You might assume that the cops wouldn’t like to talk about crime rates going up. But the San Diego Police Department has been doing just that recently with an eye toward getting more funding to push the numbers down. The latest topic: gang-related murders.

“There’s a 130 percent increase in the number of gang homicides in the city of San Diego just in the first six months of this year,” declared Police Chief Bill Lansdowne said during an interview with KPBS.

San Diego Fact Check finds that the chief’s statement deserves a “Mostly True” verdict. “His statistic was accurate, but there is a key nuance to consider about how it was calculated,” our reporter Keegan Kyle reports. “The percentage represented the difference between two relatively low numbers.”

In other public safety news, Fact Check TV recaps our investigation into the police union’s claim that violent crime had risen for six months in our city.  

VOSD Radio: All about Half-Baked Ideas

VOSD Radio invites guest Jed Sundwall, CEO of a company called Measured Voice, to talk about “half-baked” ideas and figure out if there’s some way to get them to rise like a souffle. (Side note: Is there anywhere to get a good souffle in this town? Email me. A random mention in the Morning Report is as good of a reason for a new culinary journey as any other, methinks.)

Among the ideas: a San Diego public market (maybe Seattle-style?) more one-way streets (gah! I can barely handle the ones we have), koalas in Pacific Beach and something called the Goodnight Helmet.

Meeting of the Minds: Changing How We Perceive

We’re continuing to post videos of the presentations at our recent Meeting of the Minds event. The latest features landscape architect Martin Poirier, who talked up public art at the new federal courthouse in downtown. (Poirier is teaming up with local artist Robert Irwin on the project.)

Poirer highlighted several other projects too, and our post offers links to information about them.

Poway Bond Story Rules the Roost

Not surprisingly, our story about a $105 million Poway school bond that will cost $1 billion was the most popular on our site over the past week. The second-most popular story examined other school districts with similar bond deals, and No. 3 uncovered where poor people live in San Diego. Check out our whole list of the 10 most popular stories.

By the way, a letter on’s Poway site by Clariece Tally says that if our reporter on the bond story, Will Carless, “had detonated a nuclear device at the Poway Unified School District offices, he would not have created more collateral damage… Without Carless exposing the details of the 2011 bond financing by the Board of Education, Poway voters and property owners may never have known how deeply they had been deceived — well, not for at least another 20 years.” (As we noted, a retired reporter and blogger named Joel Thurtell deserves credit for his earlier work on this story.)

Balboa Park Vandals Impact Mayor’s Race

The media’s attention shifted yesterday from the mess at Balboa Park’s Lily Pond — said to have been trashed by a late-night water gun fight — to a newly ignited snit between the two mayoral candidates over an unsubstantiated allegation.

Rep. Bob Filner started the fracas (NBC 7 San Diego) with a press release calling on the cops to investigate Johnathan Hale, publisher of local gay publication and the partner of Councilman Carl DeMaio, because the publication ran an item promoting the water gun fight, NBC San Diego reports.

Filner also accuses Hale “criminal” actions for “reportedly organizing” the event”: “I think voters should be concerned about someone like this playing a significant role in the next mayoral administration.”

There’s no indication that Hale knew the event would go awry or had any reason to think of the announcement as anything other than routine. The U-T puts it this way: “Hale’s connection to the event appears tenuous at best. One of his former employees, Ken St. Pierre, was one of the organizers; a columnist at the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News website, which Hale publishes, previewed the event.”

The U-T adds that other publications, including the Reader, publicized the event.

It’s also not clear what “significant role” Filner thinks Hale will take in a DeMaio administration other than simply being DeMaio’s partner.

DeMaio held a press conference to fight back, saying: “Today Bob Filner sunk to a new low in politics. Bob Filner, without any shred of evidence and in the face of clear evidence in the contrary, attacked an innocent man and labeled him a criminal.”

It appears that the mess at the Lily Pond, which left it partly empty, didn’t actually kill any fish, KPBS wrote.

The finger-pointing kept going all day. DeMaio reportedly blamed labor for the accusations. The U-T’s Matt Hall blamed police for not picking up on indications that this would be a problematic gathering. This prompted the mayor’s special projects manager, Gerry Braun to chide him: “Don’t raise your kids to think they can commit crimes, then blame the cops for not being there to stop them.”

Quick News Hits

• The rural community of Valley Center could become a lot more citified thanks to a proposed project to bring 1,700 homes to its west side, the NC Times reports. The Lilac Hills Ranch project has been revised since community advisers scorched a proposal back in 2009, accusing it of destroying Valley Center’s character.  

• Researchers at UCSD and elsewhere are studying “twinned rainbows.” They’re not the double type that became so famous on YouTube but another variety that form a kind of V, KPBS reports. It appears that “twin rainbows are caused by different sizes of water drops falling from the sky at the same time,” the station says, but the researchers need to try to actually create some rainbow magic in real life to see if they’re right.

I know some people who believe they create rainbows with every step they take. Maybe they could help advance science by helping out?

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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