“Fifty-three percent of tourism employees earn a middle-class salary or higher,” declared the president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority recently in a bid to buff the shine of the local tourism industry, which has been getting loads of guff lately from folks like Mayor Bob Filner.

Could that be true? Many people in the local tourism industry certainly do make enough money to comfortably support a family, and not just those in executive offices. But the figure is based on a national study that assumes a middle-class salary ranges from $25,854 to $68,920.

Oh really. They’re saying $25,854 is a middle-class salary? That’s news to us in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

San Diego Fact Check finds that the claim as a whole is misleading and offers perspective about what workers here make.

Embattled School Numbers Guy: Oops

Stan Dobbs, the new top financial guru for the San Diego school district, is belatedly apologizing to teachers at large for bogus numbers that he threw out in a now-notorious interview with us. His statistics were wrong, as we showed in follow-up stories after printing them.

“I offer this apology sincerely and hope it doesn’t affect our continued relationship. I have worked with and supported teachers for years,” Dobbs writes in his letter, adding that he has “put interview controls in place to ensure no such issues occur again.”

It’s not clear what “interview controls” are, or if that just means he  plans to control interviews by not having them.

Filner: City Getting the Shaft

We just reported that San Diego doesn’t get its share of federal funding for the homeless compared to other metro areas. “When the statistics are so clear as these, there’s something wrong,” Mayor Filner tells us in a new interview. “We’re going to be working with our Congress people to change it. With my experience, I can work with them on this.”

Everything Is Thong at Horrific U-T TV

U-T TV, the cable-TV channel run by the U-T newspaper, is a grand and bold experiment, a “new frontier for news” that’s gained “measurable amounts of viewers.” Who says? Why, the U-T, that’s who.

It’s quite common for media organizations to lack self-awareness and even boast about how they’re fabulous and forward-thinking. (We, of course, would never ever do such a thing.) So the U-T’s self-puffery is fairly innocuous, or at least not surprising. But what about its programming, which has been widely mocked by the rest of the local media?

It’s horrendous, our Sara Libby finds after watching the channel’s daily parade of Fox News-style pairings of older men and younger (often-blonde) women.

Here are some lowlights: A question to the district attorney about whether she wears a thong. The continual degrading of women. And dominance by men.

“Ultimately, if U-T TV wants to make a naked (sometimes literally) play for lowest-common-denominator programming, that’s U-T TV’s prerogative,” Libby writes. “But let’s call it what it is.” To her, it’s sexist, lazy and embarrassing.

Clouds over District Four

Contributing photographer Sam Hodgson captures the cloudy sky, the horizon and bits of the landscape of southeastern San Diego in a series of photos.

Also: we meet a “sidewalk savant” who has devoted himself to improving sidewalks and streets.

Letter: Big Trouble for Hotel Owners

In letters, George Mullen of San Diego attacks hotel owners: “The abuse and damage this cabal has inflicted upon San Diego is extensive; the time has come to pull back the curtain and reveal the truth.”

Quick News Hits

• Bzzz! Hear that buzz? It’s about how former Councilman and failed mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio may make a bid for the congressional seat now held by former Councilman Scott Peters. (Roll Call)

• The Contra Costa Times editorializes on those controversial ultra-long-term borrowing schemes that school districts have embraced. Coverage on our site and elsewhere brought attention to them.

Click here for our latest coverage.  

• Mayor Filner may propose a law to regulate medical marijuana shops. We should hear more about it later this month. (CityBeat)

We recently checked Filner’s progress on his campaign promise to come up with new medical marijuana permitting rules.

• CityBeat finishes its profiles of candidates in the Fourth District council race with a look at Bruce Williams, an aide to former Councilman Tony Young, who just resigned.

• It’s getting so you can’t tell the attractions without a program.

Wild Animal Park? Nope, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. San Diego Natural History Museum? Well, it’s still named that, but they’d prefer if you called it theNAT. And that, of course, is appropriate because it’s hosting a bug exhibit.

We’re not immune: We used to be known as voiceofsandiego.org, lower-case letters and all. Now we’re Voice of San Diego, with nifty capital letters. Woot!

Some things stay the same, however. For example, our folks don’t ask people about their underwear. Let’s hope that kind of approach to news never becomes a “new frontier.”

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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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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