Yes, Virginia, politicians don’t always tell the truth. But how often do they say things that aren’t accurate? We took a look at the recent archives of San Diego Fact Check to see how well the four major mayoral candidates fared.

Can you guess which one has the worst record? It’s Rep. Bob Filner, the only Democrat. Since he entered the race, he’s gotten two “false” verdicts and one “misleading.”

Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher has a better record, but also came up with one whopper of a whopper about how much red tape was in the way of holding a wedding in a city park.

Councilman Carl DeMaio had a mixed record before entering the race, but he’s scored two false verdicts since then. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis once got a “Huckster Propaganda” verdict — the equivalent of “oh puh-lease!” — but got a “true” recently.

Boxing Day Radio

Scott Lewis ran through most of our Whoppers of the Year list yesterday sitting in for Chip Franklin hosting the morning show on FM 95.7 and AM 600 KOGO Monday. You can listen to his 6 a.m. hour, 7 a.m. hour and 8 a.m. hour here (without commercials).

Starlight’s Struggle and Other Arts Stories to Watch

Check our photo of the front of Balboa Park’s Starlight Musical Theatre: It looks positively forlorn. Its future seems grim too, but 2012 could bring a new era for the company, which has filed for bankruptcy. The same goes for Lyric Opera San Diego and the space that once held Sushi Contemporary Performance and Visual Arts.

Our arts editor Kelly Bennett tracks what happened in 2011 and what’s next in 2012 for these institutions and several other ongoing stories that we’re watching, including challenges facing government financing of the arts and the ongoing investigation of a local museum.   

Jacobs and The New York Times on Balboa Park

In an interview, the U-T mostly throws softballs at local philanthropist and “go-to good guy” Irwin Jacobs, whose plan to remake Balboa Park has run into a rough patch. But Jacobs does provide some perspective into the state of the battle over the park’s future.

He said he’s surprised that a bypass road has become a major issue and dismisses those who say the plan came fully formed out of the blue: “There hasn’t been any lack of talking. When we talk about it, there are really only two ways to keep traffic out of the Plaza de Panama and Plaza de California and turning them over to people, and the only way to do it is to close the bridge entirely or build the bypass.”

He also made a cryptic comment about a five-hour session with critics from the Save Our Heritage Organisation. “There are a couple of things that I don’t want to talk about that have come out from the mediation session, but there were some possibilities that have been raised that warrant further exploration.”

In July, in a similar wide-ranging Q&A with us, he hinted at openness to any alternative that got the job done:

Our position was that if in fact a superior plan comes up that still clears the cars, we would seriously consider it. You have to do something that’s going to get people excited. … If cars keep coming into the plaza, that’s not very exciting. That was the plan the mayor originally brought, and I couldn’t get excited about it.

• Staying in Balboa Park, remember the big fuss over the city’s civic organist last spring? Councilman Carl DeMaio, among others, wondered whether her cost — the city pays about $30,000 of her salary — was worth it.

Now, the NY Times has caught up with this story, recapping the controversy and listening to a Christmas Day performance in our “sunny beach city.” (Reminds me of when an LA Times reporter would use a zillion variations on “upscale coastal enclave” to describe La Jolla.)

DeMaio chimes in, expressing dismay about the city’s nothing-to-see-here attitude that the expense is teeny. “Saying, ‘Well, it’s just a rounding error,’ that’s the government mentality,” he said. “Soon you have a lot of different rounding errors that add up to a lot of money.”

There seems to be a bit of news in the story: it says the organ has been dethroned as the largest in the world. Darn those Austrians! However, the organist “is not worried; her supporters promised to add another batch of pipes soon enough.” (You can do that?)

For more about Carol Williams, the civic organist, read our profile, check out photos from a performance, and watch our Behind the Scene TV story. 

If you’re a fan of the Organ Pavilion, take a look at these historic photos, featuring a memorial service for President Harding, a speech by President Hoover (nice spats on that guy in the back!), a speech by Albert Einstein (sassy shoes, lady!) and destined-to-be-scandalous preacher Aimee Semple McPherson speaking (in front of an awesome chair) and performing a healing ceremony

News at the Speed of Brief

• Some weren’t filled with tidings of comfort and joy upon reading a religious message on the paper’s Christmas Day front page from new owner Doug Manchester (or “Papa Doug,” as he signed the note).

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, military, business,” was how CityBeat editor David Rolland described the message. “Just tragic,” tweeted journalism watcher Seth Hall.

In fact, Manchester’s message wasn’t too much different from those regularly published by the Copleys, who used to publish the U-T. Manchester describes Christmas as “the day marking the birth of the Christ child” and writes that “the holidays can be a time where people of all faiths celebrate shared happiness.” (Those of no faith are presumably left out).

There’s an old saw that says newspapers should “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted” (always a tough job considering that the comfortable pay to keep newspapers in business). The U-T’s new slogan seems to be something along the lines of “Accentuate the positive, and God bless!”  

• Manchester’s note got mostly rah-rah notices on the conservative blog, although local healthcare CEO Barry Jantz had a sly take: “if Manchester is going to use the UT to promote a new Chargers stadium, he will definitely need Jesus’ help.”

• Tree be gone! The city will take your Christmas tree for recycling at 16 locations around town, including the Miramar Landfill, or you may be able to leave it at your curb, KPBS reports.

The city will not recycle your relatives, however. I checked.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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