One candidate for mayor says the pension reform initiative could save the city $1 billion. Wow, that sounds nice. Maybe we could all get ponies!

But… another candidate says the initiative could save a grand total of zero dollars.  

Who’s right? They both are, San Diego Fact Check explains. Councilman Carl DeMaio (who touts the $1 billion figure) and Rep. Bob Filner (who goes for zero) can both make accurate cases for their statements.  

In brief, the initiative could result in a ton of savings or none, depending on what happens after voters approve it (if they do). This all has to do with the proposed freeze of employees’ so-called “pensionable pay.” Catch up on what that is with a segment of San Diego Explained.

By the way, this initiative is now known as Proposition B. As the operator lady says, please make a note of it.

How a Construction Bond Would Pay for … Teachers

The San Diego school district has come up with a way to come up with tens of millions of dollars for its day-to-day operating budget: It wants to ask voters to raise their property taxes so it can borrow as much as $2.8 billion.

But it can’t legally spend that money on day-to-day costs like teacher and staff salaries.

So what’s going on? Will Carless explained their thinking. The district says investments can create savings on utility costs, technology and maintenance and repair.

But didn’t the district already get voters to pony up for construction a few years ago? Yup, and it helped pay for stuff like laptops and interactive whiteboards. But the district says it doesn’t have the money to replace them. Thus, another tax increase now will supposedly free the district to replace them without taking a hit.

This is all just a small part of how the district plans to spend the $2.8 billion it says would be generated.

The increase would be $60 per every $100,000 worth of taxable property you own. It would need 55 percent approval from voters in November.

Parking Enforcement Pay Polemic

Our fact check about extra pay for parking enforcers who use scooters spawned a debate about whether these meter readers get paid too much or deserve more money for facing higher risks.

For background on what it’s like giving people tickets all day, check our 2007 profile of a parking enforcer who almost quit when she found out she’d have to drive a scooter. “I was just like, ‘Oh, my God, please let me just be a secretary or something,’” she said. “I almost quit when I found out you have to drive one.”

Explaining Balboa Park’s Would-Be Facelift

San Diego Explained, our video series with NBC 7 San Diego, has returned with another explanation of a topic suggested by readers. This time, we use the powers of television to explain the bitter battle over the future of Balboa Park, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Panama-California Exposition in 2015.

Mayoral Money Raise: New Numbers (Plus: A Surprising New Donor)

DeMaio and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher continue to dominate fundraising in the mayoral race, U-T San Diego reports. DeMaio has more money for the race but that’s because he’s given his campaign $456,000. Fletcher’s raised more from donors.

Among those new donors, the U-T’s Craig Gustafson noticed Tierra Gonzalez, the high-school daughter of labor leader Lorena Gonzalez. She gave Fletcher $500. Her mother supports Filner.

“Most parents get to deal with their kids rebellious streak in private. Mine takes to public acts of defiance & twitter,” Lorena Gonzalez Tweeted.

Tierra herself put it simply: “I make my own money. Pay my own taxes. Make my own political decisions #TeamFletcher.” Though a student now, she has worked as a model.

Graphic: Curfew Arrests Across the State

As we told you earlier this month, a VOSD analysis found that areas of the city that didn’t have major curfew sweeps had a greater decrease in crime victims than the city’s urban core, which did.  

This doesn’t prove that curfew sweeps are a failure. A variety of factors could explain differences in juvenile crime rates between neighborhoods, and it’s possible that crimes in the urban core would be much higher without the curfew sweeps. Still, our analysis raises questions about whether the sweeps are having the anti-crime effect that officials claim.

Now, we’ve created a graphic to show how curfew arrests across the state fell significantly over the past few years while rising in San Diego. It’s unclear why.

Quick News Hits

• Jeff Moorad is out as CEO of the Padres, but he’s still involved in a group’s attempts to buy the team, NBC 7 San Diego reports.

• Rolling blackouts could be a possibility in the warmer months if the San Onofre nuclear power plant doesn’t get back online, the U-T reports.

• San Diego is one of several major cities where black women are more likely to die of breast cancer than white women, even though white women are more likely to get the disease, Reuters reports. It’s not clear why the disparity exists.  

• Pink slime alert! The U-T has an update on which local food stores carry ground meat that includes so-called “pink slime” or, as the meat industry not-so-surprisingly prefers to call it, “lean, finely textured beef.” It’s “a ground mixture of scrap parts, mostly connective tissue, that are disinfected with ammonium hydroxide,” the paper says.

Um… Yum?

According to the U-T, only Target, Walmart, Ralphs and Food 4 Less sell meat products that include the product. Albertsons and Vons just gave it up. Well, it is Lent, after all.

• Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have figured out how to restore memories in mice with the help of an injected schizophrenia drug, Science Now reports.

That’s fantastic news. Maybe soon a shot in the arm will be all I’ll need to find where I put my keys. Either that or a metal detector.

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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