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Good morning from Hillcrest.

  • A new San Diego City Hall proposal barreled forward yesterday as City Council entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with a Portland, Ore.-based developer to come up with a plan to build it. The city agreed to spend $705,000 for negotiations. The project is estimated at $432 million. Council voted 5-3 in favor with Council Members Carl DeMaio, Donna Frye and Sherri Lightner in opposition because the remainder of the council wouldn’t guarantee a public vote for the final decision.
  • We write about Mayor Jerry Sanders’ message on the city’s $179 million budget deficit. The recession is the primary driver, he says. Maybe not, says a think tank president.
  • We’ll stay with news affecting the city of San Diego’s budget. Before yesterday’s meeting to discuss City Hall, DeMaio and Frye held a press conference to talk about implementing a “budget scoring spreadsheet” that would evaluate cost savings of various pension reforms.
  • J. David Dominelli, who we call “a notorious local scamster,” has died. Dominelli played a key role in the ousting of former Mayor Roger Hedgecock. The Reader has news here, too.
  • San Diego News Network is reporting that public records indicate the city has spent more than allowed on an outsourcing consultant without City Council approval.
  • Today is decision day for the city’s temporary winter homeless shelter. The U-T’s opinion page says everyone should share in the homeless problem. Our own Kelly Bennett writes the city is no closer to a permanent solution.
  • Some quick city of San Diego hits. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a Grantville-inspired redevelopment law. The city is set to name a new fire chief. Those on both sides of a controversial cross atop Mount Soledad are watching a similar case unfold before the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • An embattled pension increase on the table for the Metropolitan Water District has lost the battle, as the proposal was pulled from today’s meeting agenda. The North County Times editorial page says the district acted “wisely.” District officials still need to ratify a contract with employees.
  • In other cities around San Diego County, Vista’s sales tax revenue is less than expected and Oceanside’s City Council is holding a hearing on increasing water and sewer rates.
— LIAM DILLON

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