Back in 2006, opponents of a ballot measure that would allow city outsourcing warned that “contracts will go to the largest campaign contributors and their lobbyists.” It’s been six years since the measure passed. So did that happen?

No, San Diego Fact Check finds. The prediction turned out to be false.

“Among the bids completed so far, the city has saved money, but opponents’ warnings about campaign contributors haven’t come true,” our Keegan Kyle reports. “Opponents predicted the bids would be awarded to contractors with deep campaign pockets, but all four bids have gone to city employees.”

This is one in our continuing series of Fact Checks examining predictions and warnings from the past.

City Says U-T Didn’t Follow Rules

You’ve got to hand it to U-T publisher Doug Manchester: he’s setting a new standard for newspaper publisher eccentricity in our town. He’s added a restaurant and TV studio to the U-T’s headquarters in Mission Valley, and recently debuted a private “U-T Auto Museum” too.

There was a problem, though. When I put on my reporter hat and asked the city if the U-T had the correct permits for its car museum, the city’s response was along the lines of “What car museum?” An inspector dropped by the headquarters for a look-see but was told to scram.

The U-T was more welcoming to an inspector after our story was published. Now, the city says the paper needs two retroactive permits, one for a ramp to bring cars into the building and another for a garage door. There won’t be a fine if the U-T follows proper protocol, but it will have to pay extra for staff time.

If you missed it, make sure to read our in-depth profile of Manchester from earlier this year.

Letters: Kids and Equity, Choosing Candidates, School Reform

After listening to our radio show’s discussion of the weird and potentially ultra-costly borrowing in the Poway school district, local teacher Bill Reynolds writes in a letter about the importance of teaching children about the hazards of leaving future generations with the bill for today’s spending: “When I teach about George Washington’s presidency and his farewell address, we look at where he argued that it was wrong to put the costs of today onto the next generation, then as a class we look online at the National Debt Clock… For the rest of the school year, we make periodic checks on the debt and this is something that really sticks with these kids.”

Also in letters, Robert DeKoven, a professor at California Western School of Law, calls on voters to only support candidates who are on the right side of a pair of gay rights issues. In a section about the Boy Scouts, he also notes that county supervisor candidate Dave Roberts, who’s gay, has sons in the Boy Scouts but cannot serve as a leader.

In another letter, San Diego school board candidate William Ponder criticizes the “poor leadership and fiscal mismanagement that still is the norm at the district.”

Quick News Hits

• In an apparent first for major league baseball, a Mexican billionaire is now part owner of the Padres.

• There’s a big legal dispute over a local science festival, pitting UCSD against festival founder Larry Bock, best known for founding something else — the Illumina biotech company. “Bock’s is the story of what happens when an entrepreneur who thinks big and detests rules meets a large and established bureaucracy,” KPBS reports.

• Local advocates for the poor have long decried the county’s inability to provide food stamps to all who need them. We chronicled the problems and much more in our “Out of Reach” investigative series.

Now, San Diego CityBeat talks to experts about the challenges of getting accurate figures about the outreach of the food stamp program.     

• CityBeat profiles K.B. Forbes, the newly hired spokesman for mayoral candidate Councilman Carl DeMaio, describing him as “the 45-year-old son of a headstrong Irish union-organizer-turned-corporate-executive father and ‘devout Catholic’ social-worker Chilean mother.”

Forbes got noticed almost immediately at a debate when he created “a mini media frenzy when what Forbes called a simple ‘attention-getting’ touch of the Congress member’s elbow elicited a testy hands-off rebuff.”

For more details about that Koigate-related incident — in which Forbes got creative and referred to rival Rep. Bob Filner as “a lying sack of marbles,” whatever that means — check our coverage.

• As you watch Mitt Romney give the biggest speech of his life tonight, cast a thought back to how we almost hosted the GOP National Convention in 1972. In a history flashback from 2010, I interviewed a book author about how a pre-Watergate scandal forced Richard Nixon to move the convention to Miami. Today, the scandal is mostly forgotten, but it played a role in Nixon’s downfall and produced an actual assassination plot.

• I’ve long been a big fan of Matthew Alice, the Reader’s “Straight from the Hip” columnist. In the style of alternative newspaper mainstay Cecil Adams, the know-it-all Alice offers wry and expertly researched answers to questions about the quirkiness of life in San Diego and beyond. (Why are raisins cheaper than grapes? What’s with purring? Why are marbles embedded in the OB Pier?)

Now the (mysteriously purring) cat is out of the bag (of marbles). In this week’s column, Matthew Alice discloses her real identity: Linda Nevin.

Turns out, she writes, that the real Matthew Alice has returned to take his seat: “So, that’s it, kids. … It was fun while it lasted.”

It sure was.

• The mayor is a fan of zinging the local media. Even we got verbally smacked around a few months ago, courtesy of hizzoner. Never mind what he said. Suffice it to say: Ouch! It burns! It burns!

Now, the mayor has issued a proclamation in honor of CityBeat’s 10th birthday that gently singes the leftie alternative paper (home to “a bunch of bar-hopping Bolsheviks”) and drops a bomb on its rival, the Reader, which it says has descended “into a hellscape of alluring-yet-pointless cover stories, impenetrable conspiracy theories and vaguely unsettling cosmetic-surgery ads.”

Now, now, mayor. Sounds like someone needs to turn that frown upside down. A bit of vaguely unsettling cosmetic surgery will do just the trick!

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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