These days, many political campaigns ghostwrite email messages for their candidates and supporters. But as Scott Lewis uncovers in a new story, Carl DeMaio has always been an innovator in this realm. This year, he took it to the extreme. His campaign ran roughly 30 dummy email accounts.

When you try to figure out the story about sexual harassment allegations that DeMaio said derailed his campaign unjustly, you have to understand DeMaio’s system of anonymity and email deception. It is essential to both his story and the claims of the man who accused DeMaio of sexual harassment. Lewis is undertaking a quest to find out who is telling the truth.

“In DeMaio’s story, you can never actually know when DeMaio is writing you or if it’s someone else pretending to be DeMaio,” Lewis writes. “You also can’t know whether a message you’re receiving from a DeMaio supporter is actually DeMaio in disguise. What’s ironic is this is central to both his and his accuser’s story of what happened. A culture of open sharing of identities went awry.”

The Worker Rules Businesses Hate the Most

When it comes to labor regulations, California is mighty friendly to workers. Too friendly, say business boosters.

And so it goes. This clash has been going on for more than a century in the Golden State, going back to the days when labor-business conflicts erupted in violence, like the bombing of a newspaper, and an epic free-speech standoff here in San Diego.

Now, these disputes play out in the state legislature instead of the streets. So what are the biggest annoyances for businesses in California, the ones that they’d kill if they could? VOSD reporter Lisa Halverstadt lists them, focusing on regulations that are unique to the state or stricter than elsewhere. They involve things like non-compete clauses (mostly banned), required sick days, advance notice of layoffs and a higher minimum wage.

There’s Cash in Them Thar Weed

A recent Nevada conference brought together “several hundred Wall Street types, tech industry disrupters, agricultural enthusiasts and assorted others” to figure out how to make money off the legalization of marijuana, the LA Times reports. “There is a massive potential. It is untapped. It is just sitting there below the surface and it is ready to come above ground,” said Emily Paxhia, who co-owns a pot hedge fund. Yes, a pot hedge fund.

There’s a complication. “Pot critics say the thirst for high returns has the marijuana industry starting to resemble Big Tobacco, with profit-hungry companies using the kind of marketing imagery and sales tactics that entice children and glamorize drug use.”

The Nevada event, by the way, included an announcement to the crowd: Don’t light up your pot in the parking lot.

Lawsuit Over San Onofre Closing

“A group of mainly San Diego County activists is suing Southern California Edison Co. and state electric power regulators over more than $3 billion in costs to close the San Onofre nuclear power plant,” the LA Times reports.

The U-T explains that the suit seeks rebates for customers of not only Southern California Edison but also SDG&E. The lawsuit also claims that state regulators have fallen down on the job.

• Back in 2011, there was scoffing at the idea that radiation from the Japan nuclear meltdown would ever reach here. But minuscule amounts — very tiny and harmless amounts, scientists say — have made their way to the ocean along the West Coast. (U-T)

The ocean is unusually warm. Seaside nuclear power plants have not been implicated. (U-T)

‘Hostile Takeover’ in North County

Two water districts that serve about 50,000 customers in the northern stretches of the county are fighting over what one calls a “hostile takeover.” (U-T)

• Water use was up by 6 percent in the county in October compared to last year. (NBC 7)

Quick News Hits: ‘Sane’ Gun Law Threatened

• At the top of VOSD’s hit parade this week: Our story that tries to unravel the weirdness in the DeMaio Imbroglio. Check the full list of the top 10 most popular stories on our site.

• “A sane gun law is under fire in San Diego,” the L.A. Times says in an editorial about the attack on concealed weapon permits.

• The sheriff’s department has shut down a Facebook fan page because a gun dealer got miffed when he wasn’t allowed to make snide comments. (U-T)

• The feds are apprehending fewer unaccompanied kids at the border. (LA Times)

• You (and by you, I mean me) might assume there’s nothing to be found in the Pacific Ocean other than seaweed, sea creatures and a shipwreck or two. How about a sunken drone? That’s what a diver found off Solana Beach, Fox 5 reports, complete with GoPro camera and accessible footage attached. The diver even located the owner, who lost it about a year ago.

Meanwhile, somewhere there’s a whale who’s wondering why the camera adds 10 tons.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists and 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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