Xerox, Band-Aid, Google: It’s a great thing — mostly — to turn your company’s name into a synonym for a product or a service. So who’s going to be the Kleenex or Thermos of drones?

We don’t know yet. But here’s a hint: The word “drone” isn’t likely to be part of the company’s name. As we report in a new installment in our quest to understand drones, the drone industry hopes that pesky word — “drone” — will crash and burn.

“When folks hear the word drone they usually think of large, military, weaponized systems,” an industry representative tells us. “That’s not what the commercial use of these things will look like.”

OK, so what’s a better word for a drone than, well, drone? Nothing is scoring high on the catchy-o-meter. Not “unmanned aircraft systems” nor “small unmanned aircraft” nor “unmanned aerial vehicles” nor “remotely piloted aircrafts.

Talk about droning on.

DeMaio in Hot Seat Over Borrowing Stats

Carl DeMaio, the former city councilman who’s running for Congress, has annoyed the folks at National Journal by apparently “plagiarizing” its report on members of Congress who get a pension on top of their government salary: “his ‘report’ looks like little more than a copied-and-pasted version of a National Journal database that accompanied a cover story last June on congressional double-dipping.”

Others have noted that even National Journal’s typos reappeared in DeMaio’s report.

DeMaio told the publication that he’s “mortified.” His staff produced the report about pensions, DeMaio said. But other than shifting some blame at his staff by mentioning their role, he took responsibility, saying, “I don’t throw my staff under the bus.”

The report targets incumbent Rep. Scott Peters specifically. Peters, like his rival DeMaio, is a former San Diego city councilman. But Peters says he gives away his pension.

“The campaign said he tried to decline the pension when he left the San Diego City Council, but couldn’t, and he pays taxes on the pension before he donates it,” the U-T reports.

We found National Journal’s description of the borrowed content — that DeMaio’s material reflected NJ’s “right down to the color scheme” — awfully familiar. As we reported in 2012, DeMaio found himself in another scrape 11 years ago in which a competing business accused DeMaio of copying its website “down to its color scheme.”

• The U-T notes that DeMaio’s “Double-Dippers Club” doesn’t include one member of Congress who has a military pension — Sen. John McCain. (McCain was on National Journal’s list, but DeMaio’s list removed him.)

The message is clear: Only one kind of public service gives people a pass when it comes to taking a pension while serving in office. A DeMaio spokesman said as much: “Carl feels that if it’s a military pension, that military service is different service than career government or political service.”

All About VOSD’s Valued Commenters

We’re always curious: Who exactly are our commenters?

Our webmaster, Kelly Abbott, delved into the data to take a closer look at the VOSD commentariat. Turns out their numbers are growing, and you don’t need to be on our staff to provoke dozens of commenters.

City Auditor: Property Tax Bills Could Be Wrong

“A city audit has cast doubt on the accuracy of thousands of San Diego property tax bills, which means some homeowners could be paying too much or too little in a special tax called Mello-Roos,” inewsource reports.

The auditor looked at the property tax records of 306 homes in the northwestern San Diego neighborhood of Del Sur and found that 22 homeowners “overpaid by as much as $1,000 or underpaid by $1,800.”

Police Blotter: Law Enforcement Edition

• The district attorney’s office won’t prosecute a San Diego cop who’d been arrested twice recently in La Mesa on suspicion of domestic violence. (U-T)

• Lisa Schall, an incumbent judge running for re-election, has quite a rap sheet, the U-T reports: “No other active judge among the state’s 1,827 judges on the Superior Court, appeals court and Supreme Court bench has been publicly disciplined more times than Schall has, a review of disciplinary records from the Commission on Judicial Performance shows. She has received two public admonishments and one private admonishment.”

Among other things, Schall pleaded guilty to a drunken driving charge in 2008.

Schall told us she’s learned from her mistakes in our recent guide to the upcoming judicial races.

Atkins Sworn in as Assembly Speaker

• Toni Atkins, a former San Diego city councilwoman, was sworn in yesterday as the speaker of the state Assembly.

“Many speakers took note of the new leader’s Southern twang and humble upbringing in southwestern Virginia,” the L.A. Times reports. “Atkins’ father was a coal miner and her mother a seamstress; her childhood home had no indoor plumbing or running water.”

Atkins, whose wife joined her as she took the oath of office, is the first openly gay woman to be speaker of the Assembly.

Cops Get a Raise for Working Holidays

The City Council decided Monday to spend $3.2 million to boost holiday pay for cops, the U-T reports. The story doesn’t identify how much extra pay officers get now for working holidays.

For background about how the city budget affects spending on cops, check our recent story here.

Alert: ‘Taste-and-Odor Event’ in Progress

Does your tap water taste funny? As in, funny peculiar, not funny ha-ha?

Officials say the water here is safe, but it’s tasting and smelling funny — sorta musty and dirt-like — because algae is growing in a Riverside County reservoir.

Things may get better by the end of the week, officials say, but until then we’ll just have to deal with what they call — and I’m not making this up — a “taste-and-odor event.”

By the way, it’s supposed to get hotter and hotter over the next couple of days, reaching triple digits in many places around the county by Thursday. Anyone with an anti-perspirant-averse teenager in the house won’t need to turn on the faucet to notice an “odor event.”

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president-elect of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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