Sharpened elbows have been coming out in San Diego’s lone city council race recently. Council district one incumbent Sherri Lightner and challenger Ray Ellis have verbally sparred against one another and against their respective critics over the last weeks, but it can be hard to know what on Earth they are talking about if you aren’t an insider.

Our Keegan Kyle helped shed some light on why Lightner said San Diego Labor Council Political Director Evan McLaughlin “needs glasses,” and why Ellis called Lightner’s stop-and-start votes on the Convention Center expansion a “job killer.”

2015: Future Party, Old Problems

You know it’s going to be an epic party when you have to start planning several years in advance. But while much hand-wringing has already been done over plans for Balboa’s Park 2015 centennial celebration, Kelly Bennett reports that we have only begun to understand the hurdles the highly anticipated event faces.

“The project will involve ‘one heck of a heavy to-do list,’” writes Bennett.

It’s not just a question of money. Questions loom about whether the park’s electric grid can stand up to centennial celebration-levels of power demands. Many of the park’s buildings are in disrepair. And then you really get into the muck.

“It’s never sexy to talk about the foundations and the water and the sewer. But you know, after 100 years, we have to talk about it,” said Ben Clay, an organizer who is helping with the celebration’s planning.

Fact Checking Filner: Where’s Pinocchio When You Need Him?

Pension obligation bonds have “been off the table since the voters voted on Prop. B,” mayoral candidate Bob Filner told NBC San Diego.

What’s a ‘Major Repair’ for Schools?

Lani Lutar, CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, wrote in to take issue with our Tuesday Fact Check which graded one of her statements. Lutar told a crowd last week that San Diego Unified School District has spent “zero dollars” on “major repair projects,” despite being handed billions by San Diego voters when they passed Proposition S in 2008. Our Lisa Halverstadt looked into the statement and graded it “Misleading.”

Lutar laid out her disagreement in a letter and Halverstadt defended the grade. You can let us know your thoughts about this and other topics by dropping us a line.

Rising Tide

San Diego Unified School District surpassed state targets for student performance, according to a report released yesterday. KPBS reported that out of a possible 1000 points, SDUSD was scored at 808, surpassing the target of 800 for the first time as a whole district. 93 individual schools met or exceeded the 800-point score, “up 53 percent over last year,” wrote KPBS. Quite a jump. And even among districts that didn’t meet the 800-point goal, all of them saw increases between seven and 12 points.

U-T San Diego noted, however, that another report released by the federal government shows San Diego county’s schools are struggling to keep up with demands set by the No Child Left Behind act.

Lincoln Club Reverses Endorsement

The race is for a judge’s seat on the San Diego Superior Court. The candidates are attorney Jim Miller Jr. and prosecutor Robert Amador. Influential pro-business political group The Lincoln Club’s endorsement was Miller.

But they’re taking that back. Now they’ll endorse Amador. They won’t, however, take back the $2,500 donation to Miller’s campaign.

“The Lincoln Club revoked its endorsement of Miller after it discovered Miller had misled the club about being removed from the county’s list of pro-tem, or fill-in, judges,” reported KPBS.

SDG&E Fights Racism Charges

10 News reportedly obtained video of testimony from a former San Diego Gas and Electric employee alleging that the company had a racially charged atmosphere between 2004 and 2009. The employee filed a civil case against SDG&E, and the trial will start October 19. One employee has testified that a noose was left on the back of a foreman’s truck. Another employee testified that a manager told an all-black crew that they could no longer work together “because it’s a bad image for the company, an all black crew.” More employees are expected to testify as well.

SDG&E responded by saying that the case was being tried in the media and cried foul over broadcasting the deposition of employees. “Respecting and appreciating each other’s differences is part of our corporate culture and our company values,” they wrote.

News Nibbles

• Our Scott Lewis appeared at Zocalo Public Square to participate in a conversation about the future of investigative journalism. “What does the death of newspapers mean for holding powerful institutions accountable? Who’s going to carry the torch,” Zocalo asked.

• BusinessWeek reports that San Diego may be “the mecca of algae technology development” due to so many research institutions and biofuel companies in the city that are working on turning algae into fuel. “Algal biofuels research generated $80.9 million in economic activity in the region last year,” they report.

• Nearly 40 pedi-cab drivers were arrested for immigration violations on Thursday after they were determined to be working in the country illegally, reports The Sacramento Bee. They are being ordered to leave the country within a month. NBC San Diego has some dramatic photographs of the arrests.

‘King’ Crowned at Crawford High School

When students at Crawford High School went to vote for their homecoming king, the winner was already clear. The only king that students had nominated was Ivan Mendoza, an 18-year-old senior with Down syndrome, reports U-T San Diego.

Usually the school’s students nominate a few students for both homecoming king and queen. “This year there were five girls and only one boy — Ivan,” wrote U-T San Diego. “I think a lot of time the kids here get a bad reputation,” said Kelcie Butcher, a teacher at Crawford. “This shows people what they are really like. They have big hearts. They care about each other.”

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall is co-founder of the community group San Diego Privacy, which is a member of the TRUST SD Coalition.

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