It’s any host’s nightmare: Pouring time and money into planning a big party, just to watch it blow up in a puff of smoke.

So imagine how the city felt when grand ideas and the bulk of a $3 million budget yielded zilch in the way of a centennial celebration for Balboa Park.

But what exactly happened? Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts dove in, uncovering how Balboa Park Celebration Inc., the nonprofit tasked with organizing the year-long party, let ambitious expectations drive their efforts into the ground.

The investigation examines just what role former Mayor Bob Filner had. For instance, initially, many wanted a forward-looking celebration. Edge 2015, is the branding they landed on. Filner hated it.

A new advertising firm was brought in to start from scratch, but Todd Gloria told us the new old-timey vision turned out to be a tough sell: “I’m not a pro at this stuff, but my sense was when you’re calling our high-tech companies about an event that … because of (Filner’s) vision of it became more backward-looking than forward-looking, it was hard for them to see a place for them in this, so their checks got smaller, or nonexistent.”

Read the rest of Lewis and Keatts’ story for a blow-by-blow of the long, slow trainwreck.

• It’s one thing to reveal what happened, but what can happen now? As Keatts and Lewis discuss in a follow-up post, quite a lot can still happen. There’s a bunch of money left and not where you might expect it.

Scaling Back Those Charter School ‘Explosion’ Metaphors

There might be more charter schools in San Diego than there once were, but it’s been more of a “steady inflation” than massive explosion, Mario Koran reports.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools sucked it up and announced they miscounted charter school students in a previous report — one we’ve cited here and there.

Their numbers before showed a 35 percent increase for 2012-13 in district students who attend charter schools, which, yes, would’ve put San Diego second in the nation for such growth. The actual rise? Less than 7 percent.

Koran points out: “The new numbers add an interesting wrinkle to the school board’s recent claim that San Diego Unified is one of the charter-friendliest in the nation.”

Fact Check: DeMaio’s a Koch-infused Nature Hater?

Rep. Scott Peters wrote in a March 21 email that his opponent in the race for 52nd District House seat, Carl DeMaio, “talks a good game on the environment, but his background working for climate-denying financiers, Charles and David Koch, proves his words are all empty rhetoric.”

Worked for? That’s based on DeMaio and the Koch bros’ past links to the Reason Foundation, a libertarian policy group. The Kochs donate to the group, and DeMaio worked in the past as a contractor for them, receiving $15,000 and $37,000 during his respective stints.

Fact Check maven Lisa Halverstadt gave Peters’ claim a False.

Aztecs Crash the Sweet 16

Despite San Diego State University’s Aztecs making it this far in the NCAA Tournament, Active Voice and VOSD sports blogger John Gennaro is keeping his expectations nice and low.

The team faces off with Arizona on Thursday, but have “favorable seeding and an inconsistent Oklahoma team to thank for getting this far,” Gennaro writes.

Check out the rest of his preview for the next match-up, which could come down to Arizona’s diversity on the offense.

Assembling Zimmerman’s Team Yanks Police Leaders out of Neighborhoods

Building up trust between officers and residents takes time, patience and demonstrated skills by the police in charge.

So communities have to start over whenever their neighborhood division captains get bumped up the ranks — exactly what happened for new Assistant Chiefs Todd Jarvis and Terry McManus.

In her op-ed, community consultant Tasha Williamson lays out the hole these promotions leave in neighborhoods, and asks Police Chief Zimmerman to consider taking replacement suggestions from residents to keep the circles of trust intact.

Quick News Hits

• Sure, Petco Park brings tons of San Diegans and tourists into a once run-down neighborhood. But a new study of the stadium’s economic impact shows that 10 years on, its presence hasn’t translated into more jobs. (NBC 7)

• Mayor Kevin Faulconer rolls out a YouTube pep talk for city employees, thanking them for their work under “trying circumstances” and gettin’ real inspirational about what’s ahead: “It’s time that creativity and innovation are rewarded at the city.”

• Speaking of K-Faulc, KPBS reports 19 people are in the running to take his vacated City Council seat, including Bruce Coons (who bowed out of the recent special mayoral election) and Karl Strauss Brewing Co. co-founder Christopher Cramer.

• The arrest of California State Sen. Leland Yee in a federal raid was all over the news. Yee is accused of conspiracy to deal firearms and wire fraud. Here’s the criminal complaint for your perusing pleasure.

Catherine Green was formerly the deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handled daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects.

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