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Recently, when our Scott Lewis asked U-T editor Jeff Light who his boss was, Light said it was Mike Hodges, the newspaper’s COO.

Now, Hodges is leaving. He’s going to run a local digital-marketing company called Mindgruve.

Light will remain editor but also take on duties of president and chief operating officer. That means he’ll report directly to Doug Manchester, the publisher. It also means that he’s now in charge of the business side, the advertising and delivering financial results for Manchester and his employees.

In a brief conversation with Lewis Monday, Light said he didn’t have a No. 2 at the moment.

The newspaper’s former CEO was the irascible John Lynch, one of the most quotable people in San Diego. He was pushed aside to work on “acquisitions” when Manchester gave Hodges the reins of the operation almost exactly a year ago. Hodges said then that the paper did not meet its financial goals. Now, Lynch doesn’t appear to have any role at the paper. His many promises of imminent acquisitions never materialized.

Speculation that the paper may be sold again has not died off even after Manchester bizarrely announced on the front page last year that he would not have any announcement about selling. The team put together by philanthropist Malin Burnham to purchase the paper and place it into some kind of nonprofit trust has continued working on a deal.

Senate Race Revs Up

Attorney General Kamala Harris will run for U.S. Senate to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer, but Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will not. Harris is “not testing the waters. She’s charting the course. She’s in with both feet,” said an anonymous advisor/metaphor enthusiast in a conversation with the L.A. Times.

“Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer are seriously considering bids, as are several members of Congress,” the Times reports. “On the Republican side, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez and two former state GOP chairmen are weighing runs.”

Chavez, who represents a chunk of coastal North County, is on the moderate side (he favors legal gay marriage, for instance, and opposes hard-line GOP stances on immigration) and may be more acceptable to California voters than more conservative Republicans. However, he doesn’t have much of a public profile within the county, let alone in the rest of the state.

Remember, California law says only that the top two candidates who finish in a primary move on, no matter what their party. Could two Democrats face off in a general election?

• “Jerry Brown will almost certainly never be president of the United States,” the L.A. Times not-so-boldly declares. Our current governor, now in his fourth term, is presumably unhappy about this reality. However, “if Brown were, say, 10 or more years younger, he would doubtless be in the thick of speculation over the 2016 contest and a serious contender for the Democratic nomination.”

Big Bucks for Drier Greens

Golf courses and other businesses are getting millions of dollars in subsidies to replace landscaping with drought-friendly plants, the LA Times reports. A golf course in ritzy Rancho Santa Fe, home to some of the biggest water users in the state, will get $1.6 million for its turf project.

Not everyone is delighted, however, that businesses are getting big checks instead of regular people.

Shocker! L.A. Stadium Will Need Tax Dollars

The Associated Press finds that “the developers behind a sprawling sports and housing complex in the Los Angeles suburbs — whose centerpiece stadium could become home for an NFL team — expect to recoup up to $100 million in local tax dollars in the first five years of operation.”

Never mind that a top honcho behind the proposal said “there will be no public dollars, no taxpayer dollars, used for this project.” There might be a smidgen of truth to the claim somewhere based in its wording, but it doesn’t seem to be anywhere near a completely candid and utterly non-misleading statement.

Some Hospital Visitors Get Bum’s Rush

Local Scripps hospitals are cracking down on visitors to keep flu away from patients. Visiting kids under 14 aren’t allowed to visit patients at all or even enter the hospitals, and all visitors will get screened. There may be exceptions to the rules, however. (NBC 7)

It’s shaping up to be another tough flu season in the county with 263 cases reported as of last week and two deaths in elderly people. Flu killed 70 people locally last fall and winter.

San Diego County’s deadliest epidemic came in 1918 when the Spanish Flu took the lives of 1 in every 200 residents in the county and sparked a bitter local debate over whether to close everything to protect people or keep businesses open to protect pocketbooks.

• Three local Scripps hospitals have the worst records in the county when it comes to preventing patients from getting sicker thanks to conditions (like infections) acquired in the hospital. Eight local hospitals in total are getting penalized by the feds for poor scores. The best record is at the Kaiser Permanente hospital. (U-T)

• Kaiser Permanente mental health workers are on strike. Kaiser Permanente is under fire for delaying care for mental health patients. (NBC)

• In recent years, the California medical world has been tightening up rules regarding prescriptions of certain powerful painkillers because of worries about addiction and theft. Along with the new regulations have come additional hassles for patients who need the drugs. Now, the state is considering a plan to implement San Diego County rules that are designed to make it harder for patients to get these painkillers from emergency rooms. (NBC 7)

Quick News Hits: KPBS Schedule Shakeup

• Bad news for fans of good conversation: KPBS is demoting “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” to a nighttime slot at 8 p.m. due to declining ratings. (She remains as awesome as ever, but perhaps listeners are catching her via podcast.)

The switch is part of a major shakeup of the programming schedule at the radio station. No expansion of local programming, however.

• L.A. police will use tasers that automatically switch on body cameras when they’re used. (Reuters)

• Perennial candidate Carl DeMaio is starting a new political action committee called New Generation Leadership Fund. As a name, it’s a snoozer, especially compared to one that’s come out of a nearby metroplex: the “Inland Empire Strikes PAC.

DeMaio could try for a PAC name with a similar snappy ring, but you know what they say about sequels.

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 randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

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

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