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Stories by Pat Finn

Roundtable: U.S. Attorney Punked; Mayor's Race; SDPD Budget; Padres In Limbo

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The San Diego U.S. Attorney's Office is in the middle of an elaborate hoax. The mayor's race is producing strange bedfellows. Scrutinizing the oversight of SDPD's budget request. And the Padres are playing better, but many can't see them.

Police Chief Lansdowne Defends Request For Increased Budget

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San Diego's low rates of violent crime have lasted for several years. Citing recent statistics that show the rates slightly higher, the department wants to increase staffing levels and improve and replace equipment after years of budget cuts.

Roundtable: Pot Clinics, Multicultural Casting, City Auditor

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Just as the feds are closing pot clinics in San Diego, other cities in the county are voting on whether to start them up; the La Jolla Playhouse issues an extraordinary apology; and the independent city auditor is dissed by the departments he is auditing.

New Program Helps San Diegans Get More Access To Legal Services

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Two months ago, California Western School of Law started the Access to Law Initiative, which places a small group of new graduates in a downtown office. The attorneys offer legal services to the poor and middle class pro bono or on a sliding scale and are mentored by professors and practicing attorneys.

Roundtable: Colorado Theater Massacre, SDPD Budget, Defense Cuts

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Roundtable: The accused shooter in a massacre at a Colorado theater has San Diego ties. There will be cuts to the defense budget that will affect San Diego; the question is how big? And is SDPD's budget request based on fact?

'Wait' Gives Procrastinators The Last Word

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Contrary to those who value snap decisions and "going with their gut," Frank Partnoy, author of "Wait: The Art And Science Of Delay," says delaying commitment until the last moment can lead to better outcomes, success and even happiness.

Roundtable: Balboa Park, Bridgepoint, Backcountry Wildlife Killings

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This week, the City Council voted cars off the Plaza de Panama; the WASC voted not to accredit Bridgepoint's Ashfrord University; and the USDA voted to keep information on backcountry wildlife killings from the press.

Is Superman Jewish?

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Larry Tye's history of the square-jawed guy in the blue tights and red cape looks at his origins, what he means to us, and how he changed when he suddenly became big business.

Roundtable: Mexican Election, Welfare Cuts, Fireworks Fail

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Mexico resurrects the Institutional Revolutionary Party with the latest election; California deals a big blow to the poor; and San Diego gets 15 seconds of international fame -- or infamy.

Lifeguards Pose Solution For Children's Pool

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San Diego lifeguards are proposing a movable barrier of boulders between seals and humans at the La Jolla Children's Pool.

Free Trade Negotiations Sneak Up On San Diego

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Just last week, it was safe to say that almost no one in San Diego had heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement. This week, the 13th round of negotiations between member nations is underway here at the Bayfront Hilton, complete with accompanying demonstrations and marches.

Hotter Temperatures Could Lead To More Wildfires, Damaged Eco-Systems

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As our climate gets warmer, the danger of wildfires increases and plants and animals lose their habitat, not only in San Diego County, but all over the West.

Roundtable: Healthcare, Soledad Cross, Stolen Valor And Military Sexual Assaults

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We look at SCOTUS rulings this week on the Affordable Care Act, the cross atop Mt. Soledad and lying about military heroism. Also, the rise in sexual assaults in the military reaches the gates of Camp Pendleton.

Redevelopment Returns With Civic San Diego

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San Diego's downtown redevelopment agency, CCDC, votes today on doing away with itself, merging with another development agency, becoming a non-profit corporation under city contract and changing its name.

SCOTUS Passes On Soledad Cross, Gives Juvenile Offenders Hope

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On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a lower court ruling that the cross on Mt. Soledad is unconstitutional and decreed that juvenile offenders cannot be sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole.

Roundtable: Courts Get Cut, Teachers Stay Employed, Kreep Becomes Judge

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What will a 21% budget cut mean to San Diego's court system? Will the teachers ratify the deal between SDUSD and the union? And how does a candidate rated "unqualified" for judge get elected anyway?

San Diego's Military, Civilian Families Face Food Stamp Cut

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Congress is considering cutting funds for food stamps in the omnibus Farm Bill as a way to keep the Defense budget intact. In an ironic twist, passage of the bill may mean the loss of food stamps for many veterans and military families.

