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Back during the special mayoral race in 2013, I noticed a common thread among some of the photos being shared by different candidates to promote their campaigns. They were all dudes. Like, a lot of dudes.

Photo via Faulconer campaign
Photo via Faulconer campaign

San Diego’s lifeguards endorse @NathanFletcher for mayor.

— Rachel Laing (@RachelLaing) September 6, 2013

So in the grand tradition of made-up Voice of San Diego words (see previous entries: like convadium) I decided to call them brotos (bros + photos). Since then, I’ve pointed out some of the more glaring brotos on Twitter – groups of city leaders gathering to talk about important city issues with no ladies in sight. Two intense brotos have caught my eye as of late: A photo of city and county officials gathered to talk about a possible vote on a Chargers stadium, and a photo shared by Rep. Scott Peters of a meeting aimed at attracting tech and business talent to downtown.

Basic questions about environmental law are off limits. Trust the bros.

— Scott Lewis (@vosdscott) June 9, 2015

W/ @SDPartnership Tech Startup Comm working to make Downtown SD a hub of tech to draw business & talent #GoSanDiego

— Rep. Scott Peters (@RepScottPeters) May 29, 2015

Now, don’t get me wrong. sharing these photos is mostly for fun and the chance to use a kickass made-up word. But there’s an element that’s also a little bit rage-inducing here.

A mayoral election, a decision on an enormously expensive taxpayer investment, bolstering San Diego’s cache as a destination for high-tech talent: These are all issues that affect every San Diegan, including the ones with two X chromosomes.

Photos like these don’t just highlight the fact that men are still overwhelmingly making these important decisions. The optics can turn off anyone who might want to become a decision-maker in the future. When all you see is a group of people who don’t look like you, you’re probably not going to think you have much of a shot at gaining a seat at the table.

Revisiting ‘Who Lied?’: Bosnich Did.

One of the things we learned last year in the months between a break-in at Carl DeMaio’s congressional campaign office and the end of the race was that the more anyone tried to figure out what happened, the more convoluted the whole tale became. There’s still some truth to that, even amid this week’s revelation that Bosnich has pleaded guilty to federal charges related to falsified emails he sent after the break-in happened.

Here’s the U.S. attorney’s office’s explanation of Bosnich’s crime:

“Former Carl DeMaio campaign staffer Todd Bosnich pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in federal court [Friday], admitting that he instigated and impeded an FBI investigation by sending a threatening email to himself and falsely claiming that it was likely from DeMaio.”

But that same description of Bosnich’s crime and subsequent plea deal admits that all of the other questions swirling around the break-in — Was it orchestrated by Bosnich? Did DeMaio make sexual advances toward Bosnich? When, exactly, was Bosnich fired? — are still unanswered. “The reason for his termination, as well as the events that occurred immediately before and after his termination, are a matter of dispute,” the release says.

There were holes in Bosnich’s version of events, as Scott Lewis laid out in his three-part attempt to determine what, exactly, had gone down. But there were plenty of reasons to be wary of DeMaio’s account too. Even Bosnich’s plea this week doesn’t negate the fact that DeMaio’s campaign often used ghostwritten emails and dummy email addresses.

Still, the plea goes a long way toward proving DeMaio right. Bosnich clung to his story about the threatening emails for months and even as he was given opportunities to come clean by federal investigators. He now admits that part of his story was a lie.

What VOSD Learned This Week

It was fortuitous timing that we decided to zoom in on issues surrounding the San Diego Police Department this week – just as the nation again focused its attention on an alarming incident of police aggression toward young, unarmed black people.

Here in San Diego, the program for the department’s problem officers was singled out by the Justice Department as especially bad – and we just have to trust the department that it’s fixing it, though some observers say they haven’t seen any improvements.

Nor has the public seen any improvements when it comes to transparency about the department’s body camera policies.

That program for problem cops and the use of body cameras are a couple ways the department polices itself. But there’s an outside group that’s also supposed to hold the department accountable – and a coalition of activists is trying to give it more power.

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez weighed in with an op-ed, suggesting that instead of focusing on police accountability, we should be looking to city officials, pastors and Little League coaches to foster safe communities.  (The ACLU didn’t quite see eye to eye with Chavez there.)

Finally, Caty Green put together this mega-guide to understanding your rights in all different types of encounters with police – including when they can pull you over, when they can ask whether you’re on probation, when they can enter your home without a warrant and more.

As I said, police are in the news far beyond San Diego. Here are a few great outside stories from this week: The Case Against Calling 911. New York’s police chief (who’s also L.A.’s former police chief) says it’s hard to hire black cops because “so many of them have spent time in jail.” A reporter gets up close and personal with the realities facing cops. Data artist Josh Begley visualizes police misconduct in a whole new way.

What Else VOSD Learned

• The debate over a Convention Center expansion’s been quiet since a court ruled the financing plan city officials and hoteliers cooked up was illegal. But it roared back to life this week. First, Ashly McGlone revealed that Fifth Avenue Landing, the company that leases the land next to the Convention Center – land where officials dream an expansion will exist, someday – has been paid millions to just sit on a piece of public land. Speaking of an expansion, though, the idea of building it anywhere other than directly next door has always been a nonstarter. Until, maybe, now.

 How to tell whether you should go solar, in one chart.

 San Diego Unified has been doling out space to charter schools using the same method that the state Supreme Court just found was illegal. The district says it’ll switch things up to align with the law. Another court decision this week went over better with the district: An appellate court says it doesn’t have to pay back the millions in bond money it spent on stadium lights.

• The mayor and his pals started talking about a December vote on a stadium. That doesn’t mean it will happen.

• If you’re craving some good ol’ fashion politicking, there’s a lot of it happening in Sacramento at the moment, and here in San Diego at our live podcast event featuring the candidates for City Council District 3.

What I’m Reading

How to speak fluent teenager: a challenge for parents, and a challenge for Taco Bell. (New York Times Magazine, Associated Press)

That whole theory that women in management roles actively work to keep younger women down? Yeah, that’s not true. (Guardian)

What the Bidens mean to Delaware. (Baltimore Sun)

How San Diego architect Teddy Cruz is “reimagining the American dream.” (POLITICO Magazine)

An inmate in a California prison shares her painstaking effort to start a garden without getting in trouble. (Marshall Project)

An oral history of “Clueless.” (Vanity Fair)

Line of the Week

“Men expect women to be smiling. If you don’t smile, you run the risk of having a man mistake you for something that can’t even smile, like a rock or a toaster.” – from an instructive Buzzfeed guide called Why Women Should Remember to Smile.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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