Nobody expects we’ll get out of the mayoral election without a few negative campaign commercials. But an entire documentary targeting a single candidate? Now that’s something new, and it’s just what foes of Councilman Carl DeMaio say they might have on tap.

Investigators have been hired. But not by DeMaio’s labor enemies. Get this: A prominent fellow Republican is behind the effort. If a film is produced, a loophole in campaign disclosure rules might mean that we’ll never know who paid for it.

The effort is clearly designed to derail DeMaio’s mayoral bid from the right.

“This is not intended to be political in any way, shape or form,” said the business leader, Fred Maas, the developer of the large Black Mountain Ranch project in the city’s northeastern stretches.

Whatever the case (and that sounds like it’s decidedly not the case), I’ve got my popcorn and Bon Bons ready.

 City Workers Give Filner a Boost

For the first time in a long time, City Hall’s white-collar union has found a candidate that it likes — and likes them back. The Municipal Employees Association has endorsed Rep. Bob Filner, the only major Democrat running for mayor.

The city’s employees have taken plenty of political jabs as the city’s pension crisis and financial problems have unfolded. Filner — long a liberal icon — isn’t bothered.

“You could argue it’s going to be used against me,” he said. “But look, I’m honored to be endorsed by them. I think our city employees do a great job. I think they’ve been subject to unjust attacks. I think if you work on their morale and their working conditions, you get better city services and a better quality of life.” 

Filner did something unexpected: he hit our reporter Liam Dillon in the face, “playfully.” 

In an exclusive interview with the Morning Report, Dillon elaborated on the incident, saying he wasn’t left with scars, redness or a hospital bill. “It was a ‘I-can’t-believe-a-congressman-hit-me-in-the-face’ slap,” he explained, not a Hollywood-style smackeroo.

That gives us an idea. Now we’re going to have to think about charging people to give playful slaps to our journalists at next year’s Politifest! (Note to self: Go out of town that weekend.)

Fact Check TV Punctures Wedding Claim

Fact Check TV goes on another odyssey to track down the details of the extravagant wedding that mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher dreamed up to support his point of view on City Hall’s red tape.

Teacher Term Limits and More

Our request for ideas about fixing the schools garnered an unusual proposal: term limits for teachers of 15 years and then goodbye. (Wow. If you thought the high-school senior slump was bad, just wait until teachers have senioritis of their own.) We also hear from readers who support the state’s redevelopment moves and support more online classes and less busing.

Shame Spirals to Look Out For

As our Rich Toscano told you earlier this week, local home prices have reached a new inflation-adjusted low. That means plenty of homeowners are still “underwater,” an evocative term that brings up images of pruny skin at best and drowning at worst. It means they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

These folks could “walk away” and default on their loans. But plenty of them haven’t done that. The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wonders why, especially considering that it’s perfectly acceptable for companies to go bankrupt even if they can actually keep paying their bills.

“There’s a real stigma attached to defaulting on your mortgage,” he writes. “According to one study, eighty-one per cent of Americans think it’s immoral not to pay your mortgage when you can, and the idea of default is shaped by what Brent White, a law professor at the University of Arizona, calls a discourse of ‘shame, guilt, and fear.’”

Surowiecki adds that there’s a “double standard”: “Homeowners are getting lambasted for doing what companies do on a regular basis.”

News at the Speed of Brief

• News is expected to come today from Sacramento about the state’s financial predicament, providing insight into whether the San Diego school district will move closer to insolvency. We’ve got details and a look back at our extensive coverage of this issue.

• Outgrowths of the Occupy Wall Street protest tried to shut down ports up and down the West Coast yesterday, but their efforts in San Diego had little effect. About 100 people protested and tried to blockade entrances to the port, the Union-Tribune reports. 

• A courtroom yesterday heard from a man who lost relatives in the 2008 crash of a Marine fighter plane in a University City neighborhood. “I lost everything. The U.S. Navy took all my dreams away,” said Sanghyun Lee through a Korean-language interpreter, the U-T reports.

The trial will determine how much the federal government has to pay survivors. One man lost his his wife, two daughters and mother-in-law when the plane hit their house.

• Lee Enterprises, the parent company of the North County Times, made its bankruptcy bid official yesterday and wants to borrow up to $40 million to stay afloat.

• A former UCSD linguistics student has created the faux language —  3,251 words and counting — that’s used in the HBO show “Game of Thrones,” the NY Times reports.

It’s not just a random word salad either. “The days of aliens spouting gibberish with no grammatical structure are over,” says another linguistics guru who created a language in “Avatar.”

Clearly he hasn’t spent much time listening to politicians.

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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