We don’t have a crystal ball. We’re pretty sure nobody does. But over the years, plenty of people have laid claim to insider knowledge on the future of San Diego. As you can imagine, the accuracy of those claims has varied widely.

Strangely, predictions always seem to vanish the moment they slide into absurdity, so we decided to dust off a few of these artifacts for our new series called “Reality Check”. We decided it worked better than Fact Checking those old claims. Imagine for a moment that Fact Check answered the door one night and brought a long-lost cousin in from the rain.

We went straight to the top for the Reality Check debut, taking on statements made by Mayor Jerry Sanders in 2010 during a Q&A with U-T San Diego. In the interview, Sanders claimed draconian cutbacks to public safety would be imminent without the added tax revenue created by Proposition D. The sales tax increase failed, the inevitable service cuts never happened, and the city passed a balanced budget last year and again this year without any significant service reductions.

In this Reality Check, reporter Liam Dillon pulls up the hood and reveals why San Diegans are not roaming barefoot and terrified through the smoking embers of a once great land.

We think this series might shed some light on the future by spotlighting the misinformation of the past. But please, don’t call that a prediction.

The County’s Leading Accidental Killer

When county Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said prescription drugs are the county’s leading cause of accidental deaths in a recent letter to the U-T San Diego, we decided to put the statement through our Fact Check. They also claimed that prescription drug deaths have outnumbered fatal car accident victims for two years in a row.

Turns out that indeed a growing number of county residents have fallen victim to this escalating national public health issue. In 2010, deaths related to prescription drugs became the leading cause of accidental death in San Diego — and the problem appears to be gaining momentum.

Our data-wiz, Keegan Kyle, crunched the numbers from the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office and looked into some of the programs being used to combat the issue.

Day 3: The Idea Tournament Is in Full Swing

Unless your roof is a rock, the Politifest 2012 Idea Tournament has been on your radar all week. In the past 24 hours, VOSD has posted 10 more proposals ranging from practical to whimsical. In the latest update, you can find proposals for an intentional monthly blackout, very, very local food, freeway pollution solutions, a clubhouse for local leaders, an interactive map of civic construction projects, parking for scooters and bikes, a promenade on Fifth Avenue, an ocean pipeline to the Salton Sea, San Diego as outdoor sports capital of the United States, and a populist restructuring of the entire economy. Obviously, no idea is too big.

Six finalists will pitch their ideas at Politifest on September 29th and our very own Scott Lewis will be writing about the winner’s plans. Submission deadlines have passed, but VOSD members will soon be voting for the best proposals. Finalists will be announced Sept. 19.

Quick News Hits

• The San Diego County Taxpayers Association said it will not support the San Diego Unified School District’s Proposition Z bond proposal, reports the U-T. The proposal will appear on November’s ballots and could raise $2.8 billion for schools.

The taxpayers group cited San Diego Unified’s previous use of capital appreciation bonds, a type of exotic financing, as part of the reason for its opposition. The school district has said those wouldn’t be used this time around. VOSD reported on the Proposition Z bond proposal last month in the wake of the Poway Unified controversy.

• Bloomberg has more about California Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s support of a bill that would limit capital appreciation bonds across the state. In Poway, those bonds will turn $105 million in borrowing into more than $1 billion before it’s all repaid. More than 50 school districts issued the bonds last year; some $19.7 billion have been issued since 2000, according to Bloomberg.

• The state agency overseeing California’s addiction rehabilitation centers is at least partly responsible for problems with them, the U-T writes. A recent state senate report zeroed in on problems at the Bay Recovery Center in Bay Park, a facility that stayed open despite serious issues its director faced.

Colin Weatherby is a freelance writer. You can reach him at colin.weatherby@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter at @CCWeatherby.

Colin Weatherby

Colin Weatherby is a freelance writer. You can reach him at colin.weatherby@gmail.com and follow him on...

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