Nathan Fletcher flipped. Will that keep him from being a flop? That’s one of the big questions in next week’s San Diego mayoral primary, when we’ll see if the once-obscure assemblyman’s fling with the spotlight will pay off at the ballot box.

Fletcher famously dumped the GOP just weeks before the election and is now an independent. The rash of negative attention flowing his way from both sides is the best sign that his rivals think he’s a threat.

You can catch up by poring over our Reader’s Guide to Nathan Fletcher, which explores what we’ve learned about the candidate during the year-long campaign with video, the candidate’s top issues, his background and his weak spots.

We also point out how Fletcher can win: By not losing. He’ll be in great shape if he only comes in second place and gets a ticket to a run-off in November. 

We’re publishing guides to all the mayoral candidates this week. See Carl DeMaio’s from yesterday and watch for Bob Filner and Bonnie Dumanis soon.

More Mayor-o-Rama

There’s less than a week until the election, and we’re on top of the marquee race in the city:

• Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, is a fan of Fletcher. He said so in a statement released yesterday.

Does that mean Brown is endorsing Fletcher? The statement walks, talks and quacks like an endorsement. Why else would you go out of your way to say something nice about a candidate a week before an election?

Nope, an adviser says: Brown is just commenting on the one candidate he knows well in response in reporter inquiries.

• No money, no Chargers? All the major mayoral candidates have now said they won’t support spending public money on a new football stadium.

• We take a look at perhaps District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ top theme in the race — her experience in running a major government operation. It’s not the sexiest sell, but management will play an especially major role in the implementation of big projects awaiting the next mayor.

• We’ve asked the major mayoral candidates to weigh in on purifying sewage to turn it into drinking water. A new city report says San Diego could eventually reuse enough sewage to produce 20 percent of its water supply.

It’s still early, however. The city must first prove that it can properly recycle sewage into water that’s drinkable.

All the candidates but Rep. Bob Filner, who didn’t respond, said they are open to recycling sewage.

• Tupelo honey alert: Fletcher has gotten donations from all over the place, the Reader reports.

He’s received money from the mayor of Tupelo, Miss.; an employee for Oprah Winfrey’s television network Harpo Industries; a managing director with the Mitt Romney-co-founded Bain Capital; a student from Sioux Falls, S.D.; a professor of economics at M.I.T.; and fashion designer Diane Von Furstenburg and her daughter.

Should we expect Fletcher to start rocking a white tuxedo? High fashion!

Class Sizes and Big Decisions

• “If San Diego Unified goes through with the 1,600 layoffs of teachers, we’re going to have class sizes approaching 50,” said Filner during a recent debate.

That sounds terrible. But is it true? Barely, says San Diego Fact Check.

While some classes like gym, band and choir could reach the 50 mark, the average class size should be far from it: “Filner’s description might be true, but it likely represents an inflated portrayal of how layoffs could affect class sizes across the district.” 

• The latest VOSD Radio features a conversation with school board member Richard Barrera about the major happenings in education last week (teacher layoffs, labor intrigue), the dire state of district finances and the prospects for reform.

Après This Week, Le Deluge

We continue to follow the progress of 250 local kids (!) as they prepare for a San Diego Children’s Choir production of an opera about Noah and the ark. 

In short: it can be chaotic. Adults struggle with an overheated heat room, kids try to figure out how to sing and make crafts at the same time, and a moveable ark comes to life in a parking lot.

When the whole thing finally comes together next weekend, not just the performers will be singing. The audience will join in on three songs. “When you walk away you feel alive,” says the choir’s CEO.

Carl DeMaio Endorsement of the Week

From Jim Jones, likely the most frequent of our commenters: “Carl is the least likeable of the candidates, and the one with the most enemies…” But, Jones thinks, DeMaio’s the best of the bunch.  

VOSD’s Hit Parade

• The news about massive layoff warnings at San Diego schools tops our list of most-read stories from the past week.  

U-T TV Goes Live

U-T TV, the newspaper’s much-ballyhooed video venture, debuted online yesterday.

Among other things, U-T TV’s morning show featured a revealing photo of co-host Amber Mesker’s weekend activities. In one segment, co-host and ex-NFLer Billy Ray Smith asked U-T City Hall reporter Craig Gustafson about his pick for mayor. Gustafson declined to answer before co-host Scott Kaplan jumped in:

“Well that and the paper has already endorsed a candidate and if you didn’t vote for that candidate, it could be Trouble City,” Kaplan said. “You know what I’m saying?”

KPBS has more about the kerfuffle.

Another lowlight: a cringe-inducing discussion of a news story about an alleged child rapist. Kaplan not-so-classily expressed shock over the suspect’s last name (Nutt).

U-T TV plans to debut on a local cable channel sometime soon. Huh. Time to break out the ol’ rabbit ears.

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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