We’ve asked all the mayoral candidates about their thoughts on medical marijuana, which has tied city officials in knots as they’ve tried to figure out what to do with a slew of pot shops in town.

Among the leading candidates, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Councilman Carl DeMaio expressed sympathy for patients with medical marijuana. Dumanis complained of “the illegal drug dealers who hide behind the compassionate spirit of the law and jeopardize public safety in our neighborhoods,” while DeMaio said the city’s aborted law regarding the shops “did not contain safeguards, provided for no oversight, and permitted far too many dispensaries to operate in our neighborhoods.”

Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher says the city should have worked harder to “bring both sides of this issue together.” He added: “As long as dispensaries are permitted under state law, the city should have a plan to regulate them.”

Meanwhile, commenter Erik Hanson gets stern with Rep. Bob Filner, who isn’t answering our questions and has complained about the format: “I’m a long time fan of yours and you will probably get my vote, but could you please put away your beef with VOSD and start participating? It’s only making you look snobby and reclusive.”

Court Rules Against “God”-Friendly Teacher

A federal appears court has ruled against a Poway-area teacher who posted two big banners in his classroom emblazoned with statements — all in capital letters — like “In God We Trust, “One Nation Under God and “God Shed His Grace on Thee,” plus this: “All men are created equal, they are endowed by their CREATOR.”

The teacher is “the faculty sponsor of the Christian Club, but says that his banners are purely patriotic, with no religious purpose,” writes blogger Shaun Martin, a University of San Diego law professor. The principal was concerned by the banners, especially since they appeared in a math class, “because they were taken out of context and very large (and) became a promotion of a particular viewpoint.”

You can’t do that, the Ninth Circuit court told the teacher, saying the Constitution “does not permit him to speak as freely at work in his role as a teacher about his views on God, our Nation’s history, or God’s role in our Nation’s history as he might on a sidewalk, in a park, at his dinner table, or in countless other locations. “

Among other things, it also debunked his claim that other teachers got to put up religious images but he was told to remove his. (Here’s a PDF of the decision.)

Martin noticed something interesting: the local ACLU sided with the teacher.

Council Punts on Hotel Charge Hike

After hearing a legal warning from a hotel workers union, the City Council delayed action on boosting the charge that hotel patrons pay. There’s debate about whether the fee would be a tax, meaning voters would have to weigh in on it.

Fruitful Findings

Poor people often don’t have access to fresh produce. At the same time, local fruit trees offer up a bounty of oranges, lemons, figs, grapefruit and more, much that ends rotting on the ground. Now, members of local groups are putting unwanted fruit to use to help those in need before it goes to waste.

“They call themselves urban gleaners, and they scour San Diego neighborhoods, peering over fences and knocking on doors in search of residents willing to let them haul their fruit away to local food pantries, where it’s usually easier to stock up on day-old bread and dented canned food than fresh produce,” Adrian Florido reports. The fruit then goes to one or more food pantries.

“People need as much help as they can get right now, especially getting their fresh produce,” said the organizer of one of the groups. “I’ve been surprised sometimes, by how much we’ve been able to pick. But then I think, oh, there’s still so much more out there.”

Vargas Gets Snarky in Sacramento

“Sen. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, took a swipe Monday at his likeliest Democratic rival for the 51st Congressional District as he called for ‘termed out, drunk-driving legislators‘ to vacate the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board,” the Sacramento Bee reports. He’s referring in part to former Sen. d, who was once arrested on suspicion of DUI.

Claim, Counterclaim and ‘Union Spinsters’

A local labor organization and Councilman Carl DeMaio are tangling once again, with the union group saying he wrongly gave a voter database to supporters of the pension reform initiative. The Union-Tribune doesn’t shed any light on the legalities of the matter, but does include a unique insult from the initiative’s campaign chairman, who denies wrongdoing. He criticizes attention-diverting “union spinsters” and throws in a “balderdash” for good measure.

Meanwhile, 1889 called and would like “balderdash” back.

Keeping Radio On During the Next Crisis

Like many local radio stations, KPBS-FM vanished from the airwaves during last week’s power outage. TVs and computers went offline too, as did many cell phones. That left one radio station — KOGO — as the only news source for many locals.

KPBS-FM wants to change that the next time around. It’s buying a mobile unit that will allow it to broadcast if its studio and transmitter are out of commission, and it hopes to get money for a generator to keep both its TV and radio stations on the air in case of an outage, disaster or technical problem.

• The North County Times explains how you can file a claim against SDG&E for damages due to the blackout, although the power company won’t pay if it’s not found to be responsible. An insurance salesman said your own coverage may leave you out of luck if you had spoiled food at home: policies typically have a $1,000 deductible for that kind of damage.

What’s Right in San Diego

Readers have responded to a request for comments in our newly renamed Fix San Diego section with compliments about our fair city: They like the neon neighborhood signs, the paths for the public, and other great things like our climate, conveniently located airport (infrequent travelers might not realize how utterly handy it is) and the friendly way we treat tourists. Never mind how I occasionally give them wrong directions by accident.

Our engagement editor, Grant Barrett, has more details about Fix San Diego and a look at similar efforts that are afoot here.

Could Latinos Play Crucial Role in Housing Recovery?

“Young Hispanic American families are poised to play an influential role in the housing recovery as first-time home buyers absorb excess inventory,” reports AOL’s DailyFinance site, which visits a homebuyer who’s looking in North County and a homeowner who’s struggling in Chula Vista.

The story notes that the Latino home ownership rate is well below the national rate, but it spiked during the housing boom: “A focus on viewing the home as a wealth-building tool — something heavily emphasized by Latino-focused housing groups — has been criticized for pushing some families into housing purchases they were not prepared for financially.

Kibbles and Tidbits

• The weekly Arts Report is out, and it’s chock full of art-eriffic news.

• There’s been an arrest of the alleged robber who unsuccessfully tried to rob a Rancho Peñasquitos 7-Eleven while wearing a Gumby suit. (Video of the botched robbery went viral and got plenty of national attention.) The 19-year-old man and an alleged accomplice surrendered to the cops, who confiscated the suit. (U-T)

Hey police department! What size is the suit? Halloween is coming, and I’m thinking about going as the world’s most ridiculous robber.

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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