In previous State of the City speeches, Mayor Jerry Sanders has blamed leaders of the past and beaconed to a brighter future. Tonight’s address is his last turn behind the microphone, and he’ll need to focus on the now.

“The mayor’s ability to ridicule the past or revel in the future won’t resonate as much with the reality that his leadership is in its final year,” our Liam Dillon writes. “The time to evaluate the present-day State of the City, and Sanders’ effect on it, has arrived.”

Sanders will definitely talk about the successes of his terms, and he’s expected to say that fundraising for the downtown library is complete.

“Sanders likely will forecast victory, but will he acknowledge the casualties?” Dillon asks.

The mayor’s tone and focus have changed gradually over the years as he’s delievered this annual speech. Take a look back at the old ones here.

Fact Check: Dumanis’ Schools Plan

Bonnie Dumanis’ first big proposal in her run for mayor calls for the Mayor’s Office to play a major role in San Diego school reform.

The biggest complaint about her plan went something like this: Why is a mayoral candidate wandering into education, especially with so many problems left to solve at City Hall?

Dumanis didn’t do herself any favors by proposing a solution for a problem that didn’t exist. She said high school students should be able to take some community college courses. The state, her plan said, doesn’t allow this.

The claim is important because it suggests the state is in the wrong and paints Dumanis as offering what sounds, at first glance, like a reasonable proposal. Why shouldn’t high school kids be able to take community college classes?

But San Diego Fact Check finds this claim is false; the law doesn’t prohibit what’s known as “dual enrollment.”

• Dumanis also announced she won’t take the $100,464 mayoral salary if elected and will donate it to education after taxes, NBC 7 San Diego reports. She won’t take a pension either.

The district attorney won’t be without money if she donates her salary. We estimated that she’s entitled to a $235,000 public pension based on her service as district attorney and time in the judiciary. Her campaign confirmed to us that she plans to begin drawing her pension at some point during her mayoral tenure if she’s elected.

County Supervisors Wonder if Blueprint Needs a Rewrite

County supervisors are going to think about the pleas of homeowners who are appealing the new blueprint for growth in the backcountry, the North County Times reports. The move sparked “debate on the board about how many property owner objections can be allowed before the county is forced to overhaul the planning document, potentially costing millions of taxpayer dollars and several years of new studies.”

The blueprint, called the General Plan, took 13 years and $16 million to finish, and called for lighter growth in the backcountry and more focused development in areas with existing infrastructure.

Want more background? We have a trusty video explainer.

On Fact Check TV, Nipping a Shark Claim

Freeman Dyson is a famous physicist known most recently for his skepticism about global warming. In our pages he’s known for something else: a heckuva false claim and a rather stunning confession.

As Fact Check TV explores, Dyson claimed in the New York Review of Books that research showed local beach swimmers were less likely to drown after fatal shark attacks.

In fact, there’s no such research, as we wrote last month. Dyson’s response: “I should have said it was an urban legend rather than a scientific fact.”

News at the Speed of Brief

• The guy who was brought in to plan the big 100 anniversary party of Balboa Park’s California-Panama Exposition has quit for personal reasons, and now the shindig is looking for a new leader.  (U-T)

• Mitt Romney’s $12 million beachfront La Jolla home makes an appearance in the first few minutes of a viciously anti-Romney film funded by a PAC sympathetic to Newt Gingrich.   

• San Diego-related Political Quote of the Day: “Ron Paul dais crowd can double as a Comi-Con sneak preview audience.” — blogger Ana Marie Cox via Twitter, on last night’s GOP post-New Hampshire primary hoopla.

• A public call-box agency that’s facing questions about its relevance has put together a $130,000 marketing campaign featuring a travel-friendly cookbook and suggested coolers with its logo on it. (U-T)

Classical Music, Ché Café and a Security Guard’s Eyes

The Arts Report, the Morning Report’s pesky younger sister (the one who’s always yelling “shotgun” when we’re getting in the car), is out with its weekly roundup of the local arts scene.

Highlights include links to stories about a local classical music station (yes, there is one, if barely), the non-demise of a UCSD musical venue/hippie haven, and a security guard’s knack at dealing with the darkness of an exhibit.  

Those Tip-Happy Waiters and Waitresses

We’ve been watching U-T San Diego’s news pages and editorials to see if anything changes under the ownership of hotelier Doug Manchester, a major booster of a big-bigger-um-even-biggener! approach to San Diego’s future. A new editorial gives us some not-too-surprising insight into the paper’s thoughts about tourism. It is, the U-T thinks, pretty awesome, and getting better after a slump.

Tourism is “a key vital sign in the health of our regional economy,” adding that unnamed critics who “say tourism produces only low-paying jobs” are out of touch.

The critics fail to notice that “food servers may double or triple their pay through tips,” the paper says. “Or that the airline pilot, the travel agency owner, the travel promo videographer and, for the duration of certain projects, architects, engineers, construction trades and planning department staffers are effectively tourism workers as well.”

The local travel agency owner benefits from tourists coming here? Hmm. I can’t speak to the claim about food server pay. How about you: Do you (or did you) double or triple your pay through tips while working as a waiter or waitress?

Drop me a line and let me know. Meanwhile, I’m going to sit here and hog this table for a few hours.

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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