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It’s the greatest hits list no one wants to appear on: our annual roundup of the most notorious fact checks of the year.
Here’s a roundup of the 2014 claims most deserving of the Pinocchio treatment.
The Olympic-Sized Omission
Earlier this year, a group of San Diegans was set on bringing the 2024 Olympics here, and they promoted a splashy video that aimed to show the region is almost Olympics-ready. After all, the ad claimed, more than 80 percent of Olympic venues were ready to go.
What that video didn’t mention is San Diego’s missing four very expensive facilities: two new stadiums, a basketball arena and a large aquatics center. The cost for those new buildings would likely exceed $2 billion.
The claim earned a misleading rating. After all, I wrote, it’s akin to announcing Thanksgiving dinner’s almost ready – you just have to cook the turkey.
The Most Repeated Lie
Pension reform supporters love to talk about how much cash Proposition B is saving.
Multiple politicians and mailers backing their causes claimed this year that the city has new cash to fill potholes and build fire stations thanks to savings associated with the measure, which voters approved in 2012.
But it doesn’t.
Prop. B analyses have found savings will come over three decades, not right away. The expected $1 billion in savings isn’t guaranteed, either.
The Big DUI Distortion
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith aimed to paint his office as a leader in the war against drunk driving when he claimed in June his office has a DUI conviction rate that’s better than 99 percent.
Goldsmith’s statement implied his office was more successful at busting DUI offenders for DUI than it actually is. His calculation included people arrested for DUI but convicted of lesser charges such as so-called “wet reckless” cases, which follow plea agreements. Those charges alone made up about 20 percent of the city’s DUI convictions.
That made Goldsmith’s claim misleading.
The Dirtiest Declarations
There are two clear winners here: Rep. Scott Peters and his former 52nd Congressional District race challenger Carl DeMaio, who dished out countless accusations and nasty claims about each other in the lead up to the November election.
There was Peters’ false claim that DeMaio worked for the Koch brothers, a DeMaio web ad that stated Peters “concocted a scheme to spike government pensions,” which we dubbed misleading, and a misleading Peters claim that implied DeMaio would oppose fair pay for women.
Most Shockingly True
The San Diego Police Officers Association has bemoaned officers’ paltry paychecks for the past couple years, so a union leader’s claim that experienced cops would make soon nearly $18,000 less than county sheriff’s deputies caught our attention.
It turned out to be true.
Per the city’s latest pay guidelines, San Diego police officers make a base salary of about $75,940 after four years on the job. That base rate doesn’t change in the future unless an officer is promoted.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, meanwhile, has agreed to give veteran deputies significant raises over the next several years. Their salaries will hit $93,262 in June 2017.
That’s almost an $18,000 gap.