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Mayor’s chief of staff on the hot seat, questions about Paris trip, recall gets started, more changes for Balboa Park and fuzzy mice.
Politifest, coming up this Saturday, will feature a panel of top local politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, discussing an issue that’s on just about everyone’s mind: Holy moley, now what?
The panel, officially titled “What Do We Do Now?,” will feature Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (the Assembly majority leader), City Council President Todd Gloria, City Councilman Kevin Faulconer, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and City Councilman Mark Kersey.
Keep in mind that a few of these folks may find themselves running for mayor pretty soon.
Sometimes we tire of the same old voices in news reports, which tend to be straight, white middle-aged men. But they’re just so quotable and available. Case in point: Carl Luna, a professor at a San Diego Mesa College.
We profile him in an engaging new story, capturing his hyperactive schedule during the height of Filnergate. TV stations, newspaper reporters and radio stations (even from Russia) all want a piece of his now-legendary perspective and wit. We also ask the big questions: Who is this guy? What does he get from his frenetic schedule other than exposure? (Spoiler alert: Pretty much nada.) And does he ever get things wrong? (Yes.)
It sounds a bit like that scene in “Chinatown”: She’s his chief of staff. She’s his attorney. She’s his chief of staff and his attorney.
That’s the claim of Lee Burdick, Mayor Bob Filner’s new chief of staff who is now in a battle with the city attorney’s office over whether she needs to give it documents (including “work product”) related to the harassment allegations against the mayor.
Check page 11 of the letter for a copy of an email sent by former (and ultra-temporary) chief of staff Tony Buckles on July 23. Does it look like a man who expected to leave his job the next day? As we’ve reported, the mayor’s office explanation for his departure — that it was planned — is hard to believe, and this seems like more evidence to support that view.
• Filner has been making labor and business happy. Is that why they’ve been mum about whether he should get the bum’s rush out of City Hall? VOSD reporter Liam Dillon takes a look.
• So was the mayor’s trip to Paris funded by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group or not? The trip has become a big issue among Filner critics, and the group’s legal status seems crucial to whether he followed the rules regarding gifts. We decided to get in touch with the organization itself, the Organization of Iranian-American Communities. As we report, its vice president doesn’t know if it’s an official IRS-recognized non-profit or not.
• Here comes the recall, or at least one of them: Land-use consultant Michael Pallamary, a longtime enemy of Filner who led a successful recall against a councilwoman more than two decades ago, has taken care of the first two steps required by law as of yesterday, the U-T reports.
• Filner wants the City Council to OK the use of city money to pay legal bills.
Unless you want to plop on the grass or find a picnic bench, Balboa Park isn’t a great place for those who want to sit outside and watch the world go by. But that changed over the weekend when the city added 17 tables with chairs and umbrellas to the Plaza de Panama, the area in front of the art museum that’s now mostly cleared of cars. Shade trees in planters are on their way.
It’s a nice touch. If they put in a Barcalounger and some wi-fi, I might never leave.
Meanwhile, VOSD readers filled our comment pages with lots of ideas about how to turn the pedestrian-friendly plaza into more than a pleasant place to walk around. They (and me) have lots of ideas about private food vendors and the appeal of Starbucks . We also hear about models elsewhere from the Bay Area (Tiburon) and Venice to New York City and even the Red Square.
• New VOSD investigative reporter Joel Hoffmann made his debut on VOSD Radio. Listen in to get to know him and what he thinks about the Filner scandal.
• There’s another twist in the massive South Bay corruption scandal: A school superintendent “under a criminal indictment kept sending email instructions to his staff despite the school board ordering him to stop,” NBC 7 San Diego reports.
• U-T columnist Dan McSwain looks at the dilemma facing the folks who run the now-defunct San Onofre nuclear power plant: “You can fix your nuke for free, but face political battles over restarting the plant, which cost $1 million a day to maintain in mothballs. Or you could kill the plant, and pacify your political opponents — while creating a shot at $4.5 billion in new profits.”
• Researchers at MIT are following up on San Diego research and discovering that it’s possible to implant false memories in mice, KPBS reports.
Wow. Sign me up for false memories about July 2013. Wait, what do you mean take a number?