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Stories by Pat Finn

Back-To-School Spenders May Be More Frugal This Year

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This year higher gas prices and payroll taxes may combine with an economy that some experts say is "stuck in a rut" to produce a weak back-to-school shopping season in San Diego and across the country.

Local Sociopath Writes A Memoir

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The title of M.E. Thomas' book, "Confessions Of A Sociopath: A Life Spent in Hiding in Plain Sight," is startling. A memoir by a sociopath about being a sociopath may be unique.

Roundtable: Filner Saga Rolls On; North Park vs Jack In The Box; Issa On Climate Change

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More permutations in the saga of San Diego's mayor, a Jack in the Box in North Park serves up resentment over a remodel and Congressman Darrell Issa receives an award for denying climate change.

More Filner News; Changes For Chargers And Padres; City Ambulances Often Late

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A Filner recall effort gets serious while more accusations surface. There are major changes for both the Chargers and Padres. And the city's ambulances may be frequently late but loopholes keep the contractor fine free.

Roundtable: More Filner Accusations

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More women have come forward with sexual harassment allegations against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. So far, seven women, all well-known professionals, have accused the mayor of inappropriate touching and language.

Roundtable: Mayor Filner's Bad Week, Part II

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Week two in San Diego's ongoing civic tornado finds Donna Frye erupting with anger, Mayor Bob Filner saying he has a monster inside him, Walt Ekard taking over as Chief Operating Officer and more Democrats calling on Filner to resign.

Roundtable: Filner In Trouble, Says He Needs Help

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Responding to calls for his resignation from former allies over multiple sexual harassment allegations, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner apologized via DVD Wednesday. He says he will stay in office.

Roundtable: Filner, Goldsmith, Chalk, Yoga

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San Diego's mayor and city attorney are awash in controversy and bad PR: Filner for Sunroad's donation to the city, Goldsmith for a possible violation of the Brown Act and the loss of the prosecution of "Chalkgate." Meanwhile, yoga in schools is not religious.

Roundtable: DeMaio Fundraising, Public Records Access, Teacher Training Grades

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DeMaio asserts that the Reform San Diego funds and his campaign funds are completely separate, even through they shared a P.O. box and a phone number. California legislators are backtracking on a move to gut the state's Public Records Act. Two local universities receive rare good marks in the brand-new U.S. News rankings of teacher training programs. Why don't they seem to care?

Roundtable: Underground Market For Taxi Permits, Scathing NCTD Audit, Deported Parents

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There's a burgeoning underground market in San Diego taxi permits. The North Coast Transit District has received a scathing audit of its practices. Parents deported by the INS must leave their American-born kids behind.

Roundtable: San Onofre To Shut Down, Cunningham Out Of Prison

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San Onofre to shut down for good and disgraced Congressman Randy Duke Cunningham is out of prison and on parole.

Roundtable: City Taxi Deal, District 4's Dirty Contest, Barrera Heads Labor Group, City Budget Grows

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Why are working conditions for city taxi drivers so awful? Was the District 4 council race a classic Pyrrhic victory? Is it a conflict for an SDUSD trustee to head the Labor Council? How did the mayor bump-up the city budget?

Roundtable: Cancer in Jail; Sea Wall Lawsuits; Frogs With Fungus; Mice With Alzheimer's; Undocumented Millions

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A woman dying in Las Colinas jail would be released if she were in prison. Homeowners atop the Solana Beach bluffs may sue the city. The decision to import African Clawed Frogs decades ago having dire consequences now. The landscape of undocumented immigrants in California and the nation is complex.

Roundtable: Nathan Fletcher Turns Democrat, Julian Fire Stays Volunteer, Governor Touts School Formula, Disney Idea es Muerto

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Nathan Fletcher dropped the other shoe: the blue one. Julian-Cuyamaca Fire spurns county funds to stay all-volunteer. Governor Brown's plan changes school funding formula. The Walt Disney Company may wish it was dead.

Roundtable: More NCTD Troubles, Jail Violence, Ramona Teacher Unrest, H-1b Visas

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Troubles for the North County Transit District mount. Series on high number of SD County jail deaths concludes. Ramona teachers head toward strike vote. Employers want more visas for high-skilled workers.

Roundtable: Freeway Guardrails, Housing-Eviction Details, Blue Angels Derailed

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Some San Diego freeway guardrails may actually be deadly. A zero-tolerance policy in subsidized housing produces homelessness. The Blue Angels won't fly — but will Korean missiles?

