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In almost as many words, the top labor leader in the region yesterday told the San Diego teachers union to get off the dime. Lorena Gonzalez’s  message: It’s time for movement already.

What kind of movement? Forgoing pay raises instead of allowing one of every five teachers to be laid off? Well, Gonzalez, the most powerful labor leader in San Diego, didn’t quite go that far. But she got close.

“It doesn’t make any sense to play a game of chicken, it’s not going to work on either side,” she said. Gonzalez didn’t let the district off the hook, saying it’s got to do more to explain the options that exist.   

Meanwhile, the teachers union president told the U-T that he wants to survey its members about what to do over the next few days to see how to proceed.

For a quick explainer, check out our Reader’s Guide on the district’s financial crisis.

• In letters, San Diego teacher Joe Wainio says it’s time for his union to negotiate. “To say that our raise is non-negotiable, standing by while hundreds of our fellow teachers and other staff are downsized and the quality of instruction is necessarily compromised, is irresponsible and short-sighted.”

Meanwhile, Janet Pedersen of the College Area suggests that school board members cut their own pay.

DeMaio Already Looking Toward November

Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio, who’s ahead in the polls (but way behind in the U-T’s unscientific poll of its website’s users), is pivoting away from a focus on pensions with a new plan to fix the city’s shoddy roads. It shows he’s already prepping for the November general election.

He going by his usual playbook, our Liam Dillon reports: “He finds a problem people care about. He sets the terms of the debate by releasing a plan to fix it before anyone else. And he uses the threat of a ballot measure to force others to embrace his solution.”

Romney Hearts Fletcher; Love Isn’t Mutual

Presidential candidate and part-time La Jolla resident Mitt Romney likes Nathan Fletcher. Or at least, he liked the Republican Nathan Fletcher. Romney gave money to Fletcher’s mayoral campaign last year before the mayoral candidate ditched the GOP.

So does Fletcher, the newly minted independent like Romney back? Maybe, maybe not. At a debate, Fletcher — you know, the guy who’s touting his ability to be a leader because he’s independent of political parties — declined to say whom he’s supporting for president.

So did the two Republicans, Bonnie Dumanis and DeMaio, who may be wary of annoying the city’s Democratic voters (the ones who keep electing Republicans to be mayor).

Only Rep. Bob Filner, the sole Democrat, says he’s a big fan of a candidate. Who is it? I’ll stand by while you figure it out. Back so soon? Yup, it’s Barack Obama.

Dumanis Still Touts Corruption Case

Never mind the complaints from a former district attorney. Supporters of Bonnie Dumanis, our current DA and a candidate for mayor, are continuing to tout her office’s work on the South Bay corruption case.

As we’ve reported in the past, though, Dumanis’ anti-corruption resume was pretty thin before the recent Sweetwater charges.

Letters: The Great Grantville Debate

On the development front, Sherm Harmer, the principal at Urban Housing Partners, challenges the assertions made by Anthony Wagner, vice chair of the Navajo Community Planners and vice president of the Allied Gardens Community Council, in a previous letter about the future of the Grantville region: “Many of the ‘facts’ presented were either flat-out wrong or were half-truths.”

And Jim Setran of San Diego issues a call to city politicians: “Snap out of it and take care of the city you are paid to protect and maintain!” (Here’s some inspiration for the letter writer, courtesy of Cher.)

Quick News Hits

• You might think the head of a public hospital might be sympathetic toward sick employees. But a new claim against the CEO of North County’s Tri-City Medical Center alleges that he “had a history of discriminating against Tri-City employees who took medical leave for reasons ranging from surgery to caring for adult children with brain cancer” and repeatedly said “I only want to hire healthy people,” the NC Times reports. 

The claim was filed by the hospital’s former senior vice president of legal affairs, who says he was fired. His replacement said the claim is “meritless and designed only to hurt the hospital and (the CEO) personally.”

Tri-City Medical Center, which is a government agency and run by an elected board, has had a long history of strife and bad blood. I summarized the hospital’s ongoing headaches in a story titled “The Tri-City Hospital Mess for Dummies” last year.

Among other bizarre happenings, the situation on the board got so acidic — featuring alleged threats of violence and more — that a trustee was temporarily banned from the hospital’s main building unless she needed emergency care.

• The NY Times profiles a “Soviet biologist turned oligarch turned government minister turned fish farming entrepreneur” who visited a lab in San Diego.  

• The breakdown at the San Onofre power plant — which is still offline — is raising questions among nuclear regulators about whether regulations are strong enough, the U-T reports.  

• The Padres have the worst record in National League and they’re in danger of becoming the worst team in major league baseball.

The team’s poor playing inspired the U-T to break out the awesome word “desultory.” (Definition: “Lacking a plan, purpose, or enthusiasm.” Reminds me of a local political campaign or two, but never mind.)

Readers, start your theasauri! Can you think of a better obscure-but-nifty adjective to describe the Padres season? Drop me a line, and the winning suggestion about the losers will get a shout-out in the Morning Report and admiration from every local word nerd.

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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