San Onofre: Design Caused Decay

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After months of investigating the excessive wear and decay in tubes in the recently over-hauled generators at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the cause is in the heavily modified design. The NRC explained its findings at a community meeting in San Juan Capistrano Monday.

Roundtable: Election Aftermath

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The 2012 primary is history, which means voters will talk about it and shout about it. We help figure out what it means ... before we have to do it all again in November.

Tuna Was A Way of Life In San Diego

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As the San Diego History Center celebrates what the tuna industry once meant to this city, we look at those who were instrumental in making tuna the city's second largest industry and examine the reasons for its decline.

Breastfeeding Moms Silenced By The Military

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Breastfeeding in public, while serving in the military. We look at the controversy surrounding photos used for National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

Roundtable: Mayor's Race, Campaign Finances, Jails Filling Up

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The Mayoral contest features some new wrinkles, including threatened lawsuits. That race, Propositions A and B and the 52nd Congressional race have attracted large sums of money. And are San Diego jails coping with the influx of state prisoners?

Police Review Board Responds To Grand Jury Criticism

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The Citizens Review Board on Police Practices has responded to a San Diego County Grand Jury report which said the board is rife with cronyism, prejudice, intimidation and conflicts of interest. Incoming board chair Jim Kaese says the report contains errors, but the board is already addressing the issues.

52nd Congressional Race: Bilbray, Peters, Saldaña On The Issues

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In separate interviews, Brian Bilbray, Scott Peters and Lori Saldaña talk about the issues that are driving the race for the 52nd Congressional District seat, what each hopes to accomplish there and how they will do it, given the current Washington atmosphere.

Former Navy SEAL On Combat, Service & His Own Rescue

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Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and his team were ambushed in Afghanistan in 2005. He survived. The other three did not. After his return from a second tour, he reflected on his experiences in a book, Lone Survivor. His new book is a tribute to those who serve.

Roundtable: Schools & Police Board Are In Trouble, Michael Crowe Is Not

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One in five teachers likely to be laid off by San Diego Unified unless concessions -- or a miracle -- happen. The Citizens Review Board of Police Practices charged with questionable practices of its own. Michael Crowe found "factually innocent"of murder -- and he's not alone.

Denise Ducheny Is Running To Replace Bob Filner In District 51

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Denise Ducheny wants to represent the 51st District, southern San Diego County and all of Imperial County, in Congress. Her priorities include border wait times, immigration reform and veterans' issues and getting her opponent, State Senator Juan Vargas, to debate her.

Roundtable: Water rates, Port Plans, SDUSD Insolvency, Outsourcing Fire Protection

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Plans are in the news this week: to raise county water rates nearly 10 percent, to make the Port a paying proposition, to declare SDUSD insolvent, and to outsource fire protection services.

Complications Persist For Plaza De Panama Project

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A letter to the city of San Diego from the National Park Service says the plan to remove cars from the center of Balboa Park could put the park's designation as a national historical landmark at risk. But supporters of the Plaza de Panama plan say the letter is nothing more than a scare tactic.

San Miguel Fire To Outsource Fire Protection

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How can a fire district with some 80-plus employees outsource the very job it was formed to do? San Miguel Consolidated Fire District in the East County is in negotiations with CAL FIRE to do just that.

Roundtable: Same-Sex Marriage, Manchester's Moves, Props A & B

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President Obama caught up with Mayor Jerry Sanders and all four mayoral candidates this week on the issue of same-sex marriage. Doug Manchester is raising eyebrows with political endorsements, development plans and more media purchases. Do Propositions A & B solve or create problems?

Prop 28: Should We Change Term Limits In Sacramento?

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California Proposition 28, called the "Change In Term Limits Initiative," would reduce the number of years a politician can serve in the California legislature from 14 to 12. But, it would increase the time a legislator can serve in either the Assembly or the Senate.

Debate Over Prop A: Should City Ban Project Labor Agreements?

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Is it a ban or isn't it? Is it constitutional or isn't it? San Diego Proposition A on the June ballot either bans or doesn't ban the city from engaging in project labor agreements on construction projects.

Roundtable: Junior Seau, Daniel Chong, Blackout Report

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The death of Junior Seau by suicide left many asking why and what role the sport of professional football played, if any. UCSD student Daniel Chong's ordeal of deprivation while in DEA custody has infuriated legislators and made national news. And the federal government's report on the September, 2011, blackout names the usual suspect -- lack of communication.