Roundtable: UT Ad Discounts, Marten's Record, Drones in San Diego, Planning Controversies

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UT-San Diego may have violated state and federal campaign laws. Measuring Cindy Marten's achievements. Drone Nation in San Diego? Community plans create controversy.

Roundtable: Jail Deaths, Peace With TMD, City Attorney's Court Record, Transit Security Update

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The death rate among inmates in San Diego County jails is unusual. There is peace in our time between the mayor and hoteliers. The city attorney's court batting average is below par. And MTS, NCTD react to security investigation.

Roundtable: Hotel Tax Judged; 10 Years In Iraq; Some Homeless Housed; Padres Fans V. Broadcasters.

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A local judge rules hotels can levy a tax without a vote. The U.S. went into Iraq 10 years ago, at great cost. Some homeless get housing, services downtown. Why no Padres, city council asks broadcasters.

Roundtable: Filner v. Hoteliers; UT-TV Examined; CPR Ethics; Drone Medal Controversy

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Mayor Filner battles San Diego hoteliers, offers ideas for the Port. The new UT-TV features some old stereotypes. Is not giving CPR unethical? Should a medal for drone pilots rank above the Bronze Star?

Roundtable: Superintendent Roulette; Sequestration Reality; Plaza Reroute; License-Plate Readers

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The San Diego Unified School Board makes a stunning announcement. Sequestration cuts are coming; is anyone upset? The mayor wants no parking in Plaza de Panama. Local law enforcement is scanning our license plates.

Roundtable: School Bond Donors; San Onofre Hearing; Homelessness Discussion; Trestles Tussle

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School districts award contracts funded by school bonds to donors that fund the bond campaigns. The CPUC holds a public hearing on San Onofre costs. Voice of San Diego gives homelessness a public airing. And it's the Marines versus the surfers at a famous San Onofre beach.

Roundtable: Border Patrol Hiring; Guest Worker Program; Gregory Canyon; Plaza de Panama; Coastal Commission Sues Navy

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The Border Patrol's hiring and training practices scrutinized. Local farmers don't use the guest worker program. The Gregory Canyon Landfill Gets Another Airing. The Coastal Commission sues the Navy. SOHO sues over Plaza de Panama.

The Big Banks: Truth, Trust In Short Supply

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More than four years after the 2008 financial meltdown, the big banks that caused the crisis are behaving as before -- taking big risks and hiding the facts from investors and the public, says University of San Diego's Frank Partnoy.

Salk Scientists Find Diabetes Drug Treats Lung Cancer

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Who'd have thought that a diabetes drug pulled from the shelves because of harmful side effects would shrink lung-cancer tumors? Scientists at Salk Institute's new Helmsley Center for Genomic Medicine had that very idea, and it's panning out.

Film Documents Renewal Of Ciudad Juarez

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When filmmaker Charlie Minn began documenting the war between rival drug cartels in Juarez, Mexico, the city was on its way to becoming the murder capital of the world. His latest documentary, the New Juarez, tells a different story.

Roundtable: Oaks Falling To Beetles; District 4 Race; Immigration Reform; One Paseo Is Huge In CV

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A little bitty beetle is making a meal of San Diego's oak trees -- and could kill them all. The race for City Council District 4 is wide open. Immigration reform may really be coming. And a proposed development is stirring up Carmel Valley folks.

Roundtable: Filner Speaks; Local Gun Control; Building Heights; Chargers Hires

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Mayor Filner's had a very busy week. Local gun control advocates are speaking up. A limit on building heights in coastal San Diego has shaped the city. And the Chargers are staying for awhile, at least, with a new coach and general manager.

Roundtable: Sara Kruzan Update; Surviving School Shootings; DIY Drones; Filner & Marijuana

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There may be a settlement in the case of a woman who killed her pimp. SDSU stages training for educators -- on how to survive school shootings; Local engineers build drones for hobbyists; Mayor Filner strongly supports medical marijuana.

Roundtable: Qualcomm Stadium, District 4 Election, Filner And Transparency, Desert Energy Plan

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Qualcomm Stadium may not be on its last down; some voters in District 4 will be disenfranchised; Mayor Filner is having transparency problems; and a new inter-agency plan tries to balance development and environment in the desert.

Second Chance Is Lifeline For Job Seekers

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Students at San Diego Second Chance--the homeless, the jobless, the under-educated, even those with a criminal record--can become productive members of society if they can learn to follow the rules.

