Public officials never promised you a rose garden. Oh wait, they probably did. Along with just about everything else, from jobs galore to lower crime to an even finer Finest City. Plus a pony and a puppy.

But did they keep those promises? And what about warnings about how bad things might get in San Diego if we didn’t fall in line? Did things go south as predicted?

As part of a new project, our Fact Check department wants to find out whether promises were kept and warnings fulfilled. We’ll be poring over past news coverage of municipal debates and looking for claims to check out.

We need your help. What do you remember about battles of years past? Who turned out to be a false prophet and who got it exactly right? Let us know.

Fact Check TV: Filner’s Baggage

Whenever someone says “and that was the end of that,” turn on your manure detector. There may be a lot more to the story.

Case in point: Rep. Bob Filner. The other day, the mayoral candidate went on the radio and had this to say about his 2007 run-in with an airport baggage clerk in Virginia: “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.”

As our Fact Check last week revealed, the mayoral candidate’s memory is hazy: His claim about the confrontation is misleading.

If you missed our story, Fact Check TV offers a recap of our findings about the incident that made a national splash.

• Our former editor and ex-Fact Check TV co-host, Andrew Donohue, is heading to a Stanford fellowship, but he found time to drop by VOSD Radio to reminisce and tell stories.

Feds Miss Deadline on Animal Killings

We’ve been investigating the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program for months, trying to understand where and why the agency has killed 18,700 animals in San Diego County since 2005. That’s included seven mountain lions, hundreds of coyotes, as well as songbirds (hundreds of them), turkeys, an alligator (!) and even two flamingos. (Check our infographic for more.)

Our Rob Davis sought extensive records from the federal agency in May. The feds provided a few in June and promised more by yesterday. But the agency’s self-imposed deadline passed without a peep from Washington. It didn’t provide any records. Maybe they’re in the mail.

We’ll keep after it. To understand what we’re looking for and why, check out our most recent story outlining our questions about the agency’s mysterious practices.

Top of the Pops

Our Fact Check about Filner’s airport troubles tops our list of VOSD’s most popular stories from the past week, followed by a breach of open-meeting laws in Pacific Beach and a look at how a highway ended up passing through Balboa Park.

Quick News Hits

• Donations from outside San Diego made up more than 10 percent of campaign contributions to candidates for mayor as of June 30, Investigative Newsource reports.

“Together, the four mayoral candidates raised more than $500,000 from donors outside of San Diego County,” the nonprofit news outfit reports. “They brought in at least $1.2 million from people who listed ZIP codes outside the city of San Diego as their place of residence or business.”  

• Emergency medical calls from the border “have become a growing burden on the finances and resources of fire departments in cities” along the Southwest border, the New York Times reports.

The calls come in for emergencies involving not only illegal immigrants but others crossing the border or trying to.

Bob Filner, who represents the California border area in Congress, introduced a bill calling for the feds to reimburse cities for emergency care. “At a time when every city budget is affected, the federal government should not be relying on local revenue to deal with these issues,” Mr. Filner said. “Unfortunately, there is very little understanding of the border situation in Congress.”

On the other hand, cities and towns near the border gain extra sales tax revenue from their many visitors seeking to cross one way or another, and that money can help pay for emergency services.

Make sure to check out the story’s photos from Calexico, east of us in Imperial County. They’re by contributing photographer Sam Hodgson.

• Speaking of Imperial County, the swarm of quakes out there that many of us felt on Sunday (I sure did) was the strongest in 30 years, the Los Angeles Times reports. Damage was reported, some schools were closed yesterday, and critical hospital patients had to be relocated to San Diego and Riverside counties.

• Rowwwwr! San Diego Magazine has dug up a revealing tidbit from its archives — a 1982 feature profiling hot-to-trot local bachelors.

Who’s that stern-looking, sideburned and mustachioed hottie posing in white pants at the beach? Why, it’s then-Imperial Beach mayor Brian Bilbray, now a congressman. You might recognize a few other faces, including San Diego’s very own county treasurer-tax collector, looking spiffy in a blow-dried look.

Make sure to read the Playboy centerfold-style tidbits about the kind of ladies the men were looking for. Bilbray liked “independent, feminine women athletic enough to be sporting companions” (they also needed to know about history and politics), while a jeweler on the list declared that “she must be, above all, ‘a lady.’” (Classy!)

So what happened? At least four of the eight bachelors profiled ultimately put a ring on it. If you’re an independent, feminine and athletic woman, here’s some bad news: Bilbray’s still taken.

Just ask a Bilbray spokesman who responded to a question from San Diego CityBeat in 2011 about whether his boss was “hiking the Appalachian trail,” if you know what we mean: “Have you ever met Mrs. Bilbray? Oh my God, no! Congressman Bilbray might be a U.S. congressman, but, Mrs. Bilbray, she is numero uno. She makes sure Brian is doing what he’s supposed to do.”

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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