The Morning Report
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San Diego’s hoteliers could really use a vacation, maybe to some exotic locale where their industry isn’t falling apart.
Almost 30 hotels were in default as of December, up from six in January, and three have been repossessed.
What’s going on? As our story explains, “the trouble in San Diego’s hotel sector is about more than just a recession-driven drop-off in vacationers. It also opens a window into the risks of a complicated financing structure that allowed so many hotels to change hands at the peak of the real estate boom.”
Listen for this familiar line in the story, courtesy of a real-estate guru: “No one ever, ever, ever expected this to happen.”
In other news:
- Brace yourself: Everybody is going to go bananas over this one. The San Diego school district is revisiting the controversial topic of what to do when staffers discover a student is pregnant or is considering an abortion.
As our story explains, new proposed rules say “parents will not be notified if students wish to leave campus for confidential medical services such as abortions.” You can bet lots of folks will have something to say about this.
- As our story about declining San Diego library hours noted, three branches — in Serra Mesa, La Jolla and Point Loma — are open on Sundays? How come? Because they receive private funding, and it’s not cheap: it runs $51,000-$61,000 a year to keep a branch open.
- Oddly enough, the mayor’s office is concerned about other communities pitching in to keep their libraries open. It is, of course, a disgrace that the ninth largest city in the country has no branch libraries open on Mondays and only three on Sundays. Maybe some generous donors will step up to the check-out counter and help keep those doors open.
- By the way, there’s quite a conversation going in the comments section of this week’s library story. Drop by and tell the world what you think.
Speaking of the library, our editorial cartoonist paints an unhappy picture of the proposed new downtown library under the current library-hours scheme.
- A couple months ago, radio ads told San Diegans to water their lawns four times a week. Funny thing: We’re not supposed to do that. It’s actually illegal to soak your lawn that many times a week.
Another funny thing: the ads are still on the city’s website. Update: No, they’re not.
- We’re following up on earlier stories (here and here) about local class-action attorney Bill Lerach, who just got released from house arrest, with a piece about what a new book says about his rise and fall.
- We’ve got an extensive rebuttal to the district attorney’s office and its response to our protest at being required to pay a $1,354 fee to obtain public records.
- The Fact Check blog is on patrol and analyzes this statement: A downtown football stadium would be “taking 15 to 20 acres of land that’s sewn for high-rise residential development.” Is that true? Well. . . see for yourself.
- When there’s a will, there’s a neigh: The Photo of the Day is horsing around and could use a witty caption. Got one?
- The Chelsea King murder case is having ramifications on the other side of the country. The AP reports that “South Carolina legislators want to ban sex offenders from entering state parks after a jogger in California was killed as she ran alone.”
- In the U-T: SDG&E “promised investors yesterday that its biggest project ever, the controversial $1.9 billion Sunrise Powerlink, won’t be held up by federal bureaucrats.”
- The Wall Street Journal had the headline of the day: “Lawyers Play Speed-Date in Toyota Suit Tussle.”
Speed dating? Oooo! Pick me, pick me! Oh wait. That’s not what what’s going on.
The aforesaid tussle took place here: “Two dozen attorneys crowded into a courtroom here Thursday and made impassioned, two-minute pleas before a panel of judges. The lawyers are seeking home-court advantage for where the growing number of lawsuits filed against Toyota Motor Corp. will be heard.”
- Finally, KPBS is among the public broadcasters taking part in a $10.5 million project to create local journalism centers. KPBS will be part of a coalition of Southwest public broadcasters that will form a center called “Fronteras: The Changing America Desk.”
In an AP story, the station’s general manager is quoted as saying KPBS is devoting itself to “thoughtful analysis” because “television news in our market has gotten so sensational.”
Whatever could he mean?
KPBS honcho calls out local TV news! Film at 11! Live team coverage at 5, 6:30 and 10!