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Now here’s a potentially game-changing claim in the mayor’s race: “Carl DeMaio voted not once but twice against death benefits for families of slain police officers,” claims a TV ad from Rep. Bob Filner.

DeMaio says the ad is false — and Filner knows it. But San Diego Fact Check finds that the claim is “mostly true.”

“The plain reading of the claim — that DeMaio voted twice against survivor benefits — is undeniably correct,” writes our Liam Dillon. “But DeMaio makes a reasonable case that there’s more to the story than the plain reading.”

• Hungry for more mayor’s race coverage? We’ve compiled a list of the most interesting and revealing quotes from the campaign.

‘Sob Stories’ in Campaign Ads Focus on Women

Sara Libby, our new managing editor, writes that she’s had trouble making a connection with local candidates because she believes the stadium and pension issues have monopolized campaigns.

But things have changed. Candidates for Congress and mayor of San Diego are airing ads that “ditch the pension and budget talk in favor of young women telling deeply personal stories meant to stir your passions.”

In a commentary, Libby takes a look at three of the ads, from Rep. Brian Bilbray, Councilman Carl DeMaio and Rep. Bob Filner. 

The Bilbray ad features the congressman’s daughter, who has terminal skin cancer and has become an advocate for medical marijuana. The U-T profiled her in July; she said: “The odds are against me but I am not trying to dwell on it. There’s nothing I can really do about it so the best thing to do is just take one step at a time, one day at a time.”

Filner’s ad, the one we discuss above, brings the widows of cops into the campaign, while DeMaio’s ad features a woman who had a run-in with Filner. We’ve also looked at the truth behind claims about the incident.

Reader’s Guide to the Crime Ballot Measures

We’ve put together a Reader’s Guide to the crime-related propositions on the ballot: They’d eliminate the death penalty, strengthen penalties for human trafficking and revise the Three Strikes law. Bonus: We look at local angles and explore the connections between the history of execution and San Diego.  

Letters: Non-Endorsement, Balboa Park and Prop. 30

In letters, Delores Chavez-Harmes, treasurer at San Diego County of Federated Republican Women, writes about a judge candidate’s incorrect report of an endorsement: “a stolen endorsement can neither be earned nor lost.”

Tom Leech, author of “Outdoors San Diego: Hiking, Biking & Camping,” suggests options for the Starlight Theatre space in Balboa Park. And San Diego State professor Mario Garrett says Prop. 30’s money for schools isn’t the answer to education troubles.

Meet the Culture Report

We’ve changed the name of the weekly Arts Report to Culture Report. And no, not just to give me more chances to make puns about yogurt.

Our Kelly Bennett has details in the latest edition plus links to plenty of stories, including some about hallucinogenic art,the most popular show in the Old Globe’s history (thanks Lt. Sulu!) and a collection of writing, music and artwork about East County.

SD’s No Stranger to Hospital Generator Mishaps

You may have read about how a New York City hospital had to be evacuated this week during the storm when back-up generators failed.

Last year, the local media largely missed a major story during the Big Blackout of 2011: Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista lost all power when its single back-up generator failed (some patients were evacuated), and the generators at Sharp Memorial Hospital in Serra Mesa either sputtered or failed entirely.

What would happen to critically ill patients who couldn’t be easily evacuated during a power crisis that closes or clogs roads?

U-T’s Not Falling Apart on Circulation Front

• The U-T’s circulation is down from a year ago, according to a twice-yearly report about American newspapers that just came out, KPBS reports.

The circulation of the North County Times also slumped over the six months ending Sept. 30 (before it became defunct thanks to its purchase by the U-T).

Coronado’s Flag Flap

There’s a fuss over whether a big American flag should fly at a park in Coronado or get the bum’s rush in order to preserve views and property values, reports.  

Creepy, Kooky, Spooky, Ooky in San Diego

Is San Diego full of g-g-g-ghosts?  M-m-m-maybe! Let’s take a look:

• The Hotel Del Coronado is thought to be haunted by the “Beautiful Stranger,” a young woman who was found shot in the head on its steps in 1892. As I wrote in a history flashback: “She might have been a grifter known for conning men with her husband in railway cars. Maybe she was pregnant and fell into despair after giving herself an abortion. Perhaps she did herself in; she’d bought a handgun across the bay just the other day.”

• Perhaps she haunts San Diego’s Mount Hope Cemetery, where a local attorney/author bought a memorial plaque and small statue to honor her.

If any place in town has restless spirits, it may be the city-owned Mount Hope Cemetery, where hundreds of poor people spend eternity under a big empty field (free of maintained grass, trails and all but a single memorial plaque remembering one man) and others are anonymously buried three deep near a bizarre statue of “Our Lady of Shoes.”

• Mount Hope is even home to a graveyard for tombstones. They came from a cemetery-turned-park in Mission Hills. If you drop by the park to visit the playground or just walk under the trees, consider this: Lots of bodies lie beneath, as we wrote in an urban legend Fact Check.

Would you want to be buried under dog walkers and screaming kids while your headstone molders in the ground across town? If they’re ever going to tell, today’s the day.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

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

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