It’s the season of political fact checks again. Lisa Halverstadt vetted this claim by City Council candidate Chris Ward: “A report on utilization rates of San Diego’s more than 100 service providers in 2015 demonstrated approximately 1,500 beds were not filled during the annual census. This represents about 30 percent of the unsheltered homeless at the same time.

The claim is false. Not only that, it “implied that we could get 30 percent of the homeless population into shelter if things just ran better. But he oversimplified the situation,” writes VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt.

The point of fact checks isn’t to nail people. This is a great example of one that helps illuminate how the system works.

• City officials have secured 28 beds for chronic drug offenders in a bid to lower homelessness and misdemeanor drug offenses. The goal is to address homelessness and misdemeanor drug offenses on the rise since Prop. 47 passed. Goldsmith hopes to eventually expand the program significantly.(U-T)

Poor Water Forecasters Give It Another Shot

You don’t need a psychic to uncover the fact that local water officials have failed at prognostication. About a decade ago, they predicted the region would use 242 billion gallons by 2015. The real number, amid the drought and conservation: 176 billion gallons.

The numbers matter because they’re used to figure out how much our region needs to spend on water projects. So what’s new? Well, as Ry Rivard reports, it’s time for another prediction, and the stakes are high: “If water officials underestimate water needs, we’ll be rationing water. If water officials overestimate demand, we’re left paying for expensive projects that aren’t needed.”

Right now, the assumption is that we’ll keep saving water. But our rates will still keep going up.

• A new report says local waters are getting more toxic, with the worst scores in the South Bay. (U-T)

Opinion: Stop Taking People’s Stuff, Police

In a VOSD commentary, the ACLU’s Margaret Dooley-Sammuli argues against “civil asset forfeiture,” a wonky term for a real threat to people’s pocketbooks: “All it takes for law enforcement to take your property under federal law is that they believe, or say they believe, that the property is related to criminal activity in some way.”

As she writes, “civil asset forfeiture has morphed into legalized highway robbery and swept up countless innocent Californians.” She supports a state bill with bipartisan support that aims to fix the system. Republican state Sen. Joel Anderson is a major advocate of the measure as well.

Signature-Gatherers Rake in the Dough

It’s a big year for big money in election signature-gathering: “In California, always a hotbed for voter initiatives, sponsors are paying up to $5.50 a signature, well above the $1 to $3 in previous statewide elections.”

We talked to a top national signature gatherer not long ago. Check out the photo of a woman checking a petition: She’s the spitting image of the character Martha from TV’s “The Americans.” Witness Protection program, perhaps?

The hits just keep on coming for local Rep. Duncan Hunter (the son of the other Rep. Duncan Hunter). An Esquire political columnist notes the scandal over his campaign fund spending, which includes a “$216 ‘food/beverages’ charge at a jewelry store in Italy that sells no ingestible goods.”

Snarks the columnist: “I admit I am a bit baffled by how he spent $216 American on food and beverages at an Italian jewelry store that doesn’t sell anything to eat or drink, unless he’s developed a jones for nibbling on uncut stones.”

A spokeswoman for former Mayor Bob Filner tells Our City San Diego about the good and bad and crazy-making of working for him.

NBC News national checks in on our anti-Trump GOP mayor.

S.D’s Inferiority Complex Strikes Again?

CityBeat columnist John R. Lamb, local journalism’s reigning Sultan of Snark, checks in on the newly renovated Horton Plaza Park.

“Some visitors weren’t sold on the notion that this 1.9-acre urban space compares to New York’s grassy Bryant Park or Chicago’s Millennium Park as city leaders would have them believe,” he writes, “but San Diego — its history steeped in an unshakable inferiority complex — can’t seem to do anything without making parallels.” He seems to like the park, though.

Yesterday we noted that Barbara Bry, the City Council candidate, would want to clarify she’s against a downtown stadium at all to be fully clear that the Citizens Plan for a potential convention center in East Village would never deliver any taxpayer support to a stadium. She did that Wednesday. Neither candidate supports money for a Chargers stadium.

North County Report: Power Plant Redo

VOSD’s weekly North County Report checks in on the latest drama over the shut-down San Onofre nuclear power plant. Plus: Development drama (in Carlsbad) and non-drama (in San Marcos), a golf course named Goat Hill Park, and a big city budget in Vista.

Quick News Hits: Tequila Up, Tequila Down

Robert McElroy, the San Diego region’s Catholic bishop, will embrace the tolerant tone of Pope Francis when he holds a synod this fall to discuss marriage and family life. Young people will be a major focus, McElroy writes, moves away from condemning couples who live together or get married civilly: “existing rules and practices which are alienating must be examined, and creative new pathways to inviting couples to the full commitment of Catholic married life must be explored.” (Catholic Reporter)

A big report on English-learners in schools is out. (EdWeek)

“A La Jolla man ordered to take down his front yard art installation that officials declared was an unpermitted structure has two more weeks before the city-imposed deadline ends and big fines could begin,” the U-T reports. “The piece is an 8-feet by 10-feet, hut-shaped, display made out of concrete, metal, glass and other materials in vivid shades of pinks, purples and turquoise.”

If you see a curb painted red, it may be legit, or somebody may have painted it illegally. One hardware store even recommends the proper kind of paint to use to break the law. The city, NBC 7 finds, doesn’t have a master map showing where red zones should actually exist.

The U-T (via the L.A. Times) profiles a San Marcos-area man who’s turning his ranch into a sanctuary for rescued farm animals.

 Turns out the folks at King Stahlman Bail Bonds liked my recent VOSD profile, as you can see by what arrived in my mailbox the other day.

Nope, nope, nope, nope.

It’s time for Throwback Thursday, our weekly look at San Diego’s past. This time, we offer Too Much Information via this 2004 Reader profile of three local news anchors: “Michael Tuck threads his bathroom tissue over the roll, ‘definitely over.’ For Carol LeBeau’s last meal, she’d eat peanut butter and jelly on fluffy white bread. And Paul Bloom wouldn’t tell me how old he is, but he does sleep naked.”

And the award for sounding the most like a real-life Ron Burgundy goes to… Paul Bloom, although Michael “…And That’s My Perspective” Tuck comes close. Although to be entirely accurate, another anchor is said to have inspired the blow-dried “Anchorman” boob: former San Diego anchor Harold Greene.

Gas prices often change every day, but it’s hard to think of any other product whose price wobbles as much over time. Wait, here’s one: Shots of tequila at San Diego’s Blind Burro.

So reports the AP, which says “tequila prices at the San Diego bar and restaurant can change every five minutes based on demand. If more people order one tequila brand, the price of another might drop.”

Bartender, I need a drink to help me cope with the tequila pricing. Oh wait, I see what you did there.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

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

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