The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
Today is the big day for the new main library (with a school on top!). Yes, for many years, the project has had several “big days” in front of the San Diego City Council. In 2002, for instance, when the massive library overhaul plan it was part of was approved with great fanfare, the City Council also approved the infamous pension deal.
That pension decision has gone a long way to hurt confidence in city management and the city’s finances have been chronically imbalanced ever since.
Not a good formula for building the new grand facility like the library.
So boosters of the project have had to scrape and claw to keep their dreams alive. But they succeeded — showing off the millions they’ve raised from donors on Friday. Today, the City Council is scheduled to decide (once and for all?) whether to give it final approval or not.
Here are some things to look for: Right now, five City Council members are reliably supportive of the project. But it looks like one of the items — a contract extension with the architect — will need six votes. Who will that vote be? And what happens if they don’t find it? Nobody’s quite sure. Councilman Carl DeMaio and Councilwomen Sherri Lightner and Donna Frye have been skeptics of the plan. Will one of them switch?
And here’s how the estimate of the cost of construction of the schoobrary remained unchanged over five years. Will the council balk at the possibility that more taxpayer money could be committed to this? Finally, here’s an explainer of the project in a simple video if you need to catch up.
In other news:
• “Top employees at the San Diego County Office of Education have been allowed to avoid reporting gifts despite a California law that is supposed to ensure that the public can peek at who is paying for meals, handing out baseball tickets or giving other gifts to influential government employees,”we report.
And an official at the County Office of Education tells us the agency is updating its guidelines after we alerted a state watchdog agency of the unusual freedom afforded by the office.
• Looking for a job is not easy for anyone. But what if you’re 70 years old? What if you were accustomed to hiring people or being a mentor yourself? What can you do to attract the attention of people doing the hiring who might be younger than your own children?
Kelly Bennett talked to a few people dealing with the issue. One man half-jokes that maybe he needs to dye his hair. ‘I’m 55 and I’m scared for the first time in my career,’ says one woman.
• Councilman Carl DeMaio has been unwilling to say whether he thinks his big November ballot initiative eliminates the city’s living-wage ordinance. The city attorney would also not say. DeMaio has parried direct questions about it from us, KPBS and San Diego CityBeat. The Union-Tribune’s editorial board was the latest to put him on the spot but it’s still not completely clear. As the group deadpanned at the end of their Q&A with him: “Glad we settled that one.”
• The worries over violence in Mexico’s border towns have taken their latest victim: U.S. colleges’ study abroad and field studies programs.
The New York Times zooms in on San Diego State lecturer Victor Clark Alfaro to help tell the story. Clark used to take his classes to “Tijuana’s red-light district to let his students see firsthand how Mexicans regulate vice. He has lured smugglers out of the shadows and into his class. A big believer that studying the border requires actually being there, he has piled his students into a bus to show them one of Mexico’s most important trading posts.”
But California State schools have banned all University-run programs into Mexico. “Still,” The Times writes, “in an indication of just how subjective danger is, he defended the relative safety of Tijuana by declaring, ‘It’s not Juárez.’”
• The blog SoