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A new exclusive by VOSD’s Andy Keatts exposes how money talks at City Hall.

“In a case with strong echoes of the controversial Sunroad deal that has ensnared Mayor Bob Filner’s office, another contested development held up by the city was allowed to move forward after the developers agreed to pay $150,000 for neighborhood improvements,”Keatts reports.

It all has to do with Centrepoint, a big housing project near SDSU. Residents complained that it would be little more than a dorm, and a city councilwoman and the mayor swung into action to stand behind them. Now, things seem to be resolved, but only after a promise of spending.

There are big differences between the Sunroad mess and this tale — the biggest being that the donation in this case seems to have been proposed by Centrepoint itself, not initiated by the mayor’s office. But they have a lot in common too. Check our story and decide for yourself about whether this arrangement is kosher.

School Bond Bill Moves Forward

Last year, VOSD expanded on the work of other journalists and exposed how the Poway school district planned to borrow $105 million and pay back a jaw-dropping $1 billion. Our coverage sparked local outrage and national attention; the district defended its decisions but had trouble explaining why the borrowing scheme was a good idea.

Now, as we report, legislation aimed at curbing the use of so-called “long-term capital appreciation bonds” continues to work its way through the state Legislature. The next step is a state Senate committee and then, if it survives, the full Senate.

New Targets for Bullies: The Allergic

Just about every kid who’s different in some way can become a target of a bully. This is how bullies work.

So who’s “different” these days? Kids with food allergies, for one. Our food blogger Clare Leschin-Hoar tells us about one case in Del Cerro, where a kid tried to taunt another child with a celery stalk full of peanut butter. The victim, of course, was allergic.

“Eventually, the school metered out a punishment for the celery-wielding child, which included an apology letter that said, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I don’t want you to die,’ but the event is just one example in what experts say is a growing trend across the nation,” Leschin-Hoar reports.

Fact Check TV: A Claim That Needs to Park It

Fact Check TV takes a skeptical look at a union official’s claim about the fabulousness of the new $15 daily fee to stash your car under the Convention Center.

VOSD Radio: A Rough Sunroad for the Mayor

VOSD Radio explains how it was a mighty bad week for Mayor Filner thanks in part to a dust-up over another mayoral mess involving the Sunroad company.

Chalk It Up to Free Speech?

A jury yesterday acquitted a local protester who faced a jail term for drawing anti-bank slogans on the public sidewalk in chalk. The case had drawn an intense amount of national and local attention as the protester’s supporters, including the mayor, called it a case of overreach.

U-T San Diego and NBC 7 San Diego have details. Also: For some reason, the city attorney’s office sent five employees to the trial yesterday, the Reader reports.

Meanwhile, the city attorney’s office sent out a statement that strongly downplays the possible consequences facing the defendant if he’d agreed to a plea deal.

Here’s what the statement says: “Our prosecutors never treated this case as anything more than a graffiti case. As with most graffiti cases, Mr. Olson was offered reduction to an infraction after completing volunteer work service cleaning up graffiti.”

In fact, the Reader reports, the first plea deal offered by the city attorney called for $6,299 in restitution to the Bank of America, 40 hours of community service and seminar attendance and a three-year surrender of his driver’s license and his agreement to “waive all Fourth Amendment rights guarding against search and seizures.”

Who would agree to that?

City Attorney Shuts Closed Meetings

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith says he will stop holding closed-door meetings with city officials to discuss legal and employee issues, KPBS reports. Goldsmith has been miffed since Mayor Bob Filner booted a city attorney employee out of a previous meeting.

“There will be no closed sessions until we work this out,” said Goldsmith, who referred to his mutual spat with the mayor as a “one-way feud” even though the city attorney hasn’t refrained from publicly bashing Filner.

An annoyed Todd Gloria, president of the City Council, wants to bring in a mediator: “This conflict has got to stop, and our collective focus must return to priorities like public safety and road repair.”

Judge Calls Case a Stretch

“A San Diego judge has ruled in favor of yoga classes in public elementary schools, rejecting an argument from some parents that the practice was an attempt at religious mind control,” NBC 7 reports.

And Away They Go: Linkery Edition

The Linkery, a sausage-focused restaurant in North Park, has garnered loads of positive press over the last decade. It helped usher in a fine-dining renaissance in the famously hipster-infested neighborhood and attracted national attention by getting rid of tips for wait staff. (No, diners don’t get a discount. They just pay a standard 18 service fee. The Linkery almost got hauled into court over it.)

Now, The Linkery — at least under its present ownership — is vanishing. Its owners are selling the place, they announced yesterday, and will close in a couple of weeks: “Simply put, it’s time for us to move on.”

The owners will also close a sister North Park restaurant, Hubcap, formerly known until a recent makeover as El Take It Easy.

Funny thing: A VOSD staffer celebrated his 30th birthday at Hupcap just the other night.

So is it pure coincidence that the place is closing now? No comment. Let’s just say that somebody shouldn’t have ordered the dancing elephants.

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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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