The old-timers at the North County Times know a thing or two about newspaper mergers. Back in the mid-1990s, the owners of the daily paper in Oceanside snapped up the daily paper in Escondido and combined them to become the NCT. Former fierce competitors had to learn to get along, and tensions remained.

Now, there’s talk of another buyout, and North County journalists are biting their fingernails once again over the prospect of new overseers. Yesterday came a news report from the San Diego Business Journal saying that U-T San Diego (formerly the Union-Tribune) had snapped up the NCT.

The U-T brass denied the gist of the news story, which was very specific but lacked sources; the Business Journal’s editor told us he stands behind it.

Our Rob Davis offers perspective about the rumored deal and the interests of Doug Manchester, the U-T publisher who’s got his eye on more than just control of media. Lots of other economic interests are at work.

As Davis notes, Manchester may have his eye on the NCT printing press at its headquarters in central Escondido. Conceivably, he could buy the NCT, switch publishing operations to its printing press (which is about 20 years old) and make way for other development at the U-T’s current headquarters in Mission Valley.

Journalists have been horrified by the Manchester regime at the U-T. NCT reporter Brandon Lowrey tweeted this: “Now sure seems like a good time to say how happy I am to work for a newspaper whose management doesn’t embarrass me.”

Disclosure: I used to work for the NCT, and remain a freelance contributor to the newspaper’s entertainment section.

Poway Schools Hires Investigator for Vindication

The Poway Unified School District’s superintendent announced last night that the district had hired a former FBI official to answer a series of questions about whether the district had acted appropriately when it borrowed $105 million and agreed to pay back nearly $1 billion on it.

The deal continues to provoke national media analysis.

Felix Salmon, a finance columnist at Reuters, roasted the Poway school district. But he actually offers some hope to the residents of the district who are affected: “a decent banker should be able to get them out of this dreadful obligation at relatively little expense. Especially compared to the cost of staying in it.”

DeMaio Reveals Wealth

How wealthy is Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio? Monday he released five years worth of tax returns that tell us a bit: he made $2.5 million when he sold two companies in 2007.

DeMaio has pumped more than $1 million of his personal wealth into his political campaigns. We recently explained how DeMaio made his money.

DeMaio demanded that his rival, Rep. Bob Filner, release his tax returns. But Filner says he won’t until DeMaio releases his business returns and the returns of his companion. It’s not clear why DeMaio would control his partner’s tax returns.

VOSD on the Air and More

VOSD Radio recaps at our recent chat with a councilman, previews our upcoming events, explores the future for city schools and awards the Hero and Goat of the Week awards. Not bad for about 20 minutes.  

• Our Liam Dillon went on KPBS to talk about how Filner annoys DeMaio. Dillon unleashes a a bold statement in this post: “in general Filner seems not to care if his details are right.”

• What’s the county’s biggest accidental killer? Surprise: It’s not car accidents. The answer comes in a Fact Check that was the most popular story on our site over the past week. Our Top 10 list also includes stories about a mayoral candidate’s congressional work, the prospect of a Micky D’s in Balboa Park (don’t worry, the ultimate results was ixnay on the Igbay Acmay) and the “5 Things the Candidates Aren’t Telling You About Football.”

• Budget cutbacks will eliminate stenographers — court reporters — in some of the county’s civil courtrooms and possibly in family courtrooms too, the NCT reports.

• The LA Daily News reports this: “The cost of building a new hall for the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown was ‘substantially understated’ last year, according to a report from the city’s top financial analyst released Monday afternoon.”

• Our CEO Scott Lewis talks to the Columbia Journalism Review about VOSD’s expanded focus on members and its bid to sign up 1,500 of them by the end of the year: “Lewis believes that as long as the Voice is always clear about who is paying for what, the new scheme gives both it and its readers a better deal by bringing them closer together. ‘How do you raise money while raising hell?’ he says. ‘By being as transparent as you can be.’”

When San Diego Dinged the Dems

Each Tuesday until Election Day, I’ll offer a bit of San Diego election history. First up: the year San Diego voters gave the Democratic presidential candidate just 6.35 percent of their vote; only three counties in the state supported him less.

No, this wasn’t way back in a year of great Republican dominance here. It was 1924, when almost all our voters went for either the Republican winner, Calvin Coolidge, or — to a much greater extent than the rest of the nation — a liberal Progressive named La Follette. The West, especially farmers, adored him. And San Diego, supposedly a GOP stronghold, was no exception.

Why was the Democrat such a loser that year? Check my new story for The Christian Science Monitor about 1924’s Democratic National Convention, when absolutely everything went utterly wrong, and even the band ended up insulting people.

• Next week, I’ll take a look back at visits by major presidential candidates to San Diego during the height of the campaign between Labor Day and Election Day.

Ronald Reagan liked to stop here during his campaigns for the White House, and I recall watching Michael Dukakis make a visit to Horton Plaza in 1988. He didn’t connect with voters at the rally or, for that matter, in the election.

Do you remember a visit by a major presidential candidate during the home stretch? If so, whom did you see? Did he shake your hand, kiss a baby or stretch the truth? Let me know.

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:

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.