Quiz time! Guess who’s the only major mayoral candidate who opposes a tax on hotel guests to help expand the convention center? Must be one of those three anti-tax Republicans. Well, surprise! It’s the Democrat, Rep. Bob Filner.

Never mind that the GOP candidates like to talk about how much they hate taxes and would run over taxes with their cars if they could. In their minds, the proposed hotel tax is a different kind of beast, as our Liam Dillon explains.

So does that mean Filner can run as the sole anti-tax candidate? Nope. He’s the only one of the four rivals who’s open to a general tax increase during his term.

So why are the GOP types OK with this tax? They say the expansion will be a jobs machine and because the tax will be voted on by hoteliers, not the public.  

Possible Hitch for Pension Reform

A major issue in the mayor’s race has been pension reform, and that might be where it has to stay.

The state’s labor relations board will ask a judge to keep a GOP-led pension reform initiative off the June ballot while it determines whether Mayor Jerry Sanders violated labor law by forgoing negotiations. (U-T San Diego)

Sanders has tried to walk a fine line, saying he’s pursing the matter as a private citizen, not the mayor. However, for example, his statement reacting to yesterday’s news came from his city spokesman, who’d traveled with him to D.C. to talk about pension reform.

A False Food Stamp Claim

County Supervisor Ron Roberts had this to say about food stamp usage recently: “In the last two years we’ve (had) a 65 percent increase, and from November to December last year, in one month, we saw a 9 percent increase.”

San Diego Fact Check finds the claim is false, and a Roberts spokesman admitted the supervisor “goofed up.”

Mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher, complained that the city requires developers to build the same amount of parking spaces in suburban neighborhoods like Rancho Bernardo and places like downtown that have plenty of access to public transit.

We checked the claim last week, and now Fact Check TV offers a video version.

Frye on DeMaio: He’s a ‘Political Sociopath’

Decades of reading about crime has taught me the difference between a psychopath (someone who’s out of touch with reality) and a sociopath (someone who lacks empathy). Now this knowledge has finally come in handy, since former Councilwoman Donna Frye had this to say about Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio: he’s a “political sociopath.”

She made the comment about her former collaborator on the latest edition of VOSD Radio. Frye  shared with us the three things she’d do for open government at City Hall — including a regular British-style public inquiry of the mayoral — as well offering her take on Jerry Sanders’ administration and crowning her Hero (David Alvarez) and Goat (Tony Young) of the week.

Letter Writers on School Unity, Balboa Park

• You can call Phil Stover, the deputy superintendent of business for San Diego schools, a dreamer. He thinks he’s not the only one: “I would like to believe that as a collective, united with a passion for our students we can all come together and avoid conflict,” he writes in our opinion section.

“Please, all of us, for the good of all of the students, let’s come together in integrity, wisdom, maturity and selflessness,” he writes. “Those are the only resources no one can take away from us.”

• Joan Dahlin of La Jolla explains why she opposes the plan to remake Balboa Park but leave the Cabrillo Bridge open to cars. It “should be pedestrian only, parking located at the periphery of the park and a comprehensive tram operation implemented,” she writes.

• Bill Bradshaw calls for paid parking at Balboa Park — “After all, if you can’t afford a few bucks to park, why do you have a car?” — and writes of being aggravated by having to walk from parking near the aerospace museum to make it to the Old Globe for a matinee.

Inzunza Hasn’t Given Up Yet

Former Councilman Ralph Inzunza, who’s serving a term in prison in connection with his conviction on charges related to the notorious “Strippergate” corruption scandal, hasn’t given up on finding a way to get out of the big house early, CityBeat reports. He’s trying a new tact even though he’s exhausted his appeals.

“The core of his argument is that his right to due process was violated when the court did not grant his request for immunity for lobbyist Lance Malone, who was accused of bribing council members on behalf of strip-club owner Michael Galardi, who wanted a law banning lap dances repealed,” CityBeat says. “Inzunza says Malone’s testimony would have countered statements made by Galardi, who had struck a sweet deal with the prosecution.”

Inzunza thinks six months behind bars and six months under house arrest would be an appropriate punishment.  

Happy Days on the I-15

Five minutes each morning may not sound like much. But if you can avoid spending that much time stuck in traffic and listening to an annoying radio host’s chucklehut antics, it can really make a difference.

That’s how much time commuters are saving on the average I-15 rush-hour commute from Escondido to Mira Mesa since the express lanes were finally completed at their northern end last month, the NC Times reports. The savings are for everybody, not just those who use the lanes.

The 20-mile drive now takes 19 minutes instead of 24, Caltrans says. But there’s still a lot of traffic where I-15 and Highway 78 meet, and getting to and from the 78 via the express lanes is still tricky. Don’t ask me how I know this.

Barking up the Wrong TV?

I’m filing this under “Now I’ve Heard Everything.” (That’s quite a file, I’ll have you know): There’s now a cable TV channel just for dogs, and it’s making its debut right here in San Diego.

DOGTV, the first channel of its type, “features programing scientifically developed to provide the right company for dogs when left alone.” You can watch some videos from the channel here or just head to Cox channel 2635 or Time Warner channel 148.

No, I’m not making this up.

I tuned in last night and watched video of dogs playing in a field. “Puppy Bowl” it ain’t, but it was pleasant.

Luckily, DOGTV didn’t inspire me start barking and chewing up the furniture. Whew!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go eat the cat.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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