Good morning from Hillcrest.
- Big news yesterday from the city’s pension scandal. Five out of the six former city officials charged with violating the state’s conflict of interest laws had their charges dismissed yesterday by the California Supreme Court. The sixth, former firefighter union head Ron Saathoff, can stand trial. The difference? The court found that Saathoff benefitted uniquely and personally from the decision to underfund the city’s pension system while at the same time raising benefits, including one benefit given to him alone.
- My post on yesterday’s dismissal includes links to our prior coverage and how it affects other pension cases.
- The next city budget may seem like a ways away, but I report that time is running out if new taxes or fees are to be part of the $77 million solution for 2012. And don’t expect immediate relief from retiree health care reform, either.
- There are all sorts of connections between San Diego County and a Pacific Beach nonprofit which is on tap to receive another no-bid contract from the county today.
- In other county news, Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Pam Slater-Price is spending some of the $2 million her annual community grant fund to award $50,000 to the San Diego Opera.
- As expected, the Chargers are staying put in 2010. But the team wouldn’t commit to anything beyond that.
- City retirees shouldn’t have to worry about changes to their health care benefits, even though active employees’ retirement health benefits are a target for reform. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has opined that health care benefits for retired employees are guaranteed.
- Goldsmith also contacts the U-T to clarify remarks he made in a speech last week. He’s not urging the city look for new money, but rather said he’ll be issuing legal opinions on revenue soon.
- The Convention Center had a rough 2009, not the best news for backers of a $750 million expansion. Meantime, the region’s Convention & Visitors Bureau started a push to keep events and meetings local.
- It’s not just the permanent “strong mayor” system that will be on June’s ballot, but also adding a ninth City Council seat.
- Our Fact Check TV talks about tornados, plants at the border and pension figures.
- In news from other cities, Escondido’s budget plan has cuts that run deep: closing the performing arts center, both city pools, three parks, a library and a community center. Oceanside doesn’t have the $700,000 needed for beach replenishment.
— LIAM DILLON