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A few months ago, mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio was not impressed by a group of self-professed moderate business types who endorsed one of his opponents. In a press release, he called it “a bunch of millionaire backers joining their hand-picked mayoral candidate in an election year ploy.”

Now, the group endorsed him. My how the rhetoric changed.

The Hotel Tax Tango

If you stay at hotels or motels, you know about the sticker shock of seeing how much your bill rises when local taxes are added. How much do visitors have to cough up when they come here? We’ve created a graphic that illustrates what exactly is added in San Diego.

As we’ve reported, there’s been lots of talk lately about taxes on visitors and the sly attempts by the tourism industry to avoid putting them up to a vote of the people. Check our video explainers with NBC San Diego here and here.

NBC also came to talk to reporter Liam Dillon about it yesterday.

Fact Check TV: Filner Misses Mark on Veterans

Fact Check TV takes a look at claims by Rep. Bob Filner, who’s running for mayor, about his work for veterans in Congress. As our San Diego Fact Check story revealed, he deserves both “Mostly True” and a “Huckster Propaganda” verdicts.

We also take a look at Councilman Carl DeMaio’s claim that he’s been working with the medical marijuana community to come up with a resolution to the battle over shops that sell medi-pot. For more, check our roundup of details.

Meanwhile, the latest edition of VOSD Radio talks up our upcoming Politifest event and takes a look at the Charger stadium search.  

Prop. Z Gets Politifest Spot!

The bond measure that would raise property taxes for those owners within the San Diego Unified School District earned a spot on the Politifest program.

Lani Lutar, the CEO of the Taxpayers Association, and Scott Barnett, a member of the school board, will debate Proposition Z at Politifest.

To review, there will be a discussion with congressional candidate Scott Peters, a mayoral debate, a school board debate, the Proposition Z debate and the Idea Tournament.

And that’s just on stage. There’s kids attractions, a beer garden and dozens of community groups hocking their ideas. It’s this Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. in Liberty Station. Look for the big flag.

NBC had a pre-debate on the bond measure this weekend. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

Bridgepoint Makes Big Cuts

Bridgepoint, the controversial higher-education company based here, is laying off 450 employees. Most are in San Diego, reports NBC San Diego.

The move, by a company facing a variety of woes, isn’t surprising. For background, check our roundup story from July and listen to our Liam Dillon talk about Bridgepoint’s troubles on KPBS.

SeaWorld Fights for Risky Killer Whale Shows

Despite multiple deaths in recent years, including a high-profile one of a trainer in Orlando, SeaWorld still wants to start allowing its trainers to interact with potentially dangerous killer whales in the water during shows, Reuters reports. It’s appealing a ruling by federal regulators.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed the author of a new book called “Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity.” It chronicles how the animals killed the trainer and two trespassers and, over decades, threatened the lives of others. The SeaWorld in San Diego is a major part of the story. For more, check our Reader’s Guide to the SeaWorld/killer whale conundrum.

The most amazing part of the story is how SeaWorld has made elaborate preparations for any crisis in the water. There’s a park-wide emergency alert system and a series of tasks that employees are to perform to protect any trainer in danger. The next step: false bottoms in the pools that will push both killer whale and the in-danger trainer up above the water.

Quick News Hits

• Roger Hedgecock, the former mayor turned conservative radio star, did not have a great experience on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.” HBO has not put up a recording of the appearance yet but Hedgecock complains in a piece posted on U-T San Diego that he was “lured” to the show by the promise of a “balanced panel.”

• A new report “contends the damaged steam generators at San Onofre are in much worse shape than publicly acknowledged,” KPBS reports. Earlier this year, we explained the big challenges that the nuke plant is facing.   

• Want to see the tax returns of former Councilman Scott Peters, who’s running as a Democrat for Congress in a tight race against Rep. Brian Bilbray? Sorry, you can’t. But he has released some financial details. (KPBS)

• San Diego Police Chief Bill Landsdowne came here from San Jose, where he also served as police chief. As the San Jose Mercury News reports, he’s a prime example of “double-dipping“: getting both a salary here and a hefty pension from there. In fact, he “now receives more than $400,000 in public money” a year.

• How long does it take for donors to get a park built in downtown San Diego? Try 35 years. “Welcome to San Diego, where the planning, politicking and squabbling over civic projects is often measured in decades, not years,” the LA Times writes in its story about the long-delayed 3.3-acre Ruocco Park on the waterfront.

• Dr. Mark Glassy has a few day jobs: He’s CEO of a biotech company and professor at both UCSD and something called the Integrated Medical Science Association Foundation. But that’s not all: he makes miniatures of monsters from the history of moviedom.

His website features tiny dioramas of scenes from films like “Bride of Frankenstein” and much more.

All well and good. But instead of making a diorama of “I Was a Teenage Werewolf,” shouldn’t he be developing an antidote for werewolf transformation? Priorities, people!

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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