip. In an editorial, it says he’s “wasting his time in flyover country” and makes a couple conclusions: “A) San Diego taxpayers can’t afford a new stadium, even if it comes with promises of lavish investment returns, and B) a sports and entertainment complex that will largely benefit one business is not an appropriate use of redevelopment money, if indeed there’s enough of it available in the first place.”

Political Festival Takes Shape

We’re piling on the food and fun at next month’s Politifest event, on Sept. 17 at Liberty Station, including these special features:

• Beer garden from Stone Brewing Co.

• Chop Soo-ey and Devilicious food trucks.

• Live animals from SeaWorld and the Chula Vista Nature Center.

• Plus, the Idea Tournament! Pit your best innovation against some of the city’s brightest minds.

Dozens of of local organizations will appear at Politifest’s non-profit expo, including booths for political parties and candidates, media organizations, nonprofit associations and more.

Now There’s a Catchy Title for You

Former Mayor Dick Murphy has a new book coming out soon and — I’m not making this up — it’s titled “San Diego’s Judge Mayor: How Murphy’s Law Blindsided Leadership with 2020 Vision.” He campaigned with a slogan based on those last four words, a reference to the year 2020. In 2005, the scandal-plagued mayor resigned shortly after Time magazine declared him one of the three worst big-city mayors in the country.

“In this book, Murphy finally reveals the inside story of how it all happened and the lessons to be learned — by politicians and citizens alike — from his experiences,” says the publisher’s promotional copy reprinted on the Warwick’s bookstore website. “The book concludes with ten thought-provoking proposals that, as Murphy envisioned, will make San Diego ‘a city worthy of our affection’ by 2020.”

It’s Hard Out Here for a Democrat

Political trivia alert! San Diego is the only one of the nation’s 10 largest cities with a Republican mayor. Among the 20 largest cities, San Diego has gone the longest — more than 23 years — without electing a Democratic mayor. (The last one was Maureen O’Connor.) Only New York City, at almost 22 years, has come anywhere close to going that long without a Dem in charge.

To put it another way, a kid born in San Diego on the day when O’Connor was last elected mayor in 1988 is now more than old enough to purchase alcohol. That’s handy. Considering how long it’s been, sad-faced local Democrats could sure use a drink.

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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