The San Diego pension board today will consider whether to make a $30 million bill disappear, at least for a while.

It’s a trick, say critics, pure sleight of hand that will hurt the city in the long run. It’s a treat, say proponents, an accounting adjustment that will allow San Diego to avoid a financial punch in the chops.

At stake are San Diego’s budget, the city’s ability to pay for vital services and the jobs of city employees. It is the long legacy of the city’s pension crisis.

Our story looks at the competing options and, like magic, explains the maniacally arcane world of pension accounting and why it matters.

In other news:

  • Do you live in Clairemont? Normal Heights, City Heights or North Park? Or maybe the Skyline district or Logan Heights?

    If the answer is yes, you may be in luck if you’re in the construction business. San Diego schools are thinking about hiring residents from these “high poverty” neighborhoods (and a few others) first when they begin spending $2.1 billion worth of construction.

  • Speaking of neighborhoods, imagine a winter homeless shelter in the upscale Rancho Bernardo/Rancho Penasquitos area. Or in the La Jolla/Carmel Valley/University City region.

    That’ll be the day, right? But the city’s CEO wants the councilmembers representing those areas, plus their six colleagues, to all come up with at least one proposed site for a shelter within their districts. The whole council will consider the sites next month.

    This will put all eight councilmembers in a pickle since few residents want a homeless shelter next door. Expect to see some extraordinary creativity on the part of councilmember offices.

    Homeless in space, anyone?

  • Mayday! Mayday! Local airport authority chairman Bob Watkins, who’s had some trouble lately with truth-telling and openness, might want to make sure his tray table is in its locked and upright position. He’s now lost the confidence of a county supervisor.
  • Also: A couple school board members want federal stimulus money but aren’t thrilled about the rules to get it. Today’s a big day for a local drugmaker’s anti-fat drug. Downtown’s biggest condo project is selling and renting units, although some are teeny. And columnist Rich Toscano tracks how supply (low) and demand (weak) are affecting home sales (up but still weak).
  • In commentary, columnist Scott Lewis has some answers for the “Oh yeah? You got any better ideas, champ?” crowd: He offers ways to get the city back on track and throws the mayor’s anti-“defeatist” language back at him.
  • A tawdry drama continued yesterday at the National City office of ACORN, the community organizing group. As we learned earlier this week, one of its employees reportedly met with a young couple posing as a prostitute/pimp combo and gave them advice about smuggling girls across the border.

    The office director stood by the employee yesterday, but announced his firing later after viewing seven minutes of an undercover video.

    But the director seemed to suggest the real villains were the filmmakers behind the video, whose “conduct was immoral.” (U-T)

  • Finally, yesterday’s Morning Report mentioned a spat over pot-smoking at the Del Mar Fairgrounds during a racetrack-sponsored Ziggy Marley concert. It turns out that this issue has been smoldering for a while: Last year, the haze at another Marley concert sparked pot-related restrictions on reggae concerts (and performers) at the county fair. (U-T)

    But the rules apparently don’t apply to events during racing season, which explains why Marley’s weed-appreciative fans were able to attend his concert earlier this month without anyone harshing their mellow.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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