Mayor Bob Filner devoted almost $1 million in his first and only budget for a project “he hoped would spur innovation and conversations about city spaces and cross-border collaboration.” What happens to it now?

VOSD reporter Lisa Halverstadt takes a look and finds a lot of uncertainty for the Civic and Urban Initiatives incubator, at least for the moment.

Interim mayor Todd Gloria has at least hinted he’d support the program if he gets more details; two Republican Council members aren’t so enthusiastic.

San Diego Explained: Is that Nonprofit Legit?

San Diego Explained, our video series in conjunction with NBC San Diego, examines how nonprofit organizations work, and offers tips about how to figure out if one might not be on the up and up.

The Best in VOSD Comments

We’re debuting a new feature called VOSD Overheard that highlights the most provocative comments from readers over the last few days. The big topics in this edition: making the city more bike-friendly, booze at the beach and open government.

The Day in the Mayoral Campaign

• Councilman David Alvarez, whose newly announced campaign is shaking up the mayor’s race, kicked off his bid Monday at a rally. U-T San Diego has details.

• Three of the major mayor candidates say they’ll attend a debate in Barrio Logan on Sept. 27. (U-T)

• The San Diego State newspaper profiles a 22-year-old student who’s running for mayor. “There’s no reason why I can’t,” he said. “What sets anyone else apart from me? Nothing.”

That is a refreshing campaign message! But Michael Kemmer is more serious than his comment makes him sound. He pledges to focus on technology at City Hall and already has a campaign manager.

• On VOSD Radio, two of our staff reporters examine the state of the mayor’s race.

Filner Credit Card Probe Expands

• “An expanded investigation will be launched into how the former mayor of San Diego was able to charge thousands of dollars for a trip to Paris, France on a city-issued credit card even after the request was rejected by the city’s comptroller,” NBC San Diego reports. “The procedure for approving charges on former Mayor Bob Filner’s P-card issued by the city of San Diego was circumvented and he charged $16,462 on the account that had previously carried a $5,000 limit.”

For more, check our recent interview with a very miffed city finances official about the apparent Filner shenanigans.

Quick News Hits

• Yesterday’s Morning Report incorrectly described a disturbing investigative story in the U-T as being about nursing homes. The story, which described dozens of deaths due to injuries and neglect, is actually about assisted living homes, which are a different kind of facility.

Another U-T story examines alleged bribes solicited by state inspectors of assisted living homes, including one in Mira Mesa. No charges have been filed.

• The City Council will discuss a pair of 7-plus-percent hikes in water rates Tuesday, City News Service reports via KPBS. Gloria supports the move, which won’t be up for an official approval for a couple months: “What we’ve done for the past two years is to absorb the additional cost of water within the city’s budget. We can’t continue on that path. This is the fiscally responsible way to handle it, so I support that, and I think the City Council will support it, as well.”

• Al Jazeera’s American news network examines “the origins of the country’s largest welfare fraud diversion program” here in San Diego.

• U-T business columnist Dan McSwain reports that power officials say a repeat of 2011’s bizarre region-wide blackout is much less likely. (The lights went out two years ago Sunday.) But, he writes, “That’s not to say all is well with the power grid. Behind the scenes, the electricity industry is convulsing with structural change on a scale it hasn’t seen in 100 years.”

• The U-T has a nifty compilation of photos of the region’s most iconic fountains. Several of them are pretty awesome.

Still, we’re far from being the “City of Fountains.” That’s a well-known American city that’s much more famous for food than flowing waters. Know what it is? I’ll tell you tomorrow.

• Yesterday’s Morning Report pondered whether the most southerly city in the state is Imperial Beach or San Diego. Turns out there’s more geographic trivia where that came from.

A reader writes to say that the Los Angeles Times long ago defined “Southern California” as Ventura, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties. If San Diego and Imperial counties were added, the term got downgraded to “southern California.” (Guess nobody showed them this 1850 map.)

So to the L.A. Times, we were basically the crazy aunt who’s kept in the basement. I wonder what that must be like. Hey, unlock this door! Hello? Let me out of here!

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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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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