One criticism of mayoral candidate David Alvarez, the city councilman, is the suggestion that he likes to play the victim at City Hall, endlessly complaining about being left out of the loop. In a VOSD interview, Alvarez says he was indeed blocked from knowing what he needed to know — courtesy of former Mayor Jerry Sanders.

Alvarez calls Sanders aloof, petty and an incessant booster of the downtown establishment at the cost of neighborhoods: “It was a culture of secrecy that I think held back our city.”

Mayoral candidates have typically avoided bashing Sanders.

The Rest of the Day in the Mayor’s Race

• Paul Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm, sent an outraged letter to the GOP-friendly Lincoln Club about a new political mailer that attacks Qualcomm employee and mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher. (The mailer, the first bit of significant nastiness in the mayor’s race, seems designed to convince Democrats to abandon Fletcher and support Alvarez, who appears to be the GOP’s preferred rival.)

Jacobs is furious that the “supposedly pro-business political group” would fund an ad that “unfairly and incorrectly attacks one of San Diego’s largest employers.”

• Three of the four top mayoral candidates promised to boost pay for cops at a debate yesterday, leaving former City Attorney Michael Aguirre — hardly loved by city union types — as the lone no-promises voice.

Check our report on the debate here, and see our related Fact Check below.

• We’re trying to do something special to gather questions for our special mayoral debate Nov. 5. Get details here and let us know what questions you’d like our moderator to ask.

• The U-T profiles long-shot mayoral candidate Aguirre, who “says he’s a changed man who has learned how to be a better leader since his chaotic tenure as city attorney.”

• Mayoral candidates love to talk about San Diego’s ties to Tijuana, and former state Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny — a senior policy adviser at the UCSD’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies — is all for the discussion. In a new commentary for VOSD, she rebuts the idea that cross-border issues are a low priority and argues that they’re intertwined with concerns about our decrepit streets, water pipes and sidewalks.

• In another commentary, Senator Dianne Feinstein lauds a San Diego charter school for homeless kids but warns that federal funding is at risk.

Fact Check: Fletcher’s Misleading Cop Claim

“Officer salaries have not increased since 2008; under the current labor agreement, officers are slated to go a full 10 years without increases,” mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher wrote this week in his plan to boost the city’s ailing police department.

Is he right? Not exactly. San Diego Fact Check gives him a “misleading” verdict: while there have been some limits on pay for cops, “city records show most officers have still gotten pay increases.”

“Police recruits get a pay boost after they graduate from the police academy and again if they meet certain qualifications after a given period of time,” VOSD reporter Lisa Halverstadt reports. “Another salary increase or two also isn’t uncommon within an officer’s first four years on the job.”

Labor unions often ignore these and similar types of raises when they talk about how public employees (like teachers) haven’t gotten salary boosts. But an automatic raise for individuals based on increased experience, increased education or other factors (like inflation) is still a raise.

Abracadabr… huh? U-T’s Maritime Metamorphosis

In an editorial this week, the U-T comes out fighting in favor of the shipbuilders that want a chunk of Barrio Logan to be friendlier to the companies that support them. “This newspaper is now a champion of maritime uses at the port? Really?… ” VOSD’s Scott Lewis writes in a new commentary that chronicles the U-T’s switcheroo. It was only last year when the U-T blasted maritime operations at the port and proposed to wipe out and shift them dramatically. “And this, of course, is in an editorial where they’re giving someone else grief for changing positions.”

Quick News Hits

• The Culture Report, our weekly guide to the latest news in arts and culture, takes note of the annual Orchids & Onions architectural awards. (A vertigo-causing UCSD art project is a big winner and an ugly generator at City Hall massively failed to electrify anyone.)

The Culture Report also points to stories about the centennial celebration at Balboa Park, an exhibition you’ll want to read about sitting down and a La Jolla Playhouse festival that left some critics cold.

• Poway seems prepared to get rid of its red-light cameras that are designed to catch drivers who run through red lights, the U-T reports.

• The political newspaper Roll Call is impressed by a couple polls this year (including one by the GOP) and thinks it’s more likely that former Councilman Carl DeMaio will beat back Rep. Scott Peters in the 52nd congressional district, which covers a chunk of the coast. Roll Call now ranks the district as “Toss-Up/Tilt Democratic, bumped down from Lean Democratic.”

While the June primary is still a long way away, the race is getting plenty of attention because it’s one only a few of the 435 congressional districts where there’s a possibility of a switch from one party to the other.

• U-T columnist Tom Krasovic says the Bolts should buy up tickets to keep Monday night’s big game from being blacked out: “The Chargers, along with the other 31 teams, have been raking in increasingly huge sums of money from the NFL’s growing TV rights fees, so coming up with the coin shouldn’t be a problem.”

Krasovic, reflecting the newspaper’s pushy insistence on a new football stadium, also makes the debatable claim that “the Chargers can blame ancient Qualcomm Stadium if there are swaths of empty seats.”

• “Food Network show ‘Food Court Wars’ is calling on aspiring restaurateurs from the San Diego area to compete in its reality show for a chance to make their business dreams come true,” the U-T reports.

Yes, there’s a reality show about shopping-mall food courts. The show will apparently film at a mall in Chula Vista.

As a kid who spent much of his non-misspent youth wandering around National City’s Plaza Bonita and its food court, let me say this: In the name of all that is holy, please don’t make anyone wear a Hot Dog on a Stick uniform.

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

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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