Nathan Fletcher found himself in a powerful position in fall 2010.

How the assemblyman used that power endeared him to some of San Diego most influential interests. And it’s emerging as one of the sharpest criticisms in his bid for mayor.

Scott Lewis revisits the famous midnight deal that clandestinely extended government-financed downtown redevelopment by billions of dollars and several decades. In doing so, Fletcher and Mayor Jerry Sanders short-circuited the public process that the mayor had committed to for deciding whether downtown really still needed the urban renewal subsidies.

“Fletcher stole a process from the public in the kind of deal that has created the very resistance to progress in San Diego its supporters bemoan,” Lewis writes. “His campaign may be proud he ‘delivered more infrastructure dollars’ to San Diego with the vote. But those dollars never actually made it.”

Alas, redevelopment got killed by the Legislature and governor as tales of abuse ran rampant. We did a post-mortem on the downfall of redevelopment in this San Diego Explained.

Who Is Bob Filner?

In our final San Diego Explained covering the four major mayoral candidates, Liam Dillon dishes on Congressman Bob Filner.

Filner has been involved in San Diego politics for more than 30 years, representing the area along the San Ysidro border as one of the most liberal Democrats in the US Congress.

He is the only non-Republican candidate in the race, and he is also the only candidate that has not put any details of his platform in writing.

We’ve now explained all four major candidates in the race. Catch-up on the other three: Nathan Fletcher, Carl DeMaio, and Bonnie Dumanis.

• Filner’s career has been rooted in protest and last night was no different. He sat out of the mayoral debate last night to protest sponsor Bridgepoint Education’s treatment of military veterans, according to San Diego Daily Transcript reporter Andrew Keatts. Filner’s announcement can be found on the San Diego Politico blog and his Facebook page.

Bridgepoint has been accused of preying on veterans, with critics saying the for-profit company targets veterans’ easy access to tuition money and doesn’t provide them much of an education. (New York Times) We have background on a number of the different tactics for which Bridgepoint has been under scrutiny.

As we explored last year, the San Diego-based company has quickly become a major employer and political player in town.

Seals and Potholes in La Jolla and Surrounding Environs

Our Keegan Kyle continues to dig into the big issues in District 1 this week in preparation for the upcoming City Council election.

In his most latest dispatch, Kyle found heated disagreement about the Kilroy Realty commercial development project in Carmel Valley. Some residents are worried about traffic, others think the project just isn’t right for the community. All parties are now revisiting the city’s initial evaluation of the proposal.

He’s also got more from residents worried about pipes, potholes and the enduring seals controversy. Hugh Davies summed up the seals issue like this: “I find it deeply demoralizing that these seals, who didn’t build that wall, have moved into the beach,” he said, but added, “It’s not a life or death issue.”

See all of Kyle’s District 1 coverage from this week here. He’ll have reader’s guides to the three candidates in what’s shaping up to be perhaps the most interesting of all council elections next week.

UCAN Will Survive

The nonprofit Utility Consumers’ Action Network will live to fight another day, U-T San Diego reports.

The well-known utility watchdog recently made an agreement with whistleblowers embroiled in a lengthy lawsuit battle. It looks like the settlement will stem the flow of mounting legal fees and keep the lights turned on. Sorry, bad joke.

This past spring, the advocacy group found itself under FBI investigation due to alleged financial mismanagement and embezzlement. UCAN responded to the inquiry by announcing its intent to disband operations.

Our Rob Davis went through the details of the case with a fine-toothed comb and explained the initial allegations a few weeks ago.

Columnist Tom Blair is Out at U-T San Diego

U-T San Diego metro columnist Tom Blair is no longer with the paper, San Diego Rostra reports. Blair was reportedly asked to cut his column back from three days a week, refused, and was out on the curb late last week.

Editor Jeff Light is reportedly in talks with Blair about returning.

Major changes have been underway at the U-T since the takeover of new owner Doug Manchester last November. We have been following the issues at the paper closely.

Our profile of “Papa Doug” Manchester and his new vision for local media can be found here. It is a read that will go down nicely when coupled with our Reader’s Guide and a tall cool glass of pity for the state of modern journalism.

Colin Weatherby is a freelance writer. You can reach him at and follow him on Twitter at @CCWeatherby.

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