The climax of the the Fact Check Whopper of the Year was like Iowa Caucus night.
Heading into the final day, the pundits all-but-guaranteed that the longtime front-runner, Supervisor Bill Horn, had it wrapped up. His bogus claim about his incarceration while fighting for civil rights was the whopper to beat. It was a whopper that led to more whoppers — a multi-dimensional whopper.
It was a miracle whopper, people thought dead were found alive.
But then, another candidate surged. Voters gravitated to Port Commissioner Steve Cushman, who had boldly claimed in a public forum broadcast on city television that he and his counterparts were planning on using “no general fund” money for a major expansion of the Convention Center. Not true. At all.
As one reader wrote us, pleading for a Cushman victory: “Lying about future costs is more important than lying about past performance.”
It was a good argument. The suspense heightened.
In the end, Horn emerged victorious, becoming the proud recipient of voiceofsandiego.org’s 2nd Annual Whopper of the Year. Read how it all played out here.
• And congratulations to our Fact Check team, particularly Keegan Kyle. It’s a controversial and stressful endeavor and Kyle did an excellent job managing it in 2011. Perhaps, because of his effort, there will be no whoppers in 2012.
Solar Turbines Lovefest
A vast collection of local politicians gathered in the parking lot of Solar Turbines on Pacific Highway Friday to rally for the manufacturer. The company continues to raise concerns about an apartment building planned across the street at the site of Fat City.
As I wrote last month, Solar Turbines is one of many fighting off an army of homes marching on the waterfront. It’s afraid it won’t be able to secure new pollution permits to experiment with manufacturing techniques if people move in across the street. (Here’s the San Diego Explained version for TV).
But the proposed homes comply perfectly with a community plan that was updated in 2006. Solar Turbines lost that battle. Fat City’s owners and the housing developer think they can coexist.
Three of the four major mayoral candidates (minus Bob Filner) were there. Labor, business, city, county and other officials were all represented.
One notable figure was not: Mayor Jerry Sanders. When I inquired many weeks ago, his office said it wasn’t appropriate for him to take a side on the issue.
• KPBS reported that city redevelopment staff were siding with Solar Turbines and the board would decide whether to approve the project or not.
Snapdragon vs. the City Attorney
After clamming up Thursday, Mayor Jerry Sanders released a statement Friday explaining why he ignored the city attorney’s opinion that letting Qualcomm rename Qualcomm Stadium to Snapdragon Stadium for a couple of weeks was illegal without a City Council vote.
The issue brings up interesting implications. Can Petco change the name of Petco Park from time to time to promote a new product? Is the name just a name, or is it dynamic advertising space the sponsor can change? It obviously had value during a nationally televised football game. Did the city leave money on the table?
The mayor said asking Qualcomm for money would have been a “shakedown.” He didn’t address why he went around the City Council to strike the deal.
The Guy Who Paints the Walls at Cool Restaurants
Not only do places like El Camino and Cucina Urbana serve up a good meal, they’ve got some unique art on their walls. Our weekly Q&A is with Tocayo, the Cuban-born artist who’s painted those walls. We chat with him about doing art while working a 9-to-5 and the overlap between Cuban and Mexican cultures.
What We Learned This Week
The DA’s Public Integrity Unit Is Alive!: District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis brought criminal corruption charges against five people connected to the Sweetwater Union High School District. Until then, only three of the 88 prosecutions Dumanis had claimed were public integrity cases involved politicians or public officials. Want to go more in depth? Our 2009 story showed how low-ranked firms won bond contracts at Sweetwater. Dumanis got our Hero of the Week award on VOSD Radio (mp3).
Candidates Love Education: First Nathan Fletcher went on an education listening tour, now Dumanis has gone bigger: She laid out a plan to give the mayor (her, she hopes) the power to appoint four additional members to the San Diego Unified School District’s board of education. We ended up making this one of the main topics of Friday’s KPBS Midday Roundtable.
New Owners, New Name: As editor Andrew Donohue joked this week, who would have thought that Chargers coach Norv Turner would outlast the name “Union-Tribune?” But Turner remains the coach and the Union-Tribune became “U-T San Diego.” New publisher Doug Manchester also eliminated the longtime name of its website “SignOnSanDiego.com.”
Council Prez Doesn’t Want to Take Sides: San Diego City Council President Tony Young doesn’t want you to know what he thinks about a ballot measure to reform pensions for new city employees. Same with his preference for the next mayor. He also doesn’t want to throw rocks.
Watch Out, Mustache Droppin’ In!
A gallery of user photos of the big ocean swell highlighted on U-T San Diego this week captured our own Will Carless dropping in on a big wave. “What you can’t see is me getting WORKED on the inside shortly after this photo was taken,” he later wrote.
Quote of the Week
“As of October, real home prices (as measured by the inflation-adjusted aggregate Case-Shiller index) were the lowest they’d been since February 2001,” wrote Rich Toscano.
Quote of the Week II
“If you want to build stadiums on taxpayer dime, you are NOT a conservative,” wrote FlashReport’s Jon Fleischman on Twitter.
Number of the Week
$10,317 — That’s the average cost after “need-based aid” to attend UCSD, which was named one of the best values in the country.