The campaign to recall Mayor Bob Filner began yesterday after midnight as his foes started gathering petition signatures. A march and rally were held too. NBC 7 San Diego has coverage.

Recalls don’t come up so often, so we’ve compiled questions and answers to help you understand what’s going on.

The questions: How much is all this going to cost? Are petition signatures public? Must petition-gatherers be registered voters in the city? Is it possible to sign the petition online? And: How much can the recall campaign spend?

• Supporters of Filner will hold a rally today at noon at the Civic Center. You can find details on Facebook.

The Rest of the Weekend in Filner

• The L.A. Times says “the city attorney’s office may seek a restraining order to bar Mayor Bob Filner from City Hall.”

• National University’s Erik Bruvold isn’t so sure about that. He tells NBC San Diego that he doubts part of the city charter could be used to remove Filner via allegations that he misused a city credit card: “it’s designed for a situation of a city manager coming in and using the city treasury to buy a Maserati. Or a deputy director coming in and writing a check to support his personal business — clear cases of misuse of funds.”

• Local journalist Peter Kaye knows a thing or two about San Diego’s mayors. He first started covering one in 1954.

In a new L.A. Times column, Kaye takes the measure of the most recent 10 mayors. He doesn’t find much to like. So little to like, in fact, that he says Filner doesn’t yet rank among the worst, including a bored caretaker, a “plodder” (a nifty word that gets too little use), and a panderer.

“Half of the last 10 mayors have performed poorly, and only one has been a standout,” he said. That mayor, who’s still alive, has a statue next to Horton Plaza and a distinguished career marred by a massive misstep on immigration.

• We tried to find Filner on Friday, a day that featured a media chase of an official-looking car that left from its spot outside his downtown condo. His exact whereabouts aren’t as important as exactly when we can expect him back. His staff and attorneys refuse to say. Now, U-T San Diego explores the issue of his weeks-long vanishing act in a new story.

Most voices in the story are critical, but one is optimistic. “Obviously he’s wrestling with personal demons. … I believe in redemption,” a local professor emeritus and Filner supporter says. “If there’s a possibility that he can (be redeemed), then that’s fine. I think we have elected people who are alcoholics and who have drug problems and who have gambling problems, and they have been able to govern well after they have gone through treatment programs.”

• The week’s most popular VOSD story, according to our latest Top 10 list, was managing editor Sara Libby’s takedown of the “3 Most Absurd Media Stunts of the Filner Scandal.” Three of her words about U-T TV’s awful anti-Filner video — “vapid and embarrassing” — bounced around the world’s media (even making it to the U.K.) after the L.A. Times ran two columns about the degrading spoof. They’re here and here.

Health Care Reform: Grandfathered In?

VOSD’s Second Opinion series, designed to help you understand health care reform, tackles this question from a woman who lives in Ramona and pays $776 a month for an individual insurance plan: “What can consumers expect if their health plan is grandfathered into the Affordable Care Act?” (If you get coverage through your job, by the way, this question may affect you.)

Quick News Hits

• Only of the week’s Top 10 stories wasn’t about Filner: It’s my Q-and-A interview — titled “Breaking Bad in 1970s Coronado” — with the author of a new article revealing the true story of a huge marijuana ring that got its start across the big bridge from San Diego. If you missed it, you can read it here.

• The L.A. Times explores why liberal California enrolls so few of the people eligible for food assistance.

• Your stocks may be doing OK this year. But the pension fund for county workers had a bad May and June, the U-T reports. The fund defends itself by pointing to past successes.

• Remember former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, perhaps the most disgraced congressman of all time? He went to prison for taking bribes and is now out. But Brent Wilkes, the defense contractor accused of bribing him, is still appealing his case almost six years after his conviction. The U-T, which notes he only spent a year in prison before getting a reprieve for an appeal, has the details here.

• Online denizens aren’t all fans of mine. Last year, one called me a “fatuous twit.” And just the other day, I was dubbed a “little mouse-face sycophant.”

As rodent-like sycophants go, I’m actually quite large. Facts are important, people!

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

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