Several residents of Talmadge sent a big message to a local high school: No lights, no camera, no action.

The locals feared that the nighttime lights at the Hoover High stadium would cause light pollution, noise pollution and congestion, especially if the field held events beyond football games. They sued, they won and the lights went out.

Game over? Yes, and maybe not just for those who wanted to play at night. As VOSD reporter Mario Koran writes, “the verdict may impact more than just football stadiums. It potentially opens the district to future lawsuits, and could ultimately change the game for how the district pitches bond sales to the public.”

At issue: How specific do districts have to get when they try to convince residents to boost their property taxes to pay for construction and repairs? Do they have to lay everything out — reducing flexibility later on when circumstances change — or can they be a bit vague?

The Day in the Mayor’s Race

• Getting ready to vote? We’ve posted another Reader’s Guide, this time giving you the opportunity to learn about David Alvarez.

• KPBS explores the gulf among Democrats over political party-flipper Nathan Fletcher.

• KPBS reports that this is the first mayoral election in which all the major candidates have devoted significant resources to social media — Twitter and Facebook, in particular.

Social media allows candidates to let their hair (or familial fur) down, and KPBS notes a Twitter account named after Michael Aguirre’s dog. It’s actually written by a former executive, since the aforementioned basset hound isn’t adept with a keyboard.

Turns out that several other campaign accounts on Twitter and Facebook are run by people other than the candidates. The KPBS story has more about who is (and who isn’t) who, and it dips into whether any of this matters to anybody anywhere. (The answer: Surprisingly, yes!)

Out of Sight, but Not Out of Influence

In a new story, we explore why you should care about the doings of the Agriculture, Weights and Measures department, the Air Pollution Control District and the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission. All three County-level departments are a lot more interesting and powerful than their names suggest.

How City Money Trains Have Derailed

Remember the glory days of 2007, when city governments were living high on the hog with flush bank accounts and top-notch municipal services?

Me neither. Still, that was a good time for some big cities and the bust was bad. That’s the word from a new Pew report, summarized by Atlantic Cities, that looks at 30 major U.S. cities and compares their pre-recession top annual revenue to 2011.

Portland, Ore., is at the top: Its revenue is up by almost 10 percent (!). San Diego, however, ranks a bit below the middle on the list with revenue that’s more than 5 percent below the peak. Poor Sacramento is at the very bottom with 2011 revenue that’s more than 25 percent below its peak.

Quick News Hits

• Four Marines, all explosive ordnance disposal technicians, died Wednesday at Camp Pendleton while working to remove unexploded munitions from a training range. The U-T, NBC San Diego and the L.A. Times have details.

The names of the dead Marines won’t be immediately released.

• A new report from an association of local governments says spending on public safety — including cops, courts and so on — has dipped since the recession. Locally, there are much fewer sworn officers per capita than the national average.

At the same time, arrest rates have dipped, especially among minors. The brief report doesn’t offer much insight into whether that’s a case of less crime being committed or fewer cops around to arrest people.

• CityBeat takes a deep look at the city’s new urban renewal agency, which doesn’t plan to just disappear when it’s done pulling the plug on redevelopment. It wants to stick around and create “transit villages” in Encanto and City Heights.

• This one goes in the Oh No He Did Not file: The local Museum Council rejected The Museum of Creation and Earth’s bid for membership, although apparently not because the venerable Santee institution supports creationism. The tone-deaf museum president tells KPBS that anti-God-ism is at work: “It’s like we’re in Selma, Alabama in the 1950s and I want to have a museum on black Americans. Do you think I’ll be accepted by the council of museums in Selma, Alabama?”

• A discussion on Twitter broke out yesterday over which four songs would best describe the mayoral candidates and their campaigns.

Here are a few suggestions that haven’t been linked to specific candidates yet: “Stuck in the Middle With You,” “Second Hand News,” “Crazy for You” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

My favorite, of course, is a suggestion of my own: “You’re So Vain (You Probably Think This Election Is About You).” So whom does that best describe? Hey! I’m not one of the choices!

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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