Poway’s School District Borrowed $105 million and Will Pay Back $982 million: We explained how this is possible and how Poway is not alone using these expensive schemes called capital appreciation bonds.
• We also compiled a guide for how you can see if your school district has done anything similar.
• The stories had readers talking: “Wow, if true then that is financial suicide,” went one of top thought-provoking comments picked for this week’s roundup. Add yours.
• The question is, what would you like to learn now? Who, exactly, made these decisions? Can anything be done? We’re staying on the story. Let us know what’s not clear or needs more examination.
Bob Filner Still Loves Pension Bonds: His campaign issued a statement last week saying that Filner’s idea to refinance San Diego’s giant employee pension debt with bonds was “no longer relevant.” But Filner said again this week he still plans to pursue them. Our reporter Liam Dillon has found himself flummoxed trying pin down Filner’s position on pensions.
Police Make Case for Resources Clearer: The week started with a passionate plea from police officers for consideration of a department in decline. But it contained another suspect statement of how bad crime was getting. The police want us to focus on the broader point about their declining infrastructure, the difficulty recruiting and retaining good officers and how response times are suffering with a stretched force. All these things are important to examine. But there’s also been a concerted effort to alarm the public about rising crime.
This needs to be put in context. As Editor Andrew Donohue wrote “The police upset at the media for focusing on their scary crime stats should stop using bad crime stats.”
San Diego Has a Lot of Military Personnel: Yes, you knew that. But how much? Lots of claims are flying around about the potential disaster our local economy is facing with Department of Defense cutbacks. Does San Diego have the “largest concentration of military personnel of anywhere in the United States?” We have the most uniformed military personnel, yes. But that doesn’t count civilian employees. We’ll be trying to vet claims about the military in San Diego in coming weeks. Have you heard any you think need context? Let us know.
Dotinga Needs to ‘Get a Life:’ Or so says U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch. Reporter Randy Dotinga looked into the newspaper’s new auto museum and whether the paper’s leaders got city permits for it. It may have provoked the U-T to cover its own story. Lynch told his reporter that publisher Doug Manchester needed a place to more efficiently store a bunch of vintage cars he’d gotten from a friend. And the city’s request that they get a permit for a new ramp installed for the museum is being accommodated.
Desalinated Water Deal Proposed
For years, a proposal to build a desalination plant has worked its way through regulatory hurdles seeking approval. While it still faces resistance from environmentalists concerned about the impact the ecology when it sucks water into its filters, it is on track to be built.
But none of that matters if San Diegans don’t actually agree to purchase the water it will make.
We’ve taken a giant step toward doing just that.
The Associated Press reports that the San Diego County Water Authority has offered a price for that water, which the private company building the plant has accepted. It’s quite a bit more expensive than water we currently purchase mostly from the Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles.
But water officials claim that it’s cheaper than other alternative sources of water and eventually the price will be competitive as we and other southwestern communities suck our sources of water dry. They also say that if the private company, Poseidon, doesn’t deliver, we won’t have to pay.
Our counterparts at the Texas Tribune, a nonprofit news source in Austin, recently collaborated with The New York Times on an examination of the state of desalination. In Texas, it’s already causing an increase in water rates.
Street Paving Progress, Still Not Enough
U-T San Diego noted that 300 miles of streets were paved in the last fiscal year, “nearly double what was paved in 2010 and 2011 combined.”
We’ve explored the streets situation in depth. While the slurry-seal work is progress, even with it, streets are still expected to get worse over the next five years.
Tony Krvaric: Name-Caller, But Winning
The U-T’s Christopher Cadelago has posted a long profile of Tony Krvaric the head of the Republican Party of San Diego.
I find the continuing evolution of the Republican Party here to be fascinating and last posted about its validation after Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher’s defection threatened the two major parties’ role in local power structures.
The Week in City Heights
Each week we roundup all the best coverage from the Speak City Heights media collaborative. Included in this week’s edition: all the sounds of City Heights that were pulled together for a local artist’s collection, and remembering slain police officer Jeremy Henwood.
Local Feminist Mormon Professor Goes Big
Jon Stewart interviewed San Diego State University’s Joanna Brooks on The Daily Show on Thursday. And they did an extended interview for the web where they talked about Mitt Romney’s faith and the Mormons’ focus on survivalism. We interviewed Brooks, a self-described “Mormon liberal,” in this Q&A last year.
Her “The Book of Mormon Girl” was self-published but has gotten picked up by publishers.
Behind the Scenes of a Hoax
The activists who pulled off the U.S. Attorney hoax last week have written a tell-all account of how they pulled it off.
More Budget Pressure
The city of San Diego’s pension system didn’t earn nearly as much as it expected this year in investments, meaning the next mayor will likely have a bigger bill to pay as he tries to deliver on all the promises that he’s been making.
Quote of the Week
“If they ever told the truth, they would never get these approved by the voters.”
— Glenn Byers, Los Angeles County’s assistant treasurer and tax collector, on Poway Unified School District’s costly construction bond.
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