A few weeks ago, Will Carless and Wendy Fry revealed how underwriting firms that donated big to help school construction bond campaigns often got lucrative contracts enabled by the bonds.

Tuesday, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer told Carless that he is pushing to have many of these deals investigated.

“”I think it may well violate current law that limits quid-pro-quo transactions,” Lockyer said.

Here was our investigation into the topic and our simplified explainer of what

Most Trees in the USA? Not This Town

A TV news report declared that San Diego has more trees than any other city in the United States. We may have more trees than some people assume due to the number of big parks that we have, but could the city really top every other one, even in the wetter and greener parts of the country?  

Nope. The claim is false, San Diego Fact Check finds.

In District 4, Filipinos Left Out

In southeastern San Diego, Filipinos have grown in numbers but not in political influence. We take a quick look at this community’s efforts to get noticed.

Another Election? Already? Yup

Voters in the 40th state Senate district, which covers much of South Bay, went to the polls yesterday in a primary election. (NBC San Diego)

It looks like Assemblyman Ben Hueso has won the seat. This now frees up labor leader Lorena Gonzalez to officially campaign for his Assembly seat (she’s been raising money and generating endorsements for weeks). Chula Vista’s Steve Castaneda is vying for the seat as well.

The former state senator, Juan Vargas, is now a congressman and left that Senate seat to take Bob Filner’s place. We earlier explored the massive game of political musical chairs that is being set off by his departure.

The gist: every single person in town may eventually get to serve as an elected official. You, for example, may become a trustee of the school district in Dulzura. I’m hoping to join the board of the water district in Borrego Springs. Make a note of it.

Culture Report: California Theater, Dogma-Free Choir

The Culture Report, our weekly compilation of links to stories about arts and culture, checks in on the status of the once-grand but now-decrepit California Theatre in downtown (via KPBS), a local choir that tries to offer dogma-free music (via U-T San Diego) and more.

Letters: Mariachi Music, Seniors

In letters, Jeff Nevin, a composer and a trumpet player who founded the mariachi program at Southwestern College, sings the praises of mariachi music and one of its fans — the San Diego Opera.

Also: Paul Downey, CEO and president of Senior Community Centers, writes about how his organization helps older people survive and thrive.

Heard of Traffic School? Try John School

The Orange County Register drops by San Diego to report on a three-hour class that’s offered to men convicted of soliciting prostitutes: “… the air was uncomfortable. Wives dropped off husbands. Men slouched in chairs or stared at the floor. Two guys rocked back and forth with bloodshot eyes.”

Attendees don’t have to talk at “john school,” but they can speak if they wish. The idea is to prevent more arrests, but it’s not clear if the classes actually work.

Quick News Hits

• The city is borrowing money that will allocate “$3.7 million for Qualcomm’s Mission Valley Fire Station No. 9, as well as $9.9 million for street repairs, $5 million for renovating the storm water system, $1.4 million for fixing Mission Beach’s seawall and $10 million for Skyline, San Ysidro and Mission Hills-Hillcrest libraries.” (Daily Transcript)

• The new superintendent of San Diego schools is slated to make $255,000 a year to start, a slight bit more than her predecessor. The school board was set to officially hire Cindy Marten last night. (KPBS)

• U-T San Diego reports that a coalition called San Diegans for Commonsense Immigration Reform has formed with quite the cast.

• Mayor Bob Filner, a classic micromanager, doesn’t like to let his media people speak to, you know, the media. So what do they do? For one, they issue press releases like this (it’s a PDF) proclaiming how busy he’s been over the last 100 days.

 • Bill Anderson, former director of planning for the city and president-elect of the American Planning Association, talks to a trade journal about the overhaul of San Diego’s planning system. For background about the changes, check our story here.

• The U-T’s Logan Jenkins drops by the preliminary hearing in the tabloid-friendly and S&M-dominated Brittany Killgore murder trial and finds it’s tough to bear: “The punishment was unusual and cruel. And not, I should add (given the twisted subject matter), in a good way.”

The now-defunct North County Times examined the local S&M community, which is appalled by the murder allegations, in a non-sensational story that ran last summer.  

• Add this to your daily recommended allowance of rampant speculation about what the publisher of the U-T might buy next: there’s talk (via a rumor from an L.A. Times editorial board member) that Doug Manchester will team up with the right-wing Koch Brothers (bogeymen to liberals) to snap up the Times or its entire parent company. (L.A. Weekly)

• Much of “Phantom,” a new Hollywood thriller, was shot inside a former Soviet submarine that’s now owned by the Maritime Museum of San Diego and has floated in the bay for almost a decade, the U-T reports. The story explains how the sub landed in the hands of the museum and says sailors had to cope with a shortage of bunks and little fresh water.

The movie hasn’t made a splash at the box office, where it’s been shipwrecked by rock-bottom numbers. You could say it sank right to the bottom and is sleeping with the… Should I go on? No? Fine.

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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