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Rik Hauptfeld is a nice guy. Just ask his rivals in the race for the City Council seat representing District 7, which covers neighborhoods like Grantville, Mission Valley, Linda Vista, Tierrasanta and more.

He’s going to need to get by on that charm, writes Will Carless, who embedded in the district last week. He doesn’t have the built-in support systems that they do, and his campaign seems to be a long shot.

That’s kind of Hauptfeld’s pitch: He says he’s not in the pocket of the GOP or labor and more than hints that his rivals are. 

Learn more about the man from the former Yugoslavia in our latest in a series of posts examining the City Council candidates.

Cops Begin to Track Curfew Program but Ignore Some Stats

San Diego cops are launching an effort to understand the effectiveness of their curfew sweep program, but our analysis finds that they won’t be looking at one of the most important ones: whether the sweeps keep kids from committing crimes.

Cops, council members and many community leaders use anecdotes to call the program a major success. Earlier this year, however, we compiled statistics that suggested — but didn’t prove — that the program may not be the crime-buster it’s advertised to be.

Now, our Keegan Kyle reports, “police have begun looking at old arrest records to evaluate different crime diversion classes, but this new effort won’t reveal whether the program has deterred kids from breaking curfew or other laws again.”

Neighbors Shocked By Walmart Construction

Residents of Sherman Heights said they had no idea Walmart would tear down part of one of the neighborhood’s most iconic structures. Six weeks after the company announced plans to convert the pink Farmers Market Building on Imperial Avenue into a store, bulldozers this week demolished a wall of the old building, setting off a controversy.

Maginot Line (!), Hotel Taxes and Watercolors

In letters, Daniel Smiechowski throws in a few historical references (better bone up on chess and the France’s failed defense in World War I!) to argue that Interstate 8 will be a major dividing line in figuring out who wins the mayoral election.  

Also, Bob Stein says the idea of allowing hotel owners to sock their guests with higher per-night taxes will hopefully be declared illegal. But if it isn’t, he says, “now we can create and vote-in our own taxes. Success could even lead to neighborhoods seceding from the city, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

In another letter, Mary Ann Rogers, co-development director of the San Diego Watercolor Society, lauds the city’s support of the arts.  

Did Dumanis Create a Nonprofit?

The pitch of mayoral candidate Bonnie Dumanis can be summed up in one word: competence. Among other things, she says she knows how to run a big government agency — the district attorney’s office.

Dumanis proclaimed last month to a group of nonprofit leaders that she created a nonprofit. San Diego Fact Check finds she’s correct on that last point: Her claim is true.

She formed a nonprofit that still exists; it was originally created to collect donations and apply for grants to help the downtown drug court. It’s since evolved and now connects at-risk young people to colleges and careers.

Quick News Hits:

• There’s more fuss up at North County’s Rancho Guejito property. The U-T says a whistleblower that he raised the alarm about an illegal road has been ordered by a judge to stay away from the property and its employees.

For background on Rancho Guejito, a historical and environmental gem that’s the site of a brewing conservation battle, check our story and San Diego Explained video from last year.

• State legislators won’t eliminate a fee that pays for a widely criticized taxpayer-funded to support call boxes, the U-T reports. The emergency boxes are still around, but cell phones have greatly reduced their use.

Also in Sacramento, local legislators from both sides of the political aisle are pushing to cap the pay of many state employees so no one makes more than the governor, even with overtime, the U-T reports. A big jump in pay for the incoming San Diego State president (whom we interviewed earlier this year) — along with reports of sky-high salaries for medical staff at prisons  — helped set off a brouhaha over how much state employees make.

One prison surgeon reportedly made $784,595; the governor gets $173,987.

• How overworked is the board that oversees complaints about the sheriff’s department? CityBeat finds the board didn’t get around to investigating two complaints that sound like they deserve attention: one from a woman who claims a deputy grabbed her parking spot and then viciously cursed at her; another came from a 16-year-old boy who claimed “deputies pushed his head into a window, put him in a choke hold, cuffed him, put him on the ground and stepped on his neck.”

Both cases were dropped because the board’s staff didn’t investigate them within a year.

• Good news: You won’t have to hear candidates promote themselves or bash their opponents as you listen to Terry Gross or watch a thorough documentary about boll weevils. KPBS’s TV and radio stations won’t air political ads, CityBeat reports, even though a new court ruling says public broadcasters can if they want to.

• The Maritime Museum has turned a parking lot into a shipyard and is building a replica of the San Salvador, “the first ship to land on San Diego’s shores,” KPBS reports.

• Our quest to learn about the heritages of the mayoral candidates has turned up Nathan Fletcher’s background. His spokeswoman Amy Thoma says Fletcher’s last name is Scottish (it means “makers of arrows”) and the native of Smackover, Ark., is “part Native American (probably 1/16-ish), a little Italian, a little English and a whole lot of ‘I don’t know,’ which makes him a full-blooded American!”  

By the way, Fletcher is out with a new and ultra-brief TV ad touting how the right and left are on his case, but he’s in the middle — with you. (Unless you aren’t in the middle. Then you’re out of luck, apparently.)

Check the strong-looking tree behind him. Never mind who becomes mayor: I’d like to have that on my side.

Programming Note

I’m going to be away from the helm of the Morning Report so I can go to a couple of journalism conferences. A dedicated team of scribes will fill in for me.

Feel free to treat them as you would any substitutes: Throw spitballs, pass notes and say rude things behind their backs. I’ll be with you in spirit!

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

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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