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As our investigative story in conjunction with NBC 7 San Diego showed, there’s a significant correlation between the companies that donate to the campaigns pushing school bonds (which raise property taxes to pay for construction) and the companies that districts ultimately hire if the bonds are approved.

We’ve put together a Reading List for those of you who’d like to dig deeper into this issue.

SD’s Most Scandalous Mayors

As we learned last week in the most shocking local story to come down the pike in quite a while, former Mayor Maureen O’Connor developed a hugely expensive gambling habit and allegedly pilfered money from a foundation to pay for her losses. But at least she didn’t inspire a British tabloid to scream: “Get Your Hands Off Our Queen.”

That was another mayor who made a mark on the scandal front. We remember him and seven others in our new list of San Diego’s Eight Most Scandalous Mayors.

VOSD on the Air

Fact Check TV looks into whether the massive Balboa Park makeover plan is truly doomed.

• Our Liam Dillon appeared on KPBS radio and TV to talk about our coverage of the city’s strange approach to sidewalk maintenance.

• Changing times have recently threatened a mural of Charles Lindbergh on a terminal at the airport and those peculiar sculptures that look like street signs near the zoo. The mural is gone, possibly for good, but the deteriorated sculptures will remain.

What’s going on? The artists behind these artworks along with representatives of the zoo and the airport and our own Kelly Bennett appeared on NBC 7 San Diego to talk about the challenges and opportunities for those who make public art.

Culture Report: Wheelchair Dancers

Our weekly Culture Report compilation of links to news about arts and culture is highlighted by stories about an attempt at a world record by wheelchair dancers, the work it takes to quickly change sets at the “Samson & Delilah” opera and Dr. Seuss’s secret, colorful and crazy hat collection. Spoiler alert: There aren’t any cats in them.

• Also in arts: What was it like for drag performer RuPaul (born at Mercy Hospital, a performer at San Diego Children’s Theater and a student at Gompers Jr. High and Patrick Henry High) to grow up here as a child named RuPaul Andre Charles? Now we know a bit of the story.

Lawsuit Promised in Tourism Taxes Dispute

Hotel owners say they’re going to go to court to make Mayor Bob Filner release millions in funds from taxes on hotel rooms, U-T San Diego reports. One risk is that a judge will decide whether the whole tax scheme is illegal.

A lawyer for the tourism marketing group that wants the money released tells the Reader that he doesn’t know who will pay his bill. The Reader wonders: “The district is largely, if not entirely, funded by city money collected as taxes on room stays here. So is it legal to use the city’s own cash to sue the city?”

Quick News Hits

• The L.A. Times looks at the upcoming start of construction on Carlsbad’s seawater desalination facility, the largest in the nation. While pulling the salt out of seawater once seemed like the “ultimate solution” to water woes in the state, the newspaper says, “experts say it is doubtful that dream will ever be fully realized.”

Why? “The reasons boil down to money and energy.”

A battle is brewing between the Marine Corps and surfers over a stretch of beach near the San Onofre nuclear plant and the county line, the L.A. Times reports: “To wave riders, Trestles represents seven of the primo surf breaks in the world. To Marines, the middle section of the 2.25 miles is an ideal location to teach grunts how to fight their way from ship to shore and inland.”


• The U-T is exploring the “tangled web” that has ensnarled the city and its ambulance provider.

• If you read our list of San Diego’s most scandalous mayors, you might get discouraged and think nobody at City Hall ever does anything right. Au contraire!

During my research, I came across a county sheriff named James McCoy who served as the city’s unofficial mayor in 1869. 

A friend described McCoy this way: “There are only two men in San Diego that don’t occasionally get drunk and they are McCoy, the sheriff, and myself.”

Now that’s some sober leadership for you.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

Randy Dotinga

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

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