A new city study says San Diego should eagerly adopt the recycling of sewage into drinking water and make a huge dent in the perennial problem of sewage spills into the ocean.

“If adopted, San Diego would join Orange County as a major pioneer in the American Southwest’s fledgling efforts to turn sewage into a drinking water source,” Rob Davis reports. “Today, San Diego imports billions of gallons of water annually from far-off sources, a practice that consumes massive amounts of energy and leaves the region vulnerable to supply interruptions.”

Here’s the actual study. It lays out the estimated costs and says an upgrade of the city’s major sewage treatment plant could cost $710 million instead of $1.2 billion if the city heads down this route.

It was this research Councilman Carl DeMaio and others said they were waiting for before they’d consider embracing the effort.

Bonanza of Mayor’s Race News

With the election just two weeks away, there’s a whole lot happening in the mayor’s race. Here’s a rundown:

• You might assume the only major Democratic candidate in a mayor’s race would have an easy time of getting through the primary. After all, San Diego has more Democratic registered voters than Republican.

Congressman Bob Filner seems to have made this assumption. Oopsy daisy! In an interview, he tells us the race has been closer than he expected, partly because “everybody underestimated Fletcher.” (That’s Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, whose switch from the GOP to independent upended the race.)

Filner also says it’s been tough raising money because local contribution limits are lower than in Congress: “I just thought it was going to be easy. It wasn’t as easy as I thought. I could work a whole day of phoning and get a couple thousand. Whereas if I work a whole day in Congress, I get $50,000.”

• A while back, we labeled District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis San Diego’s most powerful politician. But that label’s being tested by the public polling in the mayor’s race that shows her trailing.

Then again, she has avoided much of the mudslinging that’s preoccupied her three rivals.

Check our reader’s guide to Dumanis.      

Dumanis, by the way, tried to polish the perception of her chances by noting that she was 20 percent behind in the polls back in 2002 and still won. San Diego Fact Check examined the claim and finds it only merits a “barely true” verdict since she got the timing wrong. 

And our Scott Lewis reports on an attempt by a major local honcho, Malin Burnham, to get her to drop out of the race. The DA’s response: no.

• About three minutes of a televised debate this week crystallized the mayor’s race, writes our City Hall reporter Liam Dillon. He calls it a “lunge and parry” (sounds like someone’s getting ready for the Olympics!) on Fletcher’s big switcheroo.

• We highlighted recent fact checks from CityBeat and the U-T on claims from Fletcher and DeMaio. Seems Fletcher shouldn’t have tried to distance himself from a conservative group and DeMaio should have tried harder on some alarmist math.

Former Teachers Union Leader Sues Teachers Union

Craig Leedham, a former executive director of the San Diego teachers union who was known for his aggressive and abrasive management style, claims he was wrongfully dismissed this year. He’s suing the union.

His lawyer said the union violated his employment contract: “I don’t have to show that what the union did was illegal. Instead, they have to prove he was dismissed for just cause under a very, very high standard. Shouting and cussing is not going to meet that standard.”

• One of the board members of the union, and a teacher, offers a dark picture in a letter of what happens if hundreds of teachers are indeed laid off in coming months.

Fact-Checking a Prop. A Claim

If you’re a registered voter, your mailbox may be filling up with claims about Prop. A, which would ban the city from requiring union-friendly agreements on big construction projects.

We recently outlined the five easy steps you can take to understand Proposition A.

One of the measure’s proponents recently claimed that every precinct in the San Diego region had supported the same idea in 2010 on the county level.

Fact Check TV takes a look at the election results from two years ago and issues a verdict on whether the claim has any basis in reality.  

• Former City Councilwoman Donna Frye has seemed to find a calling in writing op-eds for us. She pointed out Monday that the city is warning Wall Street about potential negative consequences to Proposition A.

VOSD Radio on Mayoral Rivals and Education Plans

VOSD Radio tackles the issue of education in the mayor’s race. Why are the candidates talking about schools when the city has so many other problems? Listen to Andy and Scott’s rationale.

You’ll also hear who gets named Hero and Goat (or, in this case, Goats) of the week.

Quick News Hits:

• Are they the best stories of the week? You be the judge. One thing is clear: the articles in our “Best of the Week” list were the most popular on our site. This time around, they include coverage of a teachers union smackdown via open letter, a guide to understanding Prop. A and the state of school district labor negotiations.  

• Sunday evening’s partial eclipse was a big deal. The eclipse that happened in 1923 was an even bigger deal, and a young San Diego journalist’s flowery description of it landed him the first Pulitzer ever awarded to a paper west of the Mississippi.

This is a pleasant bit of local lore, and I wrote it up for our site in 2009. But it turned out there was much more — actually, much less — to the story.

As the LA Times notes in a story posted yesterday, the reporter — Magner White of the now-defunct San Diego Sun — pulled a fast one on his readers. His reporting about eclipse happenings, like animals being stunned at the zoo, turned out to be bogus. He apparently never even left the newsroom during the event.

In 2009, I tracked down his granddaughter and great-granddaughter and asked about White’s truthfulness. I worried they’d get mad at me for daring to question him, but I shouldn’t have. They both knew that White, who’d unsuccessfully run for mayor and died in 1980, refused to accept the pesky limits of reality.

He had a “vivid imagination,” his great-granddaughter said, and his story was “his interpretation of what he felt the eclipse was going to do.”   

As an intrepid journalist with a sterling commitment to the truth, I can report that actually went outside to look at Sunday’s eclipse from the scenic confines of Normal Heights. All I saw was stars.

Maybe that’s because I looked directly at the sun?

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

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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