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A message from VOSD: Thanks to an amazing collaboration, we surpassed our goal to raise $25,000 in 25 days to fund Politifest 2012. We truly appreciate the support of everyone who opened their wallets to help make this community festival a reality.

The group effort was a shining example of how local businesses, nonprofits and thoughtful, engaged residents can come together to create an important educational opportunity for San Diegans.

Now it’s up to us and our partners to deliver. We’ve got lots of fun things planned so save Saturday, Sept. 29, on your calendar and we’ll see you there.

Last month, U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, running for mayor, led a rally at City Hall against the plan to remodel Balboa Park. Then he gave a zany speech to the City Council pleading with them not to approve the vision.

As our Liam Dillon described it then, it was an “absent-minded-professor moment mixed with hubris and humor.”

He pledged to dog his rival, Councilman Carl DeMaio, for the rest of the campaign with the decision. The cost to the city of the largely donor-sponsored construction would balloon, he claimed. And he would brand it the “Carl DeMaio Tax.”

Now, though, Filner is changing his tune. In response to questions from us he pledged to support the construction since the City Council has approved it. “In retrospect, I wish the tenor of objections raised at the hearing had been different — less personal.”

As Dillon notes, Filner’s move is the latest in a series of about faces from him on major city issues. All of them, he’s explained, fall under the framing of him acquiescing to the will of the City Council or voters even if he disagrees.

He says he’s learning that running for an executive position requires different rhetoric than running for a legislative position, as he has his entire career.

More Filner: The Truth About His Airport Tussle

Filner has been struggling under the focus of fact checks recently and it continues today in regard to his brush with the law a few years ago after an incident at an airport.

“That thing which occurred at Dulles airport was a complete fraud made up by the lady in question. She never appeared in court. The court threw it out. And that was the end of that,” the mayoral rival said on the radio the other day.

What’s he talking about? Read our explanation of what happened and why we think what he said is misleading.

Seeking a Hidden Da Vinci

We’ve finished posting videos of presentations at our recent Meeting of the Minds arts event. The latest features UCSD’s Alexandra Hubenko, the project manager behind an effort to uncover a da Vinci mural in a building in Florence, Italy. Scientists think the mural lies behind a fresco painted in the 16th century.

In the presentation, Hubenko talks about how her team is working to solve the masterpiece mystery. Make sure to check the bottom of our post for links to videos of the other presentations.

• Speaking of bringing paintings back to life, the art world is abuzz over the botched restoration of a Spanish fresco of Jesus that now “resembles a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic.” They should have called Balboa Park’s Balboa Art Conservation Center: as our 2011 profile of its chief conservator revealed, its workers specialize in the painstakingly precise revival of artworks both modern and ancient.

Those Huge School Building Loans? SD Says It Won’t Do Them

The president of the San Diego school board says he will ask his colleagues to not allow the kind of unusual loan that has become a major headache for the Poway school district. San Diego is asking voters — with Proposition Z — to approve a loan in November that will be paid off by an increase in property taxes.

Meanwhile, several community college districts in the state have borrowed money using the same questionable type of loan, California Watch reports. The reasoning sounds mighty familiar.

Your Morning Report scribe isn’t a huge fan of U-T editorial cartoonist Steve Breen. I preferred the guy he replaced, who was zingier but let go in a memorable kerfuffle. Still, Breen has won not one but two Pulitzers, so what do I know? Maybe his cartoon about upset Powegians  — yes, that’s what Poway denizens are called — will help him get a third. 

Map Week: Local Places Do a Jimmy Hoffa

In honor of the final day of Map Week at the Morning Report, here are some San Diego County place names to try on for size: Sylvana. Moosa. Falda. Glendol, Selwyn and Almond. And don’t forget my personal favorite: Nellie.

They all appear in our county in a 1912 map of California but don’t seem to exist anymore. Were they actual towns? Or just bumps in the road? If you’ve heard of any of these places, drop me a line.

An 1857 map of the state, also courtesy of, offers a few other surprises. Back then, San Diego County featured “False Bay” (what’s now Mission Bay) and “False Point” right above it. “Soledad” appeared right where La Jolla is, while “New Town” marked what is now downtown. Other local places on the map: San Pasquato and Santa Ysabel.

Also of note: back then, our county covered a huge chunk of Southern California.

For another old-time view, take a gander at this 1880s-era bird’s-eye-view map of Coronado, complete with a Hotel Del that never was and a horse-and-carriage on the beach. As you do.

Finally, a look at our evolving politics. As we noted in 2010, San Diego County was hardly a Republican stronghold back in 1860. The few voters who lived here tended to favor the South, and most refused to support Abraham Lincoln’s bid for the presidency. They turned him down again in 1864.

But our county began to like Republicans later, and we became a stronghold for them., which shows county-by county election results going back to 1960, reveals that San Diego County supported the GOP candidate in presidential races from Kennedy vs. Nixon to Bush vs. Dukakis. We even went for Goldwater in 1964 when he was creamed by LBJ.  

Quick News Hits

• Former Mayor, Governor and Senator Pete Wilson is backing Councilman Carl DeMaio for mayor. He was formerly behind Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who lost in the primary. (U-T)

For background, check our story about DeMaio’s uneasy relationship with downtown types.

 • Someone sent a turtle aloft in Oceanside by duct-taping it to balloons. The turtle is fine; authorities are investigating. (U-T)

• CityBeat, the local alternative weekly that’s not the Reader, celebrates its 10th anniversary with stories examining its impact on public affairs both big and small, including an infamous email from a prominent U-Ter to KPBS. In addition, it chronicles memorable “craw-sticker” quotes from San Diego public figures, including our current mayor’s pithy two-word command to an election rival. (We were responsible for confirming that zinger.)

CityBeat also features the return of Ms. Beak, the paper’s onetime anonymous and acid-tongued media critic. Under the headline “Just Go Away,” she checks in with a column examining “media vampires that should have been spiked long ago.” Her targets include U-T editorial writers (“arrogant hacks”), Reader cover stories (“would it really kill the editors to run a cover story that people may actually want to read”) and radio’s “Jeff & Jer” (“seriously, these guys are still employed?”)

Oddly, I didn’t make Ms. Beak’s list of 10 aggravating local media types. Um, hello? Is this thing on? I demand a recount!

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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