As we learned this week, the estimated cost of the proposed new City Hall has plummeted to $294 million from $432 million. That’s in part because the city has a lot fewer employees budgeted and doesn’t need as much space.
But the picture is more complicated than you may have realized. Mayor Jerry Sanders told us yesterday that those positions won’t be gone forever. And guess what: if they return to the payroll, the new employees will need a place to work.
It won’t be at the new City Hall — if voters approve it — because there won’t be room. They’ll end up at other locations in leased office space. But having employees in leased space — and that cost — is a main reason why the city wants to build a new City Hall
Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario: 1. The old City Hall can’t hold all the city employees. 2. A new City Hall is built, and it’s cheaper than before because there are fewer city employees. 3. Over time, the city hires more employees. They don’t fit into the new City Hall because it’s too small. 4. See No. 1.
In other news:
• The Supreme Court issued a major ruling yesterday that could mean a lot to two former San Diego city councilmen — Ralph Inzunza and Michael Zucchet — and ex-San Diego pension officials who found themselves in hot water with the law. But it’s not clear how much impact the ruling, which limited the use of the honest-services wire fraud statute, will actually have.
As we report, “the justices were unanimous in the opinion that prosecutors may continue to use the honest services law, but only in cases alleging that defendants accepted bribes or kickbacks. The justices said the government may not use the law in cases that allege a failure to disclose conflicts of interest, a theory that was also part of both cases.”
What does it all mean? Our headline puts it in simple terms: “Prosecutors’ Big Net Gets Snipped.”
• The man behind what we dubbed the “Staggering Swindle” is behind bars. He got arrested last week in Central California.
As we report, “he’d evaded authorities after federal prosecutors formally charged him a month ago with conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering in relation with a string of real estate purchases made using other people’s identities in San Diego County and elsewhere in California.”
• Speaking of real estate: They’re just two words, but “short sale” makes people want to run for the hills. (Those hills must be pretty crowded by now. I wonder what the property values are like out there? But I digress.)
The process of selling a house for less than you owe the bank can be aggravating. But, as a reader tells us, a short sale can work out great too.
• Everybody was there: reporters, big shots, city staffers, TV cameras. And, of course, food.
What was worth all this hoopla? The grand opening (actually the grand opening after a closing after an opening) of a small paid parking lot in Hillcrest next to the long-closed Pernicano’s restaurant.
• One single vote — yes, one — now separates Mary Salas (who’s in the lead) from Juan Vargas in the Democratic state primary race for a local state Senate seat. (LAT)
• And that’s not the only photo finish from the June 8 primary election. In Chula Vista, the City Council race has just flipped. Larry Breitfelder is comfortably in first place. But who will face him in general election in November? Jill Galvez just lost her lead over Patricia Aguilar. Aguilar is now 45 votes ahead. (Aguilar was supported by the new whale in South Bay politics who Scott Lewis wrote about last week, Earl Jentz).
• County Supervisor Bill Horn, facing a potentially tough reelection race, is in yet another flap: CBS8 reports that he “failed to get building permits and inspections for a room addition on his property. As a result, the Valley Center resident may not be paying his fair share of property taxes.”
Horn responded with a statement that said he’ll check to see if additional permits are necessary.
• The Geezer Bandit has struck again, this time (and for the first time) outside San Diego County. He robbed a bank yesterday in Temecula — no word on whether he stopped for a wine tasting — and used a revolver, the LAT reports.
• Lifeguards and cops want to stop “Floatopias,” those booze-fests in Mission Bay that allow drinking because people aren’t technically on the beach. (KPBS)
• Vlaidimir Kogan, a doctoral candidate at UCSD and alumni of voiceofsandiego.org, is in the news: he did a statistical analysis and found that “the 620 remaining applicants for seats on the state’s new redistricting commission are mostly affluent white male Democrats.” More than 75 percent make more than $75,000 a year. (SacBee) Now the issue is on the commission’s agenda to discuss.
• Former Mayor Susan Golding: Looking good. (SDNN)
• If you’re like me, you run for a doorway when the earth shakes. That’s what we were all taught to do. (The incessant shrieking is my own special adjustment to the protocol.) But the NCT talks to experts and provides this advice: “Drop, cover and hold on. Do not run outside. And forget about standing in a doorway.”
Oh all right. But can I still panic?
• A real-estate website has declared that a $6.5 million Mission Beach home is one of the “10 coolest beach homes for sale.”
So let’s consider. This “dream house,” which “caters to every electronic desire,” has a retractable roof, a nice view and plenty of space.
Could this house be the next San Diego football stadium? Discuss amongst yourselves.