The Morning Report
San Diego news and info
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Finally, we know the dollar figure bridging the gulf between city solvency and bankruptcy.

It’s $50 million.

That’s how much San Diego city pension officials think they need to cut from the bill they send to the city or else the city will go into bankruptcy.

But wait: The city can’t just underfund its pension, right? Wouldn’t it have to engage in some fuzzy math?

Our columnist Scott Lewis thinks so. He says the city’s on the verge of taking a wrong turn and uses a Cheneyian analogy to explain what’s going on: the mayor “really is staring down the barrel of insolvency and he, and the city’s powers that be, are doing everything they possibly can to make it shoot somebody else in the face.”

Ouch.

The city pension board considered the proposal in question Friday but didn’t take action. One board member bemoaned the board being “called stupid, hysterical, panicky, enablers and conflicted.”

Maybe a fruit basket would make her feel better. But don’t think about sending one to an employee at the Centre City Development Corp. Gifts are not allowed anymore after an audit raised questions about staffers taking presents from developers.

As you may have noticed, we’ve started running obituaries about local people who have passed on. One of the most important roles of the news media is to take note of those who have left us, and we want to fulfill this crucial mission as journalism evolves.

This weekend, we chronicle the life of Robert Rackley, who worked as a lather, “wrapping the bare frames of soon-to-be buildings with tar paper and chicken wire.”

Rackley created one of San Diego’s first black-owned construction companies and helped found the Black Contractors Association.

The story was written by our newest reporter, Adrian Florido. Read how he paints a warm and realistic portrait of a man who demanded much of himself and others.

In our weekly Q&A feature, we talk to architect Jennifer Luce, who specializes in designing buildings for “artists, art institutions, creative people.”

She shares her thoughts with us about East Village’s renaissance, the importance of a new downtown library and the power of architecture to serve as a “mediator.”

Speaking of the proposed downtown library, its estimated cost has gone up by $10 million.

Up and up and up: The local unemployment rate has topped 10 percent. From June 2008 to June 2009, the county lost 54,700 jobs, writes columnist Rich Toscano.

To put that in perspective, 54,700 is larger than the population of Poway, and it’s right around the size of La Mesa and Santee.

In some it-sounds-good-but-it’s-not news, the monthly 2009-versus-2008 job loss numbers may decline, Toscano says, but only because the recession began to kick in a year ago.

The Coffee Collection (If you missed these good reads this week, check them out over a cup of java).

Hey, Didn’t You Just Retire?: A “golden handshake” can mean plenty of green for San Diego school employees leaving their jobs early, especially if they don’t actually leave.

Up in the Evening, Gone by Dawn: The homeless aren’t invisible, but sometimes they can be hard to see. Every night, miniature tent cities pop up on downtown streets as transients seek cover from darkness.

Quote of the week: “I feel privileged for the opportunity to touch those reflectors with my laser beam.” — UCSD physicist Tom Murphy, talking about his high-profile science work involving the moon.

Sorry, ladies. He tells us he’s married.

— RANDY DOTINGA

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