Roundtable: Guns, City Budget, Redevelopment, Homelessness, UC & East County Images

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San Diego law enforcement agencies exchange guns for gift cards. No city budget surplus after all. City redevelopment gets smacked down. San Diego's homeless getting attention. East County and the University of California have image problems.

Todd Gloria Says He Has Not Proposed Sales Tax Increase

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Newly elected City Council President Todd Gloria told KPBS today he did not propose a tax increase to fund infrastructure repairs.

Roundtable: SANDAG's Loss, Zombie Spending, Infrastructure Ideas, Oceanside Feud

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Sandag's big, big plan gets deflated. A Senator questions Homeland Security's San Diego zombie event. Todd Gloria wants to fix your streets. And Oceanside's mayor is pretty ticked off.

Horton Plaza: Wilson's Grand Plan Gets An Update

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When Pete Wilson was elected Mayor of San Diego in 1971, downtown was a haven for tattoo parlors, seedy bars and burlesque houses, a place no respectable person wanted to visit. Times have changed.

Roundtable: Military Suicide, Women In Combat, Dogs & PTSD, City Hall Transitions

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Military issues front-and-center this week include women in combat, punishment for attempted suicide, and retraining combat dogs with PTSD. Transition issues in City Hall involve new staff, new council members and lack of space.

Demolition Begins To Make Way For Horton Plaza Park

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Work crews today began demolishing the old Robinsons- May/Planet Hollywood building at Westfield Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego to make room for a new public park.

Tourism Marketing Tax Approved, But Is It Legal?

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The San Diego City Council voted on Monday to extend for 40 years the pilot program taxing hotel rooms by up to 2 percent. The funds collected in the Tourism Marketing District will go exclusively to marketing San Diego and its amenities to tourists.

Why Did San Diego's LGBT Community Support Filner?

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San Diego's LGBT community activists are immersed in politics these days, sometimes in surprising ways. Many supported mayoral candidate Bob Filner over Carl DeMaio, who is gay.

Business Expert Explains How To Avoid Charity Scams

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When you give a donation to someone at the door or round-up your grocery bill for charity at the cash register, who gets the money? How can we tell which charities are well-run and effective?

Roundtable: Border Agent Shooting; SD Economy Improving; Salk Fundraising; La Jolla Cove Stinking

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More information surfaces about the checkered career of a Border Patrol agent who shot a mother of five; the San Diego economy is looking up; the Salk Institute needs research funds; and birds are stinking up La Jolla Cove.

Using Twitter To Predict Elections—Or The Flu

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An SDSU project is discovering how social media and websites can be mined for key words and timelines. The resulting mass of information can be used to predict events such as a presidential election.

Roundtable: Democrats Clean Up. So What Happens Now?

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Democrats have a super-majority in both state houses; they have the mayor's office and a majority on the San Diego City Council; and both the electorate and officeholders are more diverse.

Roundtable: SD Mayor, 52nd Congressional, District 3 Supervisor Races Getting Personal; Sweetwater Getting Weird

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As election season winds down, ads get emotional; Dave Roberts and Steve Dannon duke it out for supervisor sear. And a candidate for the Sweetwater school board has been indicted for various felonies.

State Superintendent Visits Patrick Henry High, Touts Prop 30

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California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is on a statewide "Strong Schools for a Strong Economy" tour in part to promote Prop. 30.

North County Cities Facing Big Election Issues

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Three candidates want to be Oceanside's mayor; Escondido voters must choose whether their city will become a charter city with more power; and Del Mar will decide whether or not to completely change the way in and out of downtown.

Roundtable: Mayoral Polling; Chargers Fans Moping; Yoga Indoctrinating; BBC Traveling

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Polling in the San Diego Mayor's race is all over the place. The Chargers have lost their last two games in embarrassing fashion. A few parents are tense over yoga in their public schools. And the BBC program "World Have Your Say" comes to Oceanside.

Sandra Fluke Campaigns For Women's Reproductive Rights

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In San Diego for a Planned Parenthood rally on Friday, Sandra Fluke believes the November election is particularly important to women.

San Diego Real Estate Looking Less Anemic

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Short sales are up, and default notices are down in San Diego. Can we see a rebound for real estate around the corner, or will real improvement prove elusive?

Roundtable: Navy/Broadway; Orchestra Nova; Bilbray/Peters; Lightner/Ellis

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The Navy's waterfront project gets a go-ahead; Jung Ho Pak leaves Orchestra Nova behind. Brian Bilbray and Scott Peters turn on each other; Sherri Lightner and Ray Ellis take it to the wire.