The four major candidates in San Diego’s mayoral race hit the airwaves yesterday with the first televised mayoral debate.

Some highlights:

• Liam Dillon offers up his takeaways, including who was best on roads (Carl DeMaio), who had their best argument yet (Bonnie Dumanis), and who had the best line (Nathan Fletcher warning Bob Filner he was losing votes because of his quibbling with a moderator).   

Watch the full debate, which was co-hosted by KBPS, 10News and U-T San Diego, on KPBS’ website.

• The Daily Transcript (subscription required) says DeMaio falsely accused Fletcher of being the subject of an ethics investigation and notes Filner’s takedown of DeMaio over his support for a tax increase for the Convention Center expansion.

We’ll be teaming with NBC 7 San Diego on the next televised debate, which airs Monday at 6 p.m.

• Meanwhile Juan Vargas, a state senator running for Congress refused to debate his rival Denise Ducheny on 10News unless other lesser-known candidates were included.

Dumanis, Explained

Bonnie Dumanis’ rise to political power has been an improbable one. She started as a clerk typist at the county delivering mail and has risen to be a statewide player. In our latest San Diego Explained with NBC 7 San Diego, we break down Dumanis’ career, what she’s focusing on (like schools) and what she’s shying away from (like specifics). Watch the video here.

We’ve already gotten to Nathan Fletcher and Carl DeMaio. Next week we finish up our mayoral explainers with Bob Filner.

Rancho Bernard Fire Memories Are Vivid

“You’re seeing fireballs in the air,” Rancho Bernardo resident Robin Kaufman says as she stares at the sky. “A horrible snowstorm, but it’s all red and orange.”

The memories of 2003 and 2007 still haunt residents across the city. And the threat of wildfires continues to come up as a major theme in the neighborhoods we’re visiting this month to cover the City Council races. Kaufman told our Rob Davis, who’s spending the week in District 5, that while plenty of attention has been focused on fire prevention, there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Rancho Bernardo’s one firehouse covers the most area in the city — 27 square miles — and, she says, only one council member — Sherri Lightner — holds a fire preparedness day.

Other big issues in RB: communication with public officials, potholes, public transit and public spaces.

Who Is Mat Kostrinsky?

He’s running for San Diego City Council in District 7. His platform: That his experience in government gives him the skills needed to hash out compromises and get things done. The biggest criticism he’s facing: he’ll be beholden to his most recent employer, organized labor. We profiled Kostrinsky, the final piece of Will Carless’ District 7 coverage. Check out the full archive of Carless’ work on those neighborhoods.  

A Dangerous Place to Be on a Bike

Bikes have become a talking point in the mayor’s race, but it’s not just about leisure. It’s about basic safety.

An SUV struck and killed a local man driving in a dedicated bike lane this week on Montezuma Road near Collwood Boulevard. As Bike SD points out, this is the same spot where KPBS personality Tom Fudge got hit five years ago, an experience he recently wrote about.

“Fudge survived, but lives with the daily physical pain as a constant reminder that the City of San Diego is a city that only encourages and supports high speed roads that discourage any mode of transportation but the automobile,” Bike SD’s Samantha Ollinger writes.

New Owners for Prized Domain

The website sandiego.com was acquired by Wind n Sea Media Partners, LLC, a subsidiary of BIZX, LLC, according to a press release from the company. “The acquisition of sandiego.com, a leading destination guide serving the San Diego market, augments our growing portfolio of travel, deals, and discount sites,” said the CEO. The site, a very valuable domain name, has struggled for years to find its niche.

What We Learned About U-T San Diego’s TV Aspirations

First, we learned the newspaper has a kitschy new elevator door for its television channel. Second, we learned more about what direction the channel is headed.

In a video featuring its new owners, Doug Manchester and John Lynch, the newspaper introduced who it plans on making it stars: former sports radio personalities Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith.

XX Radio fired Kaplan in February for calling a female sports broadcaster a “sasquatch of a woman,” among other things. At the time, Kaplan criticized the newspaper for its coverage of him. In the U-T’s new video, Lynch said of Kaplan and Smith: “They have become really part of the fabric of San Diego.”

The two hosts, whose show was known for having a locker-room vibe, also introduced a third co-host, a woman they repeatedly referred to as “smart and sexy.”

We still didn’t learn exactly what the channel will be or do. But we did learn that, yes, it does appear that U-T San Diego employees do indeed have to call him “Papa” Doug Manchester.

I’m the editor of VOSD. You can reach me at andrew.donohue@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0526.

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