It was a boom time. Investors bought properties with low introductory rates on big loans. Now they’re getting worried.

Sound familiar?

The default of the W hotel in downtown San Diego may have provided fodder for a few jokes about the extravagantly hip hotel but to observers of the local hospitality industry, it’s no laughing matter.

Hotel revenues are down 24 percent in San Diego. The W’s competitors say they are hoping other sources of revenue and lower prices will help them survive what is becoming a brutal downturn. Any correction in the hospitality industry will not necessarily affect the broader commercial real estate market, an analyst reassures us.

That might also sound familiar.

San Diego’s legal analysts, meanwhile, have been waiting for months to learn who President Obama would appoint as the new U.S. attorney for San Diego. They may have to wait longer than they thought.

Defense lawyer Jerry Coughlan, who a committee had recommended for the top prosecutorial post, has seen his nomination hit a snag, sources told Thornton. And the secretive committee in charge of recommending someone for the job to Senator Barbara Boxer (who will recommend someone to Obama) decided to interview another candidate.

San Diego city schools appear to be both broke and overflowing with cash.

Officials announced that the deficit they were trying to close this budget cycle was now lower than they thought (again). But the newfound cash is not keeping school board members from drawing up plans to close elementary schools and raise a parcel tax.

And all of this is not keeping schools officials from going forward with a $20 million plan to help the city build a grand new central library with a school on top.

Finally, the district is also drawing up clearer policies for how parents can subsidize deteriorating schools with private charitable donations. Parents showed up at a public meeting to insist that the district take their money. District officials, however, are a bit worried they will someday be on the hook to pay for the salaries parents are funding now.

Speaking of salaries, San Diego labor leader Lorena Gonzalez said she wishes Scott Peters was still drawing one from the city of San Diego. Gonzalez said the City Council worked better under his oversight as the council president. This quote was a followup to an in-depth profile of the successes and setbacks Gonzalez and the labor council have seen politically since the election.

One of those setbacks to labor was the cut to compensation city workers absorbed. Wednesday, the mayor signed the budget made possible by those cuts but it is pretty clear that more are coming as the state prepares to “borrow” money from cities like San Diego.

In other news, both the Union-Tribune and the North County Times are reporting that San Diego county volunteer firefighters, including the leaders, may have to go on a diet. Apparently working for free comes with strings attached — namely an agreement to get in shape.


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