The Property Value Protection Ordinance may have a murky and clunky name, but the man who spearheaded it — Councilman David Alvarez — has said its purpose is crystal clear. He wants banks to step up and keep foreclosed homes in good shape so they don’t turn decrepit and lower property values in neighborhoods.

It’s been a year since Alvarez, who’s running for mayor, pushed for the city measure, which created a registry of foreclosed homes so the city can go after banks that fail to maintain these homes. So how are things working out?

It’s hard to say for sure. A city official was vague about its benefits, which may be small so far because the program has barely gotten off the ground.

• The attack mailers in the mayoral campaign have mainly (or even entirely) targeted Nathan Fletcher. GOP types clearly think he’s a threat to their anointed candidate (Kevin Faulconer) and want to push both Republicans and Democrats to avoid supporting him. Now, a new pro-Fletcher mailer targets Alvarez, accusing him of being an “amateur.”

The mailer has a problem. It touts a Fletcher accomplishment — a “job-creating tax bill that needed big breaks for out-of-state businesses” — but fails to note that it didn’t become law.

• Want to dig deep into Fletcher, the whirligig candidate whose party hopping drives many Republicans (and some Democrats) crazy? Check our latest Reader’s Guide to Nathan Fletcher. It’s the first in a series of guides on the four major candidates we’ll roll out this week.

• If you missed the VOSD debate, check the video highlights we’ve compiled here.

• None of the major mayoral candidates has “privacy policies on their websites,” CityBeat reports. “Each candidate desperately wants your information. They want you to enter your names, your home addresses, email addresses, cell phone numbers and, most importantly, your money — and therefore your credit-card numbers. Yet, they won’t disclose to what extent they will share that information with third parties.”

• “Is there a difference between Faulconer and Fletcher?” asked a local voter on the website Reddit. The sound you hear is local campaign workers knocking their heads into walls.

The uninformed voter should check out a new feature in the U-T that helps residents figure out the differences between the candidates on — get this! — the issues.

Never Mind Big Mac Attack at Children’s Hospital

Yes, Rady Children’s Hospital does have its very own McDonald’s, and it doesn’t appear to like to talk about it. But the hospital and several others in the county are taking part in a statewide initiative to improve meals for patients and staff members.

VOSD food blogger Clare Leschin-Hoar has the details. Among other things, some of the hospitals are dumping their full-calorie sodas and sugary energy drinks. Hospitals are also focusing more on local and organic food.

Opinion: Say No to DeMaio, Yes to ‘Political Outsider’

Congressional elections are a year away, but there’s already plenty of heat in the 52nd District.

The district, which covers much of San Diego and the cities of Poway and Coronado, is now represented by a Democrat Scott Peters. Republicans think he’s vulnerable, and former Councilman Carl DeMaio is his leading rival. But a former Marine named Kirk Jorgensen is attacking DeMaio from the right.

In a new VOSD commentary, retired U.S. Navy captain Joseph R. John praises Jorgensen and says he’s not like Peters and DeMaio, who “go from election to election, seeking positions paid for by the taxpayers. They are men in search of the next government job, with no real purpose. They are professional politicians.”

Quick News Hits

• Cops are cracking down on noise complaints in beach areas, reports.

• Two local Republican state legislators are passing up a raise that will go into effect in December and boost salaries from $90,526 to $95,291 a year, the U-T reports. One is also refusing to take generous daily stipends for expenses.

But at least three Democrats and one Republican say they’re taking the extra pay. The others either didn’t respond to queries from the paper or, in the case of state Sen. Ben Hueso, refused to respond.

• The U-T has a Q-and-A  with local businessman and community leader Vince Mudd, who’s pushing a San Diego Olympics bid. There’s even a drawing of a possible Olympic Village.

• A Washington Post story about a “dreaded legend” in the nation’s capital profiles a woman who’s required 117 ambulance visits over the past year and has made 226 calls to 911.

The story quotes Jim Dunford, San Diego’s emergency medical director, on the risk that such frequent fliers pose to the entire 911 system: “There will come a time when one of these will call and they will cost someone else their life.”

• Talk about a food fight. The local Lions, Tigers & Bears animal sanctuary (based in the East County town Alpine) is in a big fight with an L.A.-area woman over the rights to a bear’s name, the Los Angeles Times reports. The woman helped rescue a bear called “Meatball” who kept returning to Glendale, where he liked to eat frozen Costco meatballs. (Who doesn’t?)

The bear was scheduled to be euthanized, but the woman worked to relocate him to the sanctuary. Now a heated battle has begun over who owns the rights to the bear’s name and “his” Twitter account. The sanctuary is playing hard ball, threatening to cut off Meatball’s benefactor from seeing him on its property.

Dunno about you, but I think I know enough to make a ruling about who’s being a meathead over Meatball.

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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