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Today kicks off our $24,000-in-24-Hours campaign. Show your support for this public service by donating now.

If you registered to attend tonight’s conversation with the mayoral candidates at Birch North Park Theatre, we recommend you arrive early. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and it’s going to be a packed house. Be sure to print out your confirmation and show it at the door.

Whether you’re coming to the mayoral event or not, you’re invited to an after-party at Waypoint Public, 30th Street and North Park Way, where 15 percent of the night’s sales will go to Voice of San Diego. Thanks to Andrew Zlotnik and John Pani for making that happen.

The San Diego City Council approved most of the proposal to dramatically raise fees on those who build commercial space in the city to raise money for the Affordable Housing Fund at the Housing Commission. It was a straight party-line vote 5-4. Based on changes made on the increase’s implementation date, the item will need to be voted on by the Council two more times before it’s official.

The drama is hardly over, however. The Chamber of Commerce has already directed one committee to raise and spend money to either force a referendum or challenge it in court. Other groups will do the same.

Here’s NBC 7 on the Council vote.

Radio: A Pledge

If they ever cash in on their companies, a group of local entrepreneurs in the technology world have pledged to invest 10 percent of it all in local San Diego companies or efforts. That was only one of the tidbits from Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis’ podcast interview with Melani Gordon, the co-founder of Bevato and Taphunter, which helps bars manage their craft beers.

The podcast is now an hour long and Keatts and Lewis go in depth on the affordable housing fee, local media landscape drama and what to look for this week.

The City Attorney’s Not-So-Humble Brags

“San Diego city attorney maneuvered to force Filner from office,” reads the headline on a new LA Times story, followed by this sub-headline: “Jan Goldsmith worked for weeks to remove the first-term Democrat by squeezing him financially and releasing documents showing the anger and dismay of his staff.”

The story paints a glowing picture of Goldsmith’s role in the whole movement to push the disgraced Mayor Filner out of office earlier this year. “We strategized as lawyers: How were we going to remove the mayor?” Goldsmith told the paper. “It was a de facto impeachment.”

No, it wasn’t, argues VOSD’s Scott Lewis in a new commentary. “The whole L.A. Times piece reads as though Goldsmith wants credit for being the clever Filner slayer.”

On the Next-Mayor Wish List: Fire Stations

We take a look at how each of the main mayoral candidates says he is going to fix the city’s shortage of fire stations. They actually agree, for the most part about how it needs to be done.

Fletcher Opens Up on Painful Childhood

The Filner fiasco has goosed some of the media into deeply exploring the pasts of the mayoral candidates. The U-T has even published information about their college transcripts and driving records despite the lack of any actual surprises. And candidate Nathan Fletcher got flak after it became clear that he wasn’t really the first person in his family to go to college even thought he’d said so.

Now, Fletcher and his mother have gone on KPBS to talk about a childhood he describes as abusive. Inewsource/KPBS says the interview and court documents from Nevada “paint a picture of a traumatic childhood, and suggest an explanation for the ambiguous narrative Fletcher has publicly presented.”

Faulconer, Fletcher and Facts

We have a rare two-part fact check today. Councilman Kevin Faulconer has been running ads claiming that reforms he championed would allow the city to reinvest $1 billion into neighborhoods. It’s not quite that simple and there’s something to keep in mind.

Fletcher claimed that the pension bill the city has to pay every year has begun to come down. Not so much.

• Faulconer is a Republican. He asked for support from top Republicans, he’s getting donations from top Republicans, and he shares many positions with top Republicans.

But his spokesman would like you to know that while he was in town in the summer of 1996, he didn’t attend the national GOP convention here. And that he’s “pro-choice, supports the Dream Act, supports California’s gun control laws, which are the most liberal in the country, etc.” But, as KPBS reports, the campaign didn’t provide any evidence of his positions, and Faulconer hasn’t responded to surveys from a couple advocacy groups.

• In 2011, Faulconer pushed hard to make sure firefighters and lifeguards got death and disability benefits should something happen while on the job even as a new plan emerged to move new employees to 401(k) style retirement programs. Well, that plan went through as the successful Proposition B. But the death and disability benefits are not in place. NBC 7’s Wendy Fry found that out and tried to figure out what happened.

Quick News Hits

• UC San Diego received a $100 million gift to support stem cell research.

In a VOSD commentary, Mel Katz — co-owner of Manpower and a former chairman of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce — lauds Rep. Scott Peters and his ability “to cut through the partisan gridlock.”

• “New revelations in California provide an unusual look at one national network of …groups… which helped move $15 million into ballot-initiative campaigns last fall while working hard to hide the identities of their prominent financial backers,” The Washington Post reports. “A pair of conservative nonprofit groups at the heart of the effort were fined a record $1 million after a year-long state investigation, while two political committees were ordered to repay the state for $15 million in donations they received.”

• The airport promises it’s going to do something about the cramped and uncomfortable terminal that houses Southwest, but it’ll be a while before those of us who love the cheap seats (i.e., everybody on Southwest) will get to enjoy the luxuries in the renovated Terminal 2. We’ll just have to suffer through those A and B lines and the sad lack of non-stop flights to Seattle.

Or will we? Yesterday brought the news that Delta next June will begin offering several non-stop flights between here and Seattle each day. It appears that only Alaska Air offers those non-stop flights now.

As a guy who travels to the Emerald City on occasion, Southwest will need to step up its game to keep my loyalty. Or at least offer me more little bags of peanuts that I can’t open.

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 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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