It was a two-fer Thursday: One false and one of the uncoveted “huckster propaganda” verdicts from a single interview with Carl DeMaio, the councilman and mayoral candidate.

Both problematic statements by DeMaio refer to the funding of the convention center expansion. At issue: will the city dip into its general-fund budget — the money that pays for things from libraries to parks to police — to pay for the expansion?

DeMaio told us that it’s “very clear that we’re not going to use our general fund monies to subsidize an expansion at this point.” That’s “huckster propaganda,” a verdict we reserve for statements that aren’t just untrue but egregiously false because they speaker clearly knows the truth but says it anyway.  

DeMaio then acknowledged the city’s planned contribution to the expansion but insisted there’s a limit in place on it: “There is a cap right now. Yes there is. There is a cap.”

No, there isn’t.

Here’s our reasoning.

Some Teachers Rebel Against Union

Two teachers from Marshall Middle School have sent a brutal open letter to leaders of the San Diego Education Association, their teachers union. Another teacher, a longtime commenter on the site, says she’s done volunteering for the organization.

This after a bizarre series of proclamations this week.

Erin Schumacher and Kaitlin Rosichan, the Marshall teachers, pleaded with the union to consider conceding on planned across-the-board salary increases, recommitt to moving the layoff notice deadline later in the year and consider more than just seniority when cuts have to be made.

Read the letter and the comments coming in from others.

A Chat with a School Board Candidate

We’ll be closely following upcoming school board elections. Thursday we posted an interview with Bill Ponder, one of two declared candidates who want to fill the vacancy that will be left by Shelia Jackson, who’s been a lightning rod in her term as trustee. She’s decided not to run for re-election.

Ponder, a former university administrator, says he won’t use the school board as a stepping stone to future office, and had this to say about the budget issues that tie the district in knots: “I know the personnel issue is a large part of the district’s budget. The other side is to see if there are still some efficiencies or places within the current structure of the district that need to be looked at? My view would be to look at both of those issues simultaneously and see if we can come to some middle ground, then figure out some ways of negotiating.”

• Also in school board election news, two new hopefuls have filed to run against school board incumbents John Lee Evans and Richard Barrera. The conservative blog has been agitating for Republicans to run.

Up, Up and A-Mapping

Join the Speak City Heights team, including us, on Saturday for a “balloon mapping” excursion. Wait, what? Yes, balloon mapping is a thing: we’ll use everyday materials like cameras and balloons to take aerial photos of the neighborhood at dusk. We’ll be looking for dark spots and then check to see if crime rates are higher in those parts of City Heights.

Speak City Heights, a collaboration of several local organizations, has the details, and here’s a map of where it will all begin.  

A Whale of an Acting Job

A couple months ago, we were on hand when a bunch of burly men auditioned to be part of the background in the San Diego Opera production of “Moby-Dick.” They wanted to be “supernumeraries,” a fancy name for performers who don’t sing but are still busy acting, climbing and fighting on stage.

Now you can see the successful auditioners (auditionees?) doing their thing during rehearsal in a video provided by the opera.

This is the fourth video from the opera that we’ve posted this week; the next most recent one looks at the singing members of the Pequod crew.

Quick News Hits

• Riverside County leaders have killed a vociferously debated plan to build a quarry near the San Diego County line.

The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians opposed the plan, saying it would harm sacred land. The tribe’s chairman told the NC Times that he was pleased. “Our heart, my heart, is well,” he said, translating a Pechanga word.

The debate over the quarry created some strange bedfellows, as the LA Times put it last month: it “had politicians from one of the most conservative corners of the Inland Empire railing… against corporate arrogance and environmental devastation, while union workers pushed the project as a job creator.”

• How do you get a police officer to come to your house? Why, just call the cops up to complain about the U-T littering your Pacific Beach neighborhood with advertising circulars. That’s how a San Diego Reader contributor did it, as he explains in a nearly 1,000-word story about his fruitless odyssey of calls and complaints to the cops, the city and the newspaper.

The U-T’s circulars apparently are still coming and continuing to annoy residents, including one who says the plastic bags they come in aren’t even useful during dog-walking excursions.

• The Headline of the Day comes from the Ramona Sentinel out in East County: “Lincoln assassination is topic of museum potluck Feb. 21.”

Huh. Reminds me of that old saying: “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the potato salad?”

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.