San Diego’s Prop. B aims to drastically change retirement benefits for future employees, shifting risk off the city and potentially freeing up money to restore services that have been snipped over the last few years. Opponents, like mayoral candidate Bob Filner, say it’s a boondoggle.

Prop. B “costs almost $100 million over the next few years to implement,” Filner wrote a few days ago.

Is that true? San Diego Fact Check examines the claim and determines it’s Mostly True.

His scenario envisions the City Council ignoring the provision in the proposition that asks for a five-year pay freeze for employees (which is responsible for most of the savings).

The city’s independent budget analyst estimates the total cost to be $101 million over eight years in that scenario. But if the pay freeze goes through, the city thinks the cost will be $54 million over the first three years.

For more about wrangling over what Prop. B will actually save, watch KPBS’s debate between union leader Michael Zucchet and San Diego County Taxpayer Association CEO Lani Lutar.

We’ve got plenty more mayoral race coverage. Read on…

Where DeMaio Stands on Balboa Park

Filner is the only major mayoral candidate to oppose Prop. B. He’s also the only one not supporting the Irwin Jacobs plan to remake Balboa Park, according to our mayoral scorecard.

But one of the plan’s most vocal critics wrote us after we published the scorecard, saying we had Carl DeMaio’s viewpoint all wrong. He showed us an email he got from the candidate saying our scorecard was “not correct.”

So we set out to figure out DeMaio’s real stance. The verdict: He’s voted for it to move forward but still reserves the right to be against it.

Fletcher Evolves on Marriage Equality

Mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher has gone to great lengths to point out that his viewpoints haven’t changed since he ditched the GOP. But on one particular issue — gay marriage — his views have at least evolved.

He used to say he was personally against it but that he didn’t think it was the government’s job to outlaw same-sex marriage.

Now, Fletcher is saying he’d be an active advocate for marriage equality, picking up the charge led by current Mayor Jerry Sanders.

An Update on Special Ed Costs

As we reported recently, charter schools have been fleeing the San Diego school district’s special education program, often because they think it’s too expensive. If that happens, it just makes it more expensive.

We looked into the issue to see what’s new. Turns out the school board has been looking at another way of doing things, but it hasn’t made much progress as it grapples with other financial challenges.     

Opinions on Roads, Mayor’s Legacy, Tierrasanta, Arts

In letters:

• Steven Youel complains about a trenching project in City Heights that he says will destroy a road that was just repaved. “I would fix San Diego by hiring someone in the city engineers’ office who can manage projects,” he says.

• The lame-duck mayor isn’t leaving too soon, says Mary Thom of Grantville: “Let Sanders walk into the sunset and away from any more decisions which are so harmful to the city.”   

• Deanna Spehn, a Tierrasanta resident and the editor and co-publisher of Tierra Times, writes that there’s no need to extend Tierrasanta Boulevard, an issue she says crops up during every district election.  

• Mary Oren of Carlsbad writes an ode to the value of art and urges: “Let’s try harder to support the arts and all that it does for us.”

Also in arts, our weekly Arts Report has returned. Our arts editor Kelly Bennett writes about her conversation with a downtown arts denizen who has a live-and-let-live attitude toward the homeless in East Village.

Check the weekly roundup for examinations of the Old Globe’s controversial new play and a one-man show about Sherlock Holmes and “a potentially possessed dog.” (Cujo, is that you?)  

Quick News Hits

• San Diego has become the first city to name a street after assassinated San Francisco politician Harvey Milk, a gay icon. The short street, currently known as Blaine Avenue, is in Hillcrest. It begins at the neighborhood post office and ends at the gay community center. (U-T)

No comment seems to have been heard from anyone named Blaine. If any Blaines do complain, they can rest easy that there’s a Blaine Street in L.A. in a great location, next to the Staples Center. Beats a post office anytime.

• Financial firms gave money “to successful school bond measures in California, and in almost every instance, school district officials hired those same underwriters to sell the bonds for a profit,” California Watch reports.

Several San Diego districts make California Watch’s list: Encinitas elementary district, Escondido high school district, Lakeside elementary district, Grossmont high school district (East County), Poway Unified, San Diego Unified, San Marcos Unified and Southwestern community college.  

Districts defend the practice, but a Los Angeles county official says “you paid and you got the job. That’s pay to play.”

•  Bob Filner is out with a new campaign flier (courtesy of, touting him as “the only candidate willing to take on downtown special interests and stand up for the middle class.”

The flier’s photo shows Filner in front of a nighttime downtown skyline. Clearly, he’ll fight downtown’s special interests but he can still appreciate their pretty skyscrapers.

If you prefer an even stronger anti-downtown perspective, you may just have to turn to a write-in choice: Godzilla.  

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

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