After 16 months of relentless campaigning, several heated public debates and thousands of dollars spent on vicious advertising, the race for San Diego’s top political office is entering its final days. The city will soon have a new mayor.

To wrap up this election season we compiled comprehensive Reader’s Guides for both candidates. Republican candidate Carl DeMaio is the first to go under the microscope. We dug through the archives, including everything from a detailed history of DeMaio’s pension plans to his fascinating rise from teenage orphan to millionaire consultant.

Next up: Our analysis of Democratic candidate Bob Filner will run Friday. 

Fact Check: Was Mark Powell Fired?

When a piece of bona fide propaganda shows up in the mail, a journalist can’t help but run it through the smell test. Our Will Carless had the good fortune of experiencing this exact situation when a pamphlet from the American Federation of Teachers showed up in a little stack from the U.S. Postal Service.

The mailer that San Diego Unified school board candidate Mark Powell was fired because he was an “ineffective campus leader.” The bold accusation is a stinker, and Powell had the documents to prove it.

Our full analysis explains why this claim was already the subject of extensive controversy in 1999, a piece of historical context that makes this statement more than just a basic misrepresentation of the truth.

Who Stands Where on Immigration

Immigration may be one issue on the mayoral candidates’ short list of shared positions.

Bob Filner has repeatedly tried to link DeMaio to SB 1070, a controversial Arizona law that requires police to perform background checks on those suspected of illegally residing in the United States. DeMaio told VOSD he thinks it is “not the job of San Diego police to enforce federal immigration laws.”

Two years ago, then San Diego City Councilmember DeMaio cast the only vote in support of the Arizona law. Our new reporter Lisa Halverstadt tries to tease out the truth in this latest piece.

San Diego Weighs Decommissioning Sculptures

The city’s public art manager is mulling over the decision to remove 12 sculptures along Park Boulevard in Balboa Park. The series is titled “Night Vision,” a project commissioned for the 1988 Super Bowl. The pieces are falling into severe disrepair after 23 noble years of service.

Read arts reporter Kelly Bennett’s latest piece for some insight on the unusual procedures involved in the “deaccession” of public artwork. 

Even Campaign Mud-Slinging Deserves a Greatest Hits

At the end of the election cycle it is important to remember the cunning and manipulative lies that work their way onto the campaign trail. Every four years, a couple doozies are summoned from the murky depths of the political spin machine. The campaign dirt this year included accusations of sex doll manufacturing, outlandish firearms policies and even some staged photos of garbage.

We couldn’t resist the urge to put together a little highlights reel.

Reader Commentary: ‘I Am a Congressman and I Can Do Whatever I Want’

In the latest coverage of Bob Filner as vigilante congressman, reader Mike Giorgino recounts a 2003 confrontation with Filner at the Immigration and Naturalization Service processing center in El Centro. Giorgino’s story and the official incident report read like the script of a Hollywood blockbuster, complete with eyebrow-raising quotations worthy of Stallone.

Last week, we took a look at the now-infamous “I am a congressman and I can do whatever I want” quote from the report. Filner verified most of the incident (but denies saying the quote), clarifying that his actions should be viewed in the context of what he believed to be the wrongful deportation of a constituent.

Quick News Hits

• VOSD managing editor Sara Libby took to the airwaves on Thursday for KPBS’s “Midday Edition” with host Maureen Cavanaugh and political science professor Carl Luna. Together they attempted to add context to some of the questionable political advertisements used during this year’s election campaigns. Read Libby’s commentary on such ads here.

• Local media mogul and developer Doug Manchester proposed to move San Diego City Hall to his new development at the Navy Broadway complex. KPBS reports that the idea may get some serious support within city government.

• Twitter has spawned its share of unlikely alliances, but Gov. Jerry Brown’s shout out to early ’90s hip-hop icon MC Hammer for his support of Proposition 30 may just take the cake. Apparently “U Can’t Touch This” wasn’t about taxes.

Colin Weatherby

Colin Weatherby is a freelance writer. You can reach him at and follow him on...

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.