“Carl is the only candidate who stands up to Government Unions and the downtown insiders who are squandering our taxpayer dollars,” reads Carl DeMaio’s official candidate statement. It’s a sentiment that DeMaio has often repeated during his campaign to be Mayor: blame labor unions and downtown insiders for the city’s woes.

But Liam Dillon writes that DeMaio’s tune may be changing, now that he acheived victory in June’s primary election. “Six days after the primary, DeMaio held what he called a ‘Unity Breakfast’ for those who didn’t back him previously. At the breakfast, he announced that Kris Michell would be helping with his campaign. If you looked up ‘downtown insider’ in the dictionary, you’d find Michell’s picture,” writes Dillon.

When pressed, DeMaio dismissed the notion that his approach has changed. “My goal has always been to build a coalition with a lot of different voices and perspectives not only to win an election, but I need those relationships to govern,” DeMaio said.

He said his views aren’t conforming to theirs, but they might be coming toward his.

Understanding Balboa Park

The effort to overhaul the way car traffic flows through Balboa Park is coming to a head on July 9, when the City Council will vote on whether to approve the plan proposed by Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs.

The plan is complex, so Kelly Bennett put together a handy readers guide to help break down the saga. It’s a step-by-step way to catch up on the issue.  

Donna Frye, First of Many Voices

On Wednesday we held the first of many planned events in our One Voice at a Time conversation series, and it was Donna Frye who took the hot seat to field questions from our Scott Lewis and the audience packed into Bird’s Surf Shed. When pressed on whether she would support the Jacobs plan for Balboa Park, Frye demurred but said that the city’s official numbers for parking revenues “suspicious.”

The money from paid parking at a new garage in Balboa Park under the plan will be needed to pay off a loan the city will take out to finance its construction. The city addressed this concern in its “Myth vs Fact” section on the project.

Our Mary Walter-Brown has a full wrap up of the event, and you can see pictures from the event at our Facebook page.

Fact Check: Five Days to Fill Potholes?

When asked about the city’s response to pothole complaints, City Councilman Kevin Faulconer replied, “We’ll send a crew out in about four to five days and get it fixed.” Simple, right?

But much like how the lives of dogs must be measured in dog-years, potholes have their own special measurement of time. Keegan Kyle checked into the claim of speedy pothole repairs and found that Faulconer was far from correct.

How far?

“Crews have typically taken weeks to first assess pothole complaints over the past four years,” writes Kyle. “Last year, the average was 52 days.” On Wednesday, Kyle reported extensively on the amount of time it takes the city to respond to pothole complaints.

So there’s your multiplier. If anyone from the city tells you how long it will take to respond to a pothole, multiply that number by roughly 10, and you might be close. Or, you know, just fix the pothole yourself.

Teachers Vote and Cyclists Revolt

Joe Wainio, teacher and member of the San Diego Education Association, wrote to us urging SDEA members to vote to approve the tentative agreement that was recently struck with the San Diego Unified School District. “By voting to approve this tentative agreement,” Wainio writes, “SDEA members can set a solid foundation for a community-wide campaign to approve the governor’s November tax increase initiative.” The letter has sparked intense discussion in the comments, including some who don’t approve of the agreement.

On Monday, my Morning Report colleague Randy Dotinga touched off a tempest with comments he made about cyclists in San Diego. Cyclists and bike activists rose up on Twitter and in our comments in defense. Yesterday we published another letter from Sam Ollinger, who operates the website BikeSD.org, again taking issue with Dotinga’s comments. She recognizes that biking is far safer than driving. “But,” she writes, “the real issue is not whether cycling is safe (it is) but whether riders feel safe riding on our streets. They don’t.” Make sure you also make it into the comments of the letter, where Dotinga clarifies some of his earlier statements.

Rest assured that the cyclists have agreed to return Dotinga to the Morning Report unharmed once we have paid a hefty ransom of sports drinks and anti-chafing cream.

No More Free News at UTSanDiego.com

Readers of U-T San Diego’s website probably got a little shock with their coffee yesterday morning. “U-T San Diego will begin charging nonsubscribers for full access to its online news content beginning today,” reported the U-T.

Non-subscribers will still be able to view 15 news articles per month for free. After a discounted introductory month, unlimited digital access will cost you $3.49 per week. And unlike The New York Times, which has a similar subscription model, U-T San Diego’s 15-article limit cannot be sidestepped by clicking on story links through social media sites or via news aggregators. Every story counts toward the limit, every time.

Tanya Mannes, who reported the story for U-T San Diego, summed up her defense of the new model while replying to a reader’s comment.

“Maybe once people pay each week — almost as an investment in this company’s future — they’ll feel they have a stake in our success. And when they complain, they can complain not as an online freeloader but as a ‘subscriber.’ When a subscriber calls me, I pay extra attention,” Mannes wrote.

• If you’re not willing to pay, start counting your U-T San Diego clicks. Here’s one I’d suggest: on Thursday, politics writer Chris Cadelago posted this touching obituary of Jim Sills, a long-time San Diego political insider, who died on June 9.

Breaking Through Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease is an incurable illness that results from the mutation of a single gene. It affects an estimated 30,000 Americans and often results in uncontrolled movements, psychiatric problems and ultimately death.

But research underway at UC San Diego has shown promising signs in developing the first treatment for Huntington’s disease, reports NBC 7 San Diego.

Our Kelly Bennett spent a day at a clinic where people can be tested for the disease in 2009. She talked with clinicians and with people who were being tested for the disease, often because a family member already has been diagnosed with it. “The disease runs in families and its odds are simple and awful — if your parent has the disease, there’s a 50 percent chance you will too,” Bennett wrote.

News Nibbles

• U-T San Diego notes that of 760 tickets issued in San Diego for urinating or defecating in public, 259 of them were issued in Pacific Beach. Nearly all of those were issued between Grand and Garnet avenues west of Ingraham Street, where the density of bars is highest.

• Should elementary school students be rewarded for getting good grades? Should that reward be cold, hard cash? NBC San Diego reports that the principal of Baker Elementary School may have been doing just that, and some teachers aren’t pleased with it.

• The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt a plan for addressing climate change in the county. It received support even from the most conservative members of the board, like Supervisor Bill Horn. He said he only voted for it because the state has passed regulation requiring the changes. “I’m not one of those big believers in global warming,” he said. “The climate is changing, but I don’t think man has anything to do with it.” (10 News)

If you see low-flying helicopters buzzing around the deserts of central San Diego County with armed snipers hanging out of them, don’t fret. They’re just shooting wild pigs. Aerial hunting is being considered to combat the a growing population of wild pigs that aren’t native to the area and may be harming the environment, reports U-T San Diego.

Rescued Puppies Recovered

On May 31 firefighters in Fallbrook responding to a brush fire found five dogs tied to a tree being attacked by a swarm of bees that had a hive in the same tree. Three of the dogs died, but two of the dogs, both Jack Russell Terrier mixes, were able to be rescued and nursed back to health after spending weeks in critical care. They will soon be ready for adoption, writes North County Times. The two dogs are pictured in the story.

Interested adopters will need to fill out an application and pay a fee of $69 per dog. They will also need the endless patience that only owners of young Jack Russell Terriers can describe.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him out on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall is co-founder of the community group San Diego Privacy, which is a member of the TRUST SD Coalition.

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