Chargers Great Junior Seau Dead From Apparent Suicide

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Oceanside Police confirmed that Chargers great Junior Seau was found dead at his Oceanside home of an apparent gunshot wound.

Report On SD Water Rates Is Flashpoint

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A report on San Diego County water rates sounds like dry stuff. But as far as the Metropolitan Water District and the San Diego County Water Authority are concerned, it's the latest salvo in a decades-long feud.

Roundtable: Leaving Political Parties, Voting on Rent Control, Raising Hotel Taxes

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This week, several San Diego executives followed mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher's lead by bailing on their political parties; Oceanside is deciding whether to phase out rent control on 17 mobile home parks; and San Diego hoteliers voted to raise taxes on hotel rooms -- if the courts will let them.

SD City Council Gets Labor Report Card

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The San Diego Labor Council Executive Board has issued a report card for the San Diego City Council members for their voting record on issues affecting working families. Most Council members wouldn't want to take this report card home to their parents.

Roundtable: Mayoral Debate, Border Death Video, AG Reverses Kruzan Position

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The mayoral candidates mixed it up in the KPBS studio this week. New video of a homicide shows a swarm of border agents in the mix around Anastasio Hernandez Rojas. And State Attorney General Kamala Harris was mixed up about the Sara Kruzan case.

Legal Update: Michael Crowe, Job Applications, Equal Pay

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It's been a busy week in the law. Michael Crowe is asking a court to find him factually innocent of killing his sister. The state legislature considers banning consideration of present employment in hiring. And in spite of the Fair Pay Act of 2009, women in the U.S. make 84 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Roundtable: Water Rates, County Supervisor Race, City Budget

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The Metropolitan Water District plans to raise rates by 5 percent in both 2012 and 2013, in spite of attempts by the San Diego County Water Authority to cap the increases at 3 percent; the three top candidates for the County's 3rd District seat square off; and has Mayor Sanders really balanced the budget?

Poet Thomas Lux Scans San Diego

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In the mid-90s, Thomas Lux, a poetry professor at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, was asked by Judith Moore, the late editor of the San Diego Reader, to write a series of pieces on San Diego. Lux was not only a total outsider, he had never before written non-fiction.

Roundtable: Fired Up! SDG&E Customers, Escondido Latinos, Mayoral Candidates

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SDG&E wants its customers to pay the uninsured costs for the 2007 wildfires as well as future ones. Escondido Latinos say the city's at-large election system disenfranchises them. And the candidates for San Diego's mayor want to do something about education.

Can We Be Civil, Please? Restoring Civility To Public Dialogue

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From squabbling, name calling and attack ads in the presidential race to condescension and mockery at San Diego mayoral debates, it seems clear that politics is becoming less and less civil.

Roundtable: Facebooking Marine, Pension Reform, Prisons Change

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Can a U.S. Marine criticize his top boss on Facebook? Is Prop B pension reform or a fraud? Is the realignment of California's state prisons going as planned?

Visible Meltdown Of Invisible Children

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When the San Diego-based non-profit Invisible Children released the video "Kony2012" a week ago, it had almost 40 million hits on YouTube four days later. But by week's end the group was beset with negative press, including the very public meltdown of one of its founders. How will the group's millions of young supporters react?

Roundtable: Congressional Debate, Dueling Water Boards, Big Kitschy Statue

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Brian Bilbray, Scott Peters and Lori Saldana talked immigration, healthcare and gas prices during their debate this week on KPBS. The San Diego County Water Authority says the Metropolitan Water District is gouging San Diegans. The Port of San Diego overrules its own committee on a big statue.

Are SDPD's Curfew Sweeps Doing The Job?

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In 2008, the San Diego Police Department began a series of curfew sweeps in urban neighborhoods in an effort to curb violent crime and protect juveniles. Four years later, voiceofsandiego.org has taken a look at the numbers to find out if the sweeps are doing the job.

U.S. Nuclear Safety One Year After Fukushima

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It's been one year since the triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and partial nuclear meltdown hit Japan. Are U.S. nuclear plants any safer? Are we any closer to being able to predict big earthquakes?

Roundtable: San Diego's Mayoral Race

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Local editors give their takes on the race to be San Diego's next mayor and Katie Orr tells us what each candidate's hobby is.