This week, voiceofsandiego.org published its list of "Top Whoppers of 2011," a compilation of the most devastating fact checks the news organization has leveled at public officials this year. We give major props to VOSD reporter Keegan Kyle, who uncovered what we consider the Lie of the Year, County Supervisor Bill Horn's epic tall tale of his days as a civil rights activist.
But VoSD's list only includes whoppers uncovered by its journalists. Yet they weren't alone in holding people accountable. Here's the top eight fact bombs we dropped this year: ---
City Councilmember Carl DeMaio announced that he'd coordinated with the Alpha Project, a local homeless-services organization, to fill potholes, as part of a community clean-up program Alpha oversees. When CityBeat contacted Alpha Project, its staff told us they had no such thing planned. DeMaio then attempted to cover his tracks by falsely claiming that public labor unions had blocked his mission.
In April, Congress became ground zero in the battle over reproductive rights as the Republican majority in the House attempted to de-fund Planned Parenthood. In a letter to a constituent, Bilbray said he supported the amendment because it would strip the women's health organization of "Title X" funds (a federally sponsored family planning program), which, he said, can be used for abortions.
Bilbray was wrong on two counts: The Pence Amendment wasn't about Title X funds (that project was to be cut under the overall Republican budget proposal), but rather cutting off all funds from Planned Parenthood. Also, Title X money can't fund abortions anyway.
After CityBeat called bullshit, Bilbray's office retracted the statement. That doesn't erase the hypocrisy of his position on the Pence Amendment: In years past, Bilbray repeatedly expressed support for funding Planned Parenthood in candidate questionnaires.
During a video-taped interview with CityBeat, U.S. Representative and mayoral candidate Bob Filner went off on a bizarre tangent about how two local members of the media were breaching journalistic ethics by calling him "a shit" over Twitter. The two reporters, Liam Dillon of voiceofsandiego.org and Claire Trageser of the San Diego Daily Transcript (though Filner called her "Cindy") never called him anything remotely close to a shit, as this video shows.