In a new investigative report, Liam Dillon reveals how ongoing investigations into towing companies could point to the largest effort by an industry to illegally influence local campaigns in more than a decade.

Dillon talked to a former driver for a towing company who confirms a political donation he made was reimbursed by his boss — an illegal act if true.

“Local and state regulators are now investigating whether thousands of dollars in contributions from the towing industry were illegally laundered to the campaigns of five high-profile San Diego politicians over the past six years. In one case, a tow company owner has already admitted to laundering cash to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ failed 2012 mayoral bid,” Dillon reports.

Back to School

It’s the first day of school for 110,000 San Diego Unified students. (Many charters started several days ago, thus this isn’t the entire enrollment total). Trustee John Lee Evans took the opportunity to get on Twitter for the first time to promise that “Vision 2020 will continue to bring big changes to our schools for the next 5 yrs.” Last year, our Mario Koran explored Vision 2020 and how a new special agreement for La Jolla’s schools may have unveiled its vulnerability.

The Convention Center Study Faux Pas

I had some fun with last week’s NBC Fact Check segment exploring the big flub in the report that the mayor said was so persuasive, he’s going to keep trying to do what the city has failed to do for the last several years: expand the Convention Center. I was also on NBC’s Politically Speaking talking about the study and the Chargers.

Speaking of the Chargers: The Big Bogus Deadline Is Coming

This is the week of the big deadline the city gave the Chargers to get on board with the mayor’s plan for a vote in January. It’s a deadline nobody has ever thought they would actually meet.

It’s not clear what will happen now. The deadline was a product of the proposed January public vote. That vote was proposed to meet the NFL’s apparent accelerated timeline to decide which team gets to move to Los Angeles. The theory is, if we have a vote, financing and permits to build a stadium, well, the NFL would be crazy to let the team leave.

The vote can’t happen unless the City Council starts working on it now. The City Council isn’t going to start working on it now unless the Chargers are on board. The Chargers aren’t on board. And that means it’s not happening.

By default, then, we’re not going to have the vote, financing and permits in place in time for the NFL’s big decision, right? City and county leaders are going to make their case — what stands of it — in October to NFL team owners.

• It also happens to be the start of the season for the Chargers. Despite all the drama, they’ve apparently sold more season tickets than any time in the last seven years, the Union-Tribune reports.

Kooky Little Carson

Not long ago, Dillon described the road to a football in “kooky little Carson” — the Los Angeles suburb that is vying to lure the Chargers north.

Well, the place just got a little kookier. A Los Angeles Times investigation reveals some strong evidence that Carson’s elected mayor, Albert Robles, does not actually live in Carson. And that could be a big deal. Robles is the one who notoriously wore the half-Chargers, half-Raiders jersey when the teams announced they were pursuing a stadium in Carson.

Even if they find Robles is ineligible to be mayor, the Times wasn’t sure what it might mean for the myriad decisions that Robles has helped make, including the decision to approve a stadium.

Quick News Hits

• The Union-Tribune offers a window into how dancers get paid (and pay) at strip clubs from a new batch of lawsuits against three clubs alleging wage theft.

• The Union-Tribune also has some data on where bicycles get stolen in San Diego.

• “Details about how state regulators approved a deal to close San Onofre nuclear power plant and stick customers with most of the multi-billion dollar bill are likely to remain secret,” according to KPBS.

• Lifeguards are trying to stop people from jumping off a ledge at Sunset Cliffs. People have known about it for a long time but it seems to have gotten more popular. Police were posting up over the weekend.

• Proud that though my family was among the 450,000 people at the beach this weekend, we weren’t one of the 655 rescued by lifeguards.

I’m Scott Lewis, the editor in chief of Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you’d like at or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!): @vosdscott.


Partner Voices is a paid promotion that showcases the work of local nonprofits and volunteer opportunities in the community.

100 Volunteers Needed for a STEM Conference in North County

Encuentros Leadership is a nonprofit focused on helping young Latino boys succeed in school, and lowering the drop-out rates.

On Oct. 24, Encuentros Leadership will host its 12th annual STEM Career Exploration Conference at MiraCosta College where Latino boys in North County get to learn about science, technology, engineering and math careers. At the all-day conference, middle and high school boys attend workshops and exhibition booths to listen to different STEM professionals talk about their jobs and how they became successful. With one more month left before the conference, they can still use your help:

To find out more about Encuentros Leadership, read their story on Partner Voices.

Read more Partner Voices stories here and learn about all the great work local nonprofits are doing in our community.

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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