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Congressman Bob Filner stands out of the pack of major candidates running for mayor, and not just because he’s the only Democrat. As our City Hall reporter Liam Dillon writes, “Filner has a distinct take on many of the core questions in the mayor’s race. His three rivals for the most part don’t vary on the big issues and instead duke it out over how to get the same things done.”

Check out our mayoral candidate scorecard on the issues for a better idea of how he’s different from the rest.

• Filner tried to emphasize that he’s not a captive of business interests by saying this on the radio: “I do not have money from SDG&E, which the other folks do.”

San Diego Fact Check finds his claim is true. However, the other candidates haven’t been raking in that much from SDG&E and Sempra employees.

• It’s been 13 years since 1999, when Filner thought about running for mayor and said his priorities would be developing the port, expanding programs for schoolchildren and developing better cross-border ties.

Now, his priorities are the same. We examine the question of whether times have changed and he hasn’t.

School Construction Bond Advances Alongside Teacher Layoffs

A huge discussion has erupted under our post about final teacher layoff notices being approved. A few not-so-productive perspectives pepper the discussion but, for the most part, it’s quite interesting.

At the same time all this is happening, a school bond heading for the November ballot — which would raise $2.8 billion for construction by raising property taxes — keeps getting bigger, says our CEO Scott Lewis.

“We don’t know exactly why the tax hike doubled,” Lewis writes. “But we do know there are plenty of people out there ready to get their hands on this cheese. And all they apparently have to say to get it is that it will protect teachers from layoffs.”

Will Carless had previously explained the district’s reasoning about how a construction bond would protect teacher jobs. No, the teachers would not have to pick up hammers.

The U-T Will Bury You

Don’t mess with the U-T, mister.

That’s the message that the newspaper’s CEO sent to a councilman in a snit over rules about an illegal banner, according to email correspondence uncovered by the Reader.

We summarize the tussle, in which the CEO, John Lynch, hinted at siccing “our folks” on the city over its “anti-business” rules. It’s not clear why he was unwilling to do so because the paper is trying to get approval for a big video sign on a building.   

Lynch tells us that he was joking around.

On Twitter, I wondered why it’s a big deal that a newspaper publisher is trying to use his newsroom to push an agenda. This happens all the time at news organizations both big and small, and the San Diego media is no stranger to bullying City Hall. “It’s the using journalism as retribution,” replied our CEO Lewis. “Like a reporter threatening a hit for a parking ticket.”

Why didn’t I think of that the last time I got a citation?

Quick News Hits

• Good news for all of us with ragged library cards: the city’s new budget includes even more extra hours for libraries than expected, and the downtown library will finally reopen on Saturdays after two years of being shut on that day.

There had been talk that the new downtown library, due to open next year, would look great but be dark on Saturdays, potentially bestowing a giant blot on a much ballyhooed project.

NBC San Diego has more details about the restoration of funding for various services.

• U-T columnist Matthew Hall follows up on our story about proposed higher rates to get access to the city’s public records and scoffs at the idea that it takes as long to create a PDF of a document as it does to copy it on paper. “Copying 20 pages took me 32 seconds,” he writes. “Turning them into a PDF? 18.”

• How much does pro-government propaganda cost? A lot, CityBeat finds. The county’s new CountyNewsCenter.com — catchy! — cost $114,000 for its design. That’s “more than KPBS, Voice of San Diego and CityBeat paid for their sites combined.”

Our CEO Lewis is quoted supporting the concept but wondering about the bill.

The county’s communications office, by the way, has 11 full-time spokespeople and a $3.1 million annual budget.  

The Mayor Sees Manure in DeMaio

As we’ve noted before, Mayor Jerry Sanders has a unique way with the English language, and he’s not afraid to cuss a blue streak in public. Case in point: his comments yesterday to reporters about mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio and the councilman’s claims to be responsible for the city’s new approach to its finances.  

Let’s put it this way: KPBS put up a “warning: this video and story contain coarse language” alert to protect its delicate viewers and readers.

The video begins with Sanders speaking bluntly about DeMaio as Councilman Todd Gloria unsuccessfully battles to keep a straight face in the background.

Then Sanders lets loose about DeMaio: “He probably takes credit for my weight loss. He probably takes credit for the weeds I pulled in the backyard last week. It’s all bulls—.

This got me to thinking. As San Diego explores ways to turn sewage into drinking water, has anybody thought of an ideal source of you-know-what right under our noses? City Hall alone could quench our thirst for years!

And if we add in the byproducts of local media scribes who think they know everything (present company not included), we could take care of Tijuana too.  

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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