The Morning Report
San Diego news and info
you need to take on the day.

It was a day of showdowns at City Hall yesterday. You could score it this way: the mayor won one, the mayor lost one.

The defeat came over the issue of “managed competition” — putting some city services up for bid. Two city labor unions want concessions in how the bidding process will work; negotiations with the mayor’s office were deadlocked.

By a 6-2 vote, the council told Mayor Jerry Sanders to head back to the bargaining table. The question now is whether the mayor wants his people to still be part of the process.

The victory for Sanders came over the downtown “schoobrary” project. By another 6-2 vote, the council agreed to spend more than $500,000 to accept new bids on the project.

In other action in a busy day at City Hall, San Diego’s chief operating officer released a blistering memo rebutting Councilman Carl DeMaio’s contention that canceling the schoobrary would save the city $63 million.

The COO included this zinger: “Nonetheless, your passion for trying to kill the new Main Library, at whatever the cost, is duly noted.”

Bam!

DeMaio’s office responded, but not as colorfully.

We also take a closer look at the mayor’s advisory committee, a kind of kitchen cabinet. Among its members: Bob Watkins, the trouble-plagued airport authority who recently got called on the carpet by the mayor.

In other news:

  • Former downtown redevelopment agency chief Nancy Graham may make a rare local appearance this week: a judge expects her to appear at a hearing on Friday regarding her undisclosed financial relationships.
  • San Diego schools are freezing hiring and spending unless the interim boss says it’s OK.
  • Also in education: Outside of the public eye — our reporter was politely told to scram — business and community leaders met with local educators yesterday to talk about various issues regarding San Diego schools. Attendees included supporters of former schools chief Terry Grier, who just left to take a job in Houston.
  • Local authorities brought in the media last week to launch a task force examining OxyContin, the prescription painkiller whose illegal use appears to be on the rise among local teens.

    How serious is the problem, exactly? No one seems to have a good idea. Maybe someone should form a — oh wait.

  • San Diego housing prices continued to rise in August, although a recent index showed they’re still way down — more than 38 percent — from the 2005 peak. We’ve got data and analysis from housing reporter Kelly Bennett, who checks in with real-estate gurus, and columnist Rich Toscano, who charts the summer’s “super bounce” with, as always, a bunch of charts.

    Also, our week-long online water forum continues. One panelist ponders water rates for apartment and condo dwellers, while another wonders what would happen if oil companies charged for gas the way some want the city to charge for water.

  • Elsewhere:

    A Church of Scientology spokesman denies that the San Diego branch supported the anti-gay-marriage Prop. 8. A Hollywood director linked his high-profile church defection to that supposed support. (NBC Miami)

  • CityBeat pores over medical-marijuana search warrants and reports that “law enforcement didn’t learn much that the average patient didn’t already know.” CityBeat fact-checks the district attorney too.
  • Finally, a biologist conducting research at UC Berkeley was quoted as saying this: “If you take ants from San Diego and put them next to those from San Francisco, they’ll act like they’ve known each other all their lives.”

    Will it be like a high school reunion? S.F. ant: “You’re still a poseur!” S.D. ant: “Hippie!”

RANDY DOTINGA

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