The Morning Report
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Consider two San Diego institutions vying for your heart and mind.
One is John Coleman, KUSI’s pioneering weatherman. He’s the last person thousands of San Diegans see before going to bed every night. Though he has little scientific training, he recently spoke to Rotary 33 — the prestigious gathering of the city’s elite — and he brought joy and praise for supposedly explaining how global warming is a global conspiracy.
The other is the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, scientists whose research has provided some of the most crucial evidence and perspective that the Earth is changing and becoming a place less hospitable to our ecosystems, cities and lifestyles. Worse, the energy sources that power our cities and lifestyles may be the very cause.
Coleman says Scripps is a crucial conspirator in the elaborate hoax.
They’re both traveling the world telling their story. But Coleman’s “narrative is distorted, riddled with holes, falsehoods and slivers of data that skew reality,” writes Rob Davis. In his piece, Davis evaluates how Coleman has come to lead weather observers who believe they see a clearer picture of our climate than the scientists.
In other news:
- In 2003, I visited the courthouse steps to observe the regular auctions of foreclosed properties. I remember that there simply wasn’t many. You had to be in serious financial trouble to lose your house to foreclosure at that time. Home values were soaring. If you could not sell your home for more than you owed, something had to have gone terribly wrong.
Kelly Bennett went the steps last week and it is, to say the least, a much different scene. It is where San Diego’s digitally facilitated housing market reverts to its primitive roots: an in-person system of bidding for foreclosed properties and determining their true value the way humans have for centuries.
- Last summer, Mayor Jerry Sanders refused to reappoint lawyer Gil Cabrera to the city’s Ethics Commission. Sanders told the Union-Tribune that it was because the mayor wanted more diversity on the panel. When the U-T reminded him that Cabrera was, himself, a Latino, the Mayor’s Office clarified that it wanted a woman on the commission.
The mayor and City Council have since replaced him with white men. Obviously there was more to the mayor’s decision and I write about why he should have either been honest about it or just not said anything at all. By the way, the Brookings Institution just released a new, fascinating study of just how diverse San Diego is (via the U-T and KPBS).
- Our local housing and economic analyst Rich Toscano has an update: There are many ways to measure the housing market and for years, Toscano has maintained a graph of the region’s prices per square foot. The index had been going up for months now but it backed off last month. Check out his explanation of what’s happening.
- Scott Giusti is the principal at Mira Mesa High School. He has a problem: At the same time some of his brightest students were scheduled to take Advanced Placement tests that have a major impact on their futures, they were scheduled to take state tests that have no impact on their futures but a lot of impact on their school. It’s an issue our guest blogger has written about. Any thoughts on what we should do?
- Do you know any biotech entrepreneurs who took the chance, in the midst of this recession, to start a new enterprise? Claire Trageser writes that many have turned a stalled career into a chance to try out an idea they’ve had for a while — but there are some new challenges for these innovators. We are trying to gather some insight so let her know if you think of someone who might have some perspective about this experience.
- KPBS is reporting this morning that “San Diego County spent more money investigating public assistance fraud last year then it uncovered in fraud.” For background and analysis on this issue, you can always turn to our “Out of Reach” series.
- Speaking of the county, the Union-Tribune says that how the three candidates for county sheriff spent their law enforcement careers is defining their rivalry.
- The New York Times ran a fascinating profile of Anwar al-Awlaki, a “lanky, ambitious man, with the scholarly wire-rims and equal command of English and Arabic” who has become a preacher of jihad. Awlaki was once an imam in San Diego and we wrote about him in this story about the FBI’s internal conflict over whether intercepted communications from him and the mass murderer at Fort Hood, Texas had been handled properly.
- Finally, if you have not read this, you’ll want to. Former LA Mayor Richard Riordan declares bluntly: “Los Angeles is facing a terminal fiscal crisis: Between now and 2014 the city will likely declare bankruptcy. Yet Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council have been either unable or unwilling to face this fact.”
Our mayor refuses to discuss bankruptcy as an option as the city continues to dissolve and services erode. Perhaps LA will give it a try and we can have a case study for how it goes.
— SCOTT LEWIS