It’s all but official.

San Diego, the eighth largest city in the nation, won’t have a competitive mayor’s race in 2016.

Ocean Beach Town Council president Gretchen Newsom, a long-shot Democratic candidate who announced she’d run for mayor in October, said late Friday she’s bowing out with less than six months to go before the June primary.

Gregory Morales, an activist who refuses to raise money, is still hoping to boot the mayor. “He is beatable, as long as it doesn’t depend on spending money or the ability for the news to control all access and representation,” he told CityBeat.

Winning an election over an incumbent will require some money though and that probably means Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican who’s gotten national exposure as one of California’s few top GOP electeds, will remain mayor of a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans.

Rethinking Downtown Public Art, Er, Developer Exhibitions

Ads for the free “Rethink Downtown” exhibit have been plastered across the city and on social media with ambiguous explanations about just what the exhibit is.

Turns out the exhibit, which includes a scale model of downtown San Diego, is the brainchild of a Canadian developer that’s built several high-rise condos downtown and big surprise: It’s not giving everyone the warm fuzzies.

Exhibit A, this comment from a local arts consultant: “It’s not really rethinking downtown or rethinking the future. It’s really just rethinking where you want to buy a house.”

VOSD’s Kinsee Morlan recently visited the exhibit and noted that while it indeed includes a wall of suggestions about ways to improve downtown and other elements about downtown’s development history, it also gives Bosa Development’s Pacific Gate tower the limelight.

Unsurprisingly, the director of sales for that project had a positive take on the developer’s foray into public art. He says they’re selling the story of downtown and that their project is part of that story.

All the Charts Not Quite Fit to Print

Government officials are known for throwing down lots of acronyms and wonky terms that confuse the people they serve.

To its credit, San Diego Unified makes lots of charts to try to help bridge the gap.  Emphasis on try.

And reporter Mario Koran rounded up some of the worst examples and ranked them. Prepare to be confused (and amused).

El Niño Hits Sacramento Early

More than a dozen San Diego area mayors want Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency so it can avoid lengthy approvals necessary to clear out flood channels before the big storm. Environmentalists aren’t too pleased with this request, as Ry Rivard explains in the latest Sacramento Report.

Also in the Sacramento Report, Sara Libby updates us on state Sen. Joel Anderson’s bid for County Supervisor (he says it’s the real despite reports to the contrary) and Assemblyman Rocky Chavez’s big week, and Maya Srikrishnan gives us the latest on California lawmakers’ trip to Paris for the climate summit.

Bill Osborne Passing U-T Opinion Oven to Matt Hall

For decades, Bill Osborne has been an institution at the Union-Tribune, most recently as the leader of the opinion section and editorial page. It was recently revealed that he had taken a buyout from the paper’s new owners and now we know who will succeed him: Matt Hall, one of the paper’s most prolific writers and the man behind it’s new newsletter, Essential California.

Osborne, who colleague Nick Canepa joked never aged, is known as a fitness buff. He offered a funny tweet of his own about the differences between Hall and himself.

Podcast: School Board Scandal Explained

Attorney Dan Gilleon joined Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis on this week’s podcast. They also review concerns about views in Solana Beach and why the city is racing to clear flood channels.

News Nibbles

• AT&T plans to bring gigabit Internet speeds to some San Diego neighborhoods. Google is still deciding whether to bring Google Fiber to San Diego. (Union-Tribune)

•  A man who drove into a crowd spectators watching the “Zombie Walk” parade at last year’s Comic-Con will avoid jail time. (10 News)

• The influential San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council announced 10 early endorsements this week but it’s mum on the mayor’s race and the contentious battle between outgoing Assembly Speaker  Toni Atkins and incumbent state Sen. Marty Block. (Times of San Diego)

• Comic-Con isn’t cool with signature gatherers’ claims that supporting attorney Cory Briggs’ hotel-tax measure will keep Comic-Con here. (Union-Tribune)

This Week’s Top Five

Here is a link to the Top 10 most-read stories of the week at Voice of San Diego. And here are the Top Five:

1. NFL to San Diego: Only Losers Hold Public Votes
Roger Goodell tells San Diego to have final stadium plans – plans that are “certain” – to the league by the end of the month. That means no vote. (Liam Dillon)

2. Tumultuous Charter School Burns Through Another Principal
Former Harriet Tubman Village Charter staff members say a board member has seized control of the school, firing three principals in quick succession. (Mario Koran)

3. Border Report: For Affordable Homes, San Diegans Go to Tijuana
The new cross-border airport terminal is a reality and where plans for a cross-border bike lane and Tijuana trolley system stand. (Enrique Limón)

4. Poway Unified Takes a Step Toward Parting Ways With Superintendent
Poway Unified Superintendent John Collins the school board each hired their own legal counsel recently to conduct urgent contract negotiations. (Ashly McGlone)

5. Union Distaste of Ritz and Whole Foods May Scuttle 7th and Market Project
Council Democrats might sink a project at 7th and Market in East Village because two businesses planned for it are unfriendly to unions. (Andrew Keatts)

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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