San Diego has a new mayor as of yesterday’s inauguration of Kevin Faulconer as master of all things municipal. But as we note in a new story, his priority list sounds mighty familiar.

Faulconer sounded several of the same notes as the last guy, the mayor most of us would rather forget: helping neglected neighborhoods, getting residents involved, improving services and supporting consensus.

Should we blame Faulconer’s speechwriter for not being very original? Not really. It’s more likely that these are the themes that drive San Diego politics.

• Everybody say “new mayor, at last”! VOSD contributing photographer Sam Hodgson took a moment away from shooting pictures for publications like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times to capture the inauguration for us. Check his favorite photos of the day here.

• According to a U-T account of his speech, Faulconer only mildly hinted at the police department’s problems and the woman who’s expected to take over as chief, saying he’s “confident that Chief Zimmerman will make the necessary changes to this department to boost morale and give each officer the support and resources they need to keep us safe — all while holding every officer to the highest levels of integrity and honor.”

• The U-T’s longtime City Hall reporter Craig Gustafson didn’t cover the inauguration speech. How come? Because he’s going to work for Faulconer: He’ll be the mayor’s press secretary, he announced on Twitter.

It’s not unusual for U-T scribes to end up working as spokespersons for local agencies, even — in some cases — the ones they covered as reporters on the job.

Behind SD’s Kindergarten Gambit

In a new story, we examine the San Diego school district’s plan to embrace “transitional kindergarten,” but not in the exact way that the state envisions. We explain what’s at stake (education for kids who’d traditionally been considered too young for kindergarten) and concerns from parents about how the new system will work.

Getting Girls to Embrace High-Tech

VOSD tech industry blogger Blair Giesen writes about the challenges facing efforts to engage women and girls in math and high tech. He writes about how his daughter was inspired by a meeting of women who have, among other things, helped create a wedding app and a health app designed to predict when medical conditions will flare up.

Nobody Holds Grudge Like This Nuisance

There are a ton of bizarre Twitter accounts with names like @faketonykrvaric, @dulldarrellissa and @fakeronnehring that mock local GOP bigwigs. Who on earth wastes their time on these instead of wasting time on Twitter more productively like the rest of us? CityBeat found out.

In a bizarre new interview, the paper talks to the person behind the parody accounts, who insists on being anonymous. The person says the accounts mostly “tweet garbage, which is entirely intentional. It takes people’s exact tweets from Twitter and automatically tweets them out under the guise of the bot. It’s plagiarism, really.”

Quick News Hits

• Federal appeals court judges are pleased that local U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy moved to overturn a criminal conviction secured by her own office

• Election trivia alert! KPBS discovers that a 1981 citywide vote-by-mail election in San Diego inspired the state of Oregon to vote entirely by mail.

• Weird “science” alert! “With California in the grips of drought, farmers throughout the state are using a mysterious and some say foolhardy tool for locating underground water: dowsers, or water witches,” the Associated Press reports.

• On the heels of the city’s decision to proclaim a day in honor of one of the alleged victims of ex-Mayor Bob Filner, KPBS takes an in-depth look at the practice of day-declaring: “Last year alone, there were more than 700 proclamations conferred in the city and county on people, causes and organizations. They had days, months, weeks, and in one case, a year declared for them.”

Why bother with all this sentimental ceremony-ing? Because it matters, said Council President Todd Gloria: “when you present them, the enthusiasm with which they’re received, I mean, people really feel honored, they appreciate the recognition.”

The city has honored at least one local journalist with a day. How about another? Hint.

But none of this day or month business. I — I mean, um, any deserving reporter — should get his or her own century.

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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