Morning Report: What We've Learned About Bob Filner - Voice of San Diego

Morning Report

Morning Report: What We've Learned About Bob Filner

Where lobbyists donated, DeMaio misses the point, chilly endorsements and Santee mayor lets loose.


He thought he’d be a shoo-in to make it into the top two in next week’s mayoral primary. Rep. Bob Filner has more experience as a politician than any of his rivals. In a race that doesn’t feature any San Diego natives, he’s been around town just about forever. And most importantly, he’s the only major Democrat on the ballot.

As Liam Dillon shows in his guide to Filner, the congressman has offered the starkest contrast of ideas to his three main rivals and, in the bigger picture, to the last two decades of Republican leadership in the Mayor’s Office.

But it hasn’t been so easy. You could blame lax fundraising, lukewarm support from his base (CityBeat called him “cantankerous and overbearing” in an endorsement) or a campaign that never quite got off the ground.  Whatever the case, he’s got quite a battle on its hands to make the general election.

We’re offering reader’s guides to each of the major candidates this week. So far, we’ve covered Filner, Carl DeMaio and Nathan Fletcher. Up later today: Bonnie Dumanis.

• Don’t forget: Come join us on Election Night for a party. We’re hosting a special election-watching Brews and News event.

Every election, candidates, parties and special interests host their own parties around City Hall. So we figured the general public should have one too. Join us, and spend the night with our staff and other members of the Voice of San Diego community. Here are the details.

Who Lobbyists Like

The mayoral candidates regularly take digs at each other for being tied to special interests. So that got us thinking: Who among them gets the most money from City Hall lobbyists?

It’s not the only way to measure special interests, but it’s one quick way.

Data guru Keegan Kyle crunched the numbers and found that have given money to all the major mayoral candidates. At the top of the list: Fletcher. At the bottom: Filner.

Carl, Meet the Point

Councilman Carl DeMaio is touting himself as the candidate with the real plans to fix San Diego. In a campaign mailer, he quotes us to back up his education plan.

“DeMaio connects his school reform ideas to his other plans. His financial plans will guide how the district can make changes.”

But there’s a problem: the story was about how he didn’t actually have an education plan

That story also applauded him for not pandering on education. We may need to retract that.

The Noah’s Ark Opera and a Famous Director

Hundreds of local kids are preparing for a production of the opera “Noye’s Fludde,” whose olde English title refers to the story of Noah and the ark (and the flood, to be exact). Turns out that the opera has a sterling reputation among classical music fans, including filmmaker Wes Anderson.

You may be familiar with Anderson as the director of arthouse hits like “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” and “The Royal Tenenbaums.” His new movie, “Moonrise Kingdom,” features much of the music from the opera.

Our post has more details and a trailer from the film that includes a bit of the opera-heavy soundtrack.

• Here’s another tidbit for opera fans: the Reader explores why opera singers are known for having a bit of junk in their trunk, if you know what I mean. Scientists have actually looked into this, wondering if large bodies translate into better human acoustics or if the act of singing actually makes people large. So far, there’s no good answer, although the restaurant-heavy traveling schedules of opera singers may have something to do with their extra poundage.   

Our Reporter Makes the Broadcast Rounds

We have a video explainer on the talk of insolvency swirling around city schools, compliments of VOSD reporter Will Carless, his British accent and NBC 7 San Diego.

Teachers Union to Inspect District Books

Teachers union analysts will pore over the San Diego school district’s finances before teachers weigh in on whether to accept lower pay in order to stop massive layoffs, the U-T reports.

This is a big development because the district has long offered to open its books, but the union didn’t want to take a look. The analysis could provide insight into whether there’s a third option — cutting expenses outside teacher salaries — to avoid layoffs or pay cuts.

The much-respected Poway school district, where teachers and district officials get along well, found a path to better communication by allowing an inspection of its books.

• If you follow education, by the way, check this commentary by the Washington Post’s Matt Miller. He says teachers unions are key to the success of education in several other countries. There, he says, they focus on achievement instead of protecting their least effective members. Why? Because, for a variety of reasons, they don’t have many of the latter.  

SD as ‘Farmers Market Mecca’

In letters, Eugena Ossi of Poway says San Diego could become a center for markets of all kinds, from flea to farmer, and cites markets in Brooklyn and London as inspiration.

With Friends Like These

As I noted above, CityBeat endorsed Filner even while calling him “cantankerous and overbearing.” One of our commenters, meanwhile, supports DeMaio while calling him the least likeable of the mayoral candidates.

The reaction of these two guys must be: Thanks. You shouldn’t have. No really, you shouldn’t have.

I’m looking for other examples of lukewarm or positively chilly political endorsements in and around San Diego. If you’ve seen one, drop me a line.

Quick News Hits

• District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has subpoenaed a law professor’s notes from her interviews regarding ex-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s controversial shortening of the sentence of a son of a former Assembly speaker, the U-T reports.

The law professor says she doesn’t have to give up the information. A prosecutor working for Dumanis says, “I am merely seeking to obtain information that will bring transparency to clemency procedures in California and possibly to the procedures involved in this particular case.”

• My phone, and probably yours, has been busy ringing lately with robocalls supporting various politicians. CityBeat says political robocalls are illegal. And they’re probably useless.

Local pollster John Nienstedt says “using a robot to make calls is exceedingly cheap, and a consultant who buys them can tell the client he’s doing something: ‘We made 20,000 calls in support of your campaign!’ Of course, since they don’t work, the money was wasted anyway.”

• Here’s something amazing: A Chinese man asked for the Santee mayor’s autograph.

Here’s something else amazing: the mayor, Randy Voepel, told him to bug off: “The People’s Republic of China is a repressive and evil communist regime that runs a Police State. I fought in Vietnam to stop communism and will fight communism until the day I die. Please accept me as a very determined enemy, as I assume you to be to me,” reports

Voepel’s offered up some colorful global quotes in the past.

He said this to our Rob Davis about a power proposal: “We will use Viet Cong tactics. We will fight a guerilla war that never ceases. … This is a hill I will die on.”

And he told Kelly Bennett that global warming was good because, “our enemies are on the Equator” — (it’s good when they fry).

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:



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