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When former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher declared he was leaving the Republican Party, he proclaimed his independence and spurned both parties, which he said had created a system that was “completely dysfunctional.” 

But on Saturday, he decided to become a Democrat. Scott Lewis dug through his old words and new ones to put it in perspective. When he left the Republicans, Fletcher had said that he did not change, the GOP did. Now, he acknowledges he had changed.

Lewis also compiled some of the dozens of online reactions from politicos across the state from snarky Republicans to excited Democrats.

I don’t fit into either of those categories and (also predictably) dismissed the news on Twitter with a “who?”

“Some guy who teaches at UCSD,” snapped Rachel Laing, a local political hand who’s delighted by the news. “No one you know.”  

• Fletcher’s move came just in time for him to get a standing ovation and several smiley pictures at the big Roosevelt Dinner the Democrats held Saturday. Not sure if anyone mentioned what they used to say about him.

San Diego’s Recall System May Not Be Legal

One local Republican who now works as a staffer in Congress joked Saturday that Fletcher accelerated his switch to Democrat in case Mayor Bob Filner imploded.

We recently explained just how hard it is to recall a city’s mayor.

But we’ve discovered a problem with San Diego’s rules on this. City law says that if a recall is successful, only people who voted yes or no on the recall can vote for a successor. A federal court ruling, however, appears to put the kibosh on that kind of voting system.

As Zack Warma writes, the City Council “can pray that a challenge to the law never materializes, or they can proactively rework the section while stoking further intrigue about a recall threat that so far exists only in whispers and hearsay.”

• San Diego’s had at least one successful recall, of a councilwoman back in 1991. Countywide, about 30 politicians have gotten booted over the past several decades. For background about the county’s colorful history of recalls, check our previous story here. Among those who got booted from office: “A judge who got caught up in a prostitution sting and still refuses to say what actually happened. Two evangelical Christian school board members… and more obscure backcountry elected officials than you can shake a ballot box at.”  

Pro-Homeless Bill Raises Local Hackles

Proposed state legislation called the “Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights” would require California cities and unincorporated areas to have facilities with showers and restrooms for homeless people to use 24 hours a day. It also grants the homeless the right to rest, eat and panhandle in public places unless a county reaches certain levels of unemployment, housing assistance and social services.

You might assume advocates for the homeless would love this. Well, not everyone. We talked to a legislator and a homeless advocate who aren’t fans of the approach. “I like the theory behind the legislation,” the advocate said. “You shouldn’t discriminate against people because they’re homeless, they smell bad or have crappy clothes on. … I think the legislation just goes too far. It just grants permission to be homeless without anything on society’s part to help it or fix it.”

Quick News Hits

• U-T San Diego explores the consequences if the stricken San Onofre nuclear plant is shut down forever: “consumers face nearly $3 billion in costs, the risk of blackouts will rise, and air quality will suffer.”

For more about the problems at the nuke plant, watch our explainer.

• Investigative Newsource has an overview of its coverage of problems in the North County Transit District, which oversees “seven locomotives, 144 buses and, until last month, 12 light-rail vehicles.” The local watchdog journalism outfit summarizes its coverage this way: “four years ago, North County Transit’s new CEO overhauled the agency and outsourced services. An investigation shows the move had unintended consequences.”

Meanwhile, the U-T reports that costs related to the breakdown of the Sprinter commuter system could go over $3 million. Check our previous explainer to understand how things went wrong.

• The Morning Report on Saturday incorrectly reported the delay in the opening of the new downtown library: It will be postponed two months, not three, from July 27 to Sept. 28.

This will spell trouble for downtown library users fans: the existing central library is shutting down in June. Its books, maps, DVDs, CDs, newspaper microfilm archives, computers and more will be unavailable until the new facility opens.

So don’t worry if you drive down Broadway and see a bunch of pale people wandering aimlessly while squinting in the sunshine of a summer afternoon. It’s just us bookworms, trying to figure out what to do with ourselves with only street signs to read.

• We also sent you to the wrong link, Saturday, for our fact check about how often police protest liquor licenses in San Diego (pretty much always).

A New Carless

Finally, news from our team. Our writer Will Carless and his wife Christin welcomed a new daughter to the world Saturday. He posted a picture here.

We’d like to officially welcome little Penelope Peligro Carless. Yep, that’s “Peligro” and if you know Carless at all, you know she’s likely to live up to it.

Congratulations!

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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