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Shape up. “Stop the half truths, unfunded mandates and budgetary gimmicks.” And if the city of San Diego can’t manage to make drastic changes and boost taxes, it should reorganize under bankruptcy proceedings.
That’s the stunning advice in a draft report written by a group of advisers to Mayor Jerry Sanders.
Why stunning? Because the draft, which our reporter Liam Dillon obtained, is so blunt about bankruptcy and other drastic options: our story says it calls for “slashing employee expenditures, reducing and outsourcing city services and gaining voter approval for dramatic staff reductions. The task force also advocates tax increases after expenses are cut.”
The draft even raises the prospect of the elimination of retiree health care benefits for city workers, although it suggests reform too.
We’ll keep a close eye on this, with an eye toward monitoring the language of the final report, expected to be publicly released within a few weeks. One of the advisers says the draft we obtained may have undergone as many as five revisions.
In other news:
- A Mexican teenager pleaded guilty yesterday to fatally shooting a Border Patrol agent in July. We were in the courtroom and recap the case, which was solved when the shooter turned himself in, partially because he feared an intense manhunt put him and his family in danger.
- It’s hard out there for a biotech entrepreneur. Money is scarce, and even keeping pledged dollars is a challenge. In this weekend’s Q&A feature, we talk to a top official at an algae biofuel start-up about venture-capitalist backbones, stimulus funding and the future of innovation.
- Also: We have more water facts, more job-market number-crunching, and more on the fuss over school fees.
- Our Photo of the Day is a keeper: It’s a shot from photographer Sam Hodgson‘s personal files of two sheep on the run in New Zealand. Our resident Kiwi (he has born there) tells me they were being chased by a sheepdog. Today’s photo soundtrack is a Beatles song said to have been inspired by another sheepdog.
- The U-T reports that “Assemblyman Joel Anderson has sent a taxpayer-financed, campaign-style mailer touting legislation aimed at a potential political rival.” Anderson, who’s under investigation over campaign funding issues, refuses to talk to the paper.
- “City Councilman Carl DeMaio and a group of building contractors are scheduled Monday to announce a ballot initiative titled ‘Competition and Transparency in City Contracting’ for the November 2010 city election.” (U-T)
- The (Long Beach) Press-Telegram bashes the $350 million desalinization plant in Carlsbad in an editorial, but its ultimate verdict on the project may surprise you.
- David Beckham: San Diego soccer-team mogul? This story from a British newspaper hints that it’s possible.
The Coffee Collection (our best reads of the week):
And Not a Drop to Discount: Water prices will keep going up and up. We explain by how much and why.
Maybe They Should Run from Office: San Diego is facing huge and painful budget cuts, just as a bunch of councilmembers get ready to face voters.
Quote of the Week: “It’s kind of embarrassing. The last time he walked into a bank in San Diego, he pointed a gun at the clerk and said, ‘What did I come in here for?’” — Jay Leno on the now-famous bank robber known as the “Geezer Bandit.”