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Our unorthodox mayoral debate Tuesday produced a list of memorable moments (listen to the audio here) and it revealed that the candidates won’t go near challenging some sacred cows.

The Most Awkward Moment came courtesy of Faulconer, who had trouble identifying neighborhoods that had been neglected despite the implication that some had in a recent Faulconer ad starring former Mayor Jerry Sanders. A history-based zinger came courtesy of Aguirre, who schooled former legislator Nathan Fletcher on California’s past: The progressive governor who pushed for initiatives and referendums a century ago was a Republican, yes, but he hardly fits the usual profile of someone from his party. A bit like the Democratic Aguirre, now that I think about it.

We recap more moments, including Alvarez’s mysterious reference to a closed-door discussion when the issue of “stop-and-frisk” came up: “I can tell you that (racial profiling has) happened relatively recently in our city and we’re dealing with that, we have some effects of that.”

And the list of untouchable issues? None want to legalize marijuana. None wants to charge for parking at the beach, with Councilman Kevin Faulconer saying “our beaches belong to everyone” and he’s “committed” to keeping them free. (No one mentioned that Faulconer and Councilman David Alvarez have a different view about Balboa Park. They both supported a plan for some paid parking there.)

Only one candidate, former City Attorney Michael Aguirre, wants to look into charging residents of single family homes for trash pick-up. And nobody seemed too interested in allowing downtown bars to close at 4 a.m. instead of 2 a.m. Turns out that the city can’t do that on its own, although the issue has come up among state legislators.

The Rest of the Day in the Local Politics

• We have an update on the movement in City Hall toward more open government via an open data policy. Lots is happening, and we tell you what you need to know.

• The Reader is out with an in-depth cover story examining the simmering battle over — of all things — nighttime lights at high school stadiums in San Diego. The lights may seem like a routine part of high school football life (“Friday Night Lights” and all that), but residents here aren’t always welcoming. And school officials seem to have dropped the ball, at least in a judge’s eyes.

As we noted recently, lights at Hoover High became a signal that the district was not using bond money as it had pledged.

• CityBeat columnist John Lamb recaps his more-difficult-than-it-should-be mission to figure out whom Faulconer represented when he worked in public relations.

• In a VOSD commentary, candidate Aguirre fact checks our fact check and slaps rival Faulconer for making a claim that savings on pension payments to retired employees translate to $1 billion in money for neighborhoods.

Aguirre points out that the expected rate of return on pension investments is optimistic, and says he believes that the city jacked up salaries to put a pay freeze into effect.

• Yesterday’s Morning Report flubbed a reference to an NBC San Diego story about the city’s bid to provide defined death and disability benefits to certain employees instead of continuing to offer more vague promises. The employees in question are firefighters and lifeguards, not firefighters and cops.

Housing Disputes Roundup

• Carmel Valley’s big and controversial proposed One Paseo project — with houses and businesses — is back. Its builders will once again do battle with traffic-weary residents and a shopping center that doesn’t want competition.

• It can be tough to afford to live here, CityBeat reports in a story that recaps the debate this week over raising fees on builders in order to support cheaper housing for poor people.

Quick News Hits

• Residents across Southern California saw bright flashes of light in the sky that appear to have been meteors.

A new story on the website is a murky wonkfest, but the headline is pretty clear: “California Developments Near Transit Can No Longer Get Sued for Too Little Parking,”

• Hmm. So you’ve got a mayor who was elected to battle the downtown elites but ended up violating the law, denying it and then admitting it while still keeping a hardy band of supporters. Toronto, call me maybe. We can compare notes, eh?

Meanwhile: Guess who’s No. 1 on Huffington Post’s list of “24 embarrassing and sometimes disgusting mayors” of recent and not-so-recent years? El Cajon’s ex-mayor makes the list too, but none of San Diego’s other scandalous mayors do.

• Here’s some news: Blockbuster is closing its remaining 300 video stores, although about 50 franchise stores may remain open. Here’s some more news: Blockbuster still has video stores? Yes, including a handful in the San Diego region.

Blockbuster’s bust may inspire longtime locals to remember the olden days when every San Diego-area neighborhood had a video store or two or three, like Blockbuster, the Wherehouse, Hollywood Video and little mom-and-pop shops.

Someday we’ll get movies beamed directly into our brains. But for now, cinephiles who want to borrow DVDs should head to the local library or Kensington Video, the grande dame of independent video stores, on Adams Avenue next to the Ken Cinema. Brain-beaming or no brain-beaming, all together now: Long may it rent.

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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