Photo by Sam Hodgson
The future of Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama is one of many uncertainties left in the wake of Filner's resignation.
Run Your Anti-Virus Program Before Your Computer Shoots Off $400,000 of Fireworks: By now, you’ve heard all about it. A computer glitch doomed the major fireworks display around San Diego Bay on July 4. Let’s quickly summarize the highs and lows of the Big Bay Bust.
Pro: San Diego made national news for something other than its pension scandal. Con: The whole country actually laughed out loud at us. Pro: The most charming Brit (read: only) on our staff, Will Carless, joined NPR to talk about the failed celebration of the day his country lost its favorite colony. Con: There are 362 days until more fireworks.
Theft Is Up, But Just a Pinch: Bar your doors! Lock your windows! Crime is on the rise!
Not so fast, pal.
County Supervisor Bill Horn claimed that theft is up 16 percent in San Diego County since state lawmakers decided to send some low-level inmates to county jails instead of state prisons. The shift also increased the number of parolees that county officials are responsible for monitoring.
We put Horn’s claim through our Fact-Check-O-Meter. The verdict? False.
In the timeframe Horn described, theft is only up slightly — about 3 percent.
Powering San Diego With Solar Won’t Be Easy: It’s a familiar campaign promise of mayoral hopeful Bob Filner. The Democratic congressman wants all of San Diego’s city buildings and schools to be solar powered in five years.
It’s an ambitious plan, but as our Liam Dillon found, it’d require an 11,000 percent increase in municipal solar production.
“So the key is whether Filner is pitching a slogan or a solution,” Dillon writes. “Actually solar-powering all city and school buildings would test the boundaries of the technology, the city’s relationship with its major energy utility and someone’s pocketbook.”
Taxpayers Could Be on the Hook in the Balboa Park Plan: San Diego’s City Council will vote Monday on Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs’ proposal to remake Balboa Park’s central plaza into a more pedestrian friendly area that’s car-free.
Jacobs has committed to fundraise for the $45 million Plaza de Panama plan except one part: A $14 million underground parking garage the city would borrow money to pay for. Projections from Jacobs’ team show that parking revenues would be enough each year for the city to pay back what it borrows.
Jacobs’ team made one promise that we found Fact Check worthy. It said it would cover all cost overruns to ensure taxpayer funds weren’t at risk from the project. But taxpayer money is at risk.
Our verdict? Misleading.
As our Kelly Bennett noted: “If the parking revenues fall short, the city would have to dip into its day-to-day operating money to make the ongoing payment.”
San Diego’s Development System Poses a Fraud Risk: San Diego’s auditor this week laid the lumber to the city department in charge of approving development permits.
The bad news: Employees could easily commit fraud without being caught, the auditor found. The department’s cumbersome computer system “makes it impossible to figure out if employees are committing fraud,” our Liam Dillon wrote.
The silver lining: The audit didn’t uncover any of the wrongdoing it said would be impossible to uncover.
The New City Council District Isn’t Meeting its Promise: When San Diego’s Redistricting Commission drew the lines for a new council district covering City Heights, Kensington and Talmadge, it said it wanted to provide fair representation to Latinos, who make up a majority of its voting base.
That wasn’t how it played out on at the polls. Our Keegan Kyle reported: “But on Election Day last month, few voters from the district’s most Latino neighborhoods showed up to pick their council representative for the next four years. Voters from white-majority areas actually played a much larger role in the election’s outcome. They represented about 60 percent of the turnout.”
Quick News Roundup
• It’s a comment-a-palooza on our website. We pick five top comments each week. Find out what one reader says is “completely broken.”
• We round up how District 9 voters voted, a free camping program for City Heights kids and more in our weekly news summary of City Heights.
Quote of the Week: “NAFTA is a disasta’,” mayoral candidate Bob Filner said, rhyming at a downtown rally against a Pacific Rim free trade zone.
Number of the Week, Part I: 7,000. Fireworks that blew up in the Big Bay Bust.
Number of the Week, Part II: 30. Seconds it took for them to explode.
Number of the Week, Part III: 16.5. Minutes it was supposed to take.
Rob Davis is a senior reporter at Voice of San Diego. You can contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.325.0529.
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