We’re finally hearing from the Mexican businessman accused of illegally contributing about $500,000 to local political campaigns.

“In a wide-ranging new court filing, lawyers for Jose Susumo Azano Matsura blamed one of San Diego’s largest companies, Sempra Energy, for instigating criminal investigations against him and called the head of his private security detail the mastermind of the scheme to influence local politics,” VOSD journalist Liam Dillon reports in a new story. “Azano claimed the federal government has acted with ‘misconduct, negligence and ineptitude’ in the case against him.”

Where SD Businesses Flee: Not Texas

So where do all those local businesses go when they decide to move? Texas, maybe, or Idaho or one of those other states that have put out the welcome mat?

Nope. As we report in the latest installment of our quest to understand the local business climate, one state beats all others: California. And one metro area beats all others: San Diego.

Chula Vista Plea: Fix Things Please

We gathered Chula Vistans for a community meeting this week and heard their concerns about topics from the need for better streets and more parks and the lack of interest in paying more via sales taxes. Check our story here for more details.

If you are now or have ever been a Chula Vistan, you might enjoy this compilation of dozens and dozens of historical photos from Vintage San Diego via Facebook.

Politics Roundup: Atkins Ascends, Briefly

• The San Diego school board has released a report card for Superintendent Cindy Marten, the U-T reports. The verdict: She’s great. The board extended her contract.

• Always the bridesmaid, never the bride: San Diego-area Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, who served as interim mayor a few years ago when she was a councilwoman, got to become acting governor for part of yesterday. California’s other top leaders were out of the state, leaving her temporarily in charge.

She told the L.A. Times that she was pondering “how a young girl who grew up in poverty in Virginia ends up as speaker and therefore gets the opportunity to be acting governor.”

Atkins, by the way, will be on stage at next week’s Politifest.

• Gov. Jerry Brown continued his trip to Mexico and announced that the state will take in more of those undocumented immigrant children. (AP)

• In the wake of a demand for a federal investigation and the release of internal reports chronicling the “inhumane” abuse of children in custody, CityBeat is calling for the firing of Mack Jenkins, the chief of the county probation department.

Quick News Hits: Don’t Hose That Driveway

• New drought water-use rules are in effect statewide, the L.A. Times reports: “hosing down driveways and sidewalks is prohibited, as is watering outdoor landscapes if it causes excess runoff. In addition, water can’t be added to a decorative water feature unless it uses a recirculating system. Californians can use a hose to wash their cars only if the hose has a shut-off nozzle.”

Rule-breakers can face a fine of $500 a day.

• In L.A., an estimated 20 million gallons of water spilled around the campus after a giant water main break. NBC 7 San Diego recently did some investigation into where San Diego’s oldest water mains are and other relevant data.

• A teenage girl is facing felony charges for setting North County’s devastating Cocos wildfire in May and another fire. (U-T)

• It’s been a wrenching year for the Del Mar racetrack, where several horses have died or been killed after injury: Nine horses in nine days, the U-T reports, calling the season “nightmarish.” The track refuses to close but is making some changes.

• One of the most bizarre trials in San Diego history, if not the weirdest of all, unfolded about 14 years ago when an unlicensed surgeon nicknamed “Butcher Brown” faced murder charges in connection with his botched Tijuana operation on an elderly man who wanted his healthy leg amputated. I wrote a story about the grisly case at the time for Salon.

Last night, the cable series “Dark Temptations” profiled the case in an episode titled “No Leg to Stand On.”

• “California regulators have barred the University of Phoenix from enrolling veterans in seven popular programs at its San Diego campus,” the Center for Investigative Reporting says in new story . “The action came after auditors found the for-profit college had violated a decades-old rule to prevent the improper targeting of veterans.”

• As we mentioned in this space yesterday, the Orchids & Onions folks are accepting nominations for local architecture’s beauties and beasts. One nomination is a personal fave of mine — The awesome restoration of a Spanish Revival-style North Park power substation that I see just about every day. Wait, a substation can be attractive? Yes indeed.

On the Onion nomination list are those perplexing new city street signs with utterly confusing rules about parking by RVs and similar vehicles. The signs are “all over the city” and both “giant” and “unsightly,” a nominator complains.

Hey! Giant and unsightly things have feelings, you know! I say this as a guy who recently shopped in a J.C. Penney under a sign that said “Big & Tall/Hombres Grandes.” Sheesh. Everybody’s a critic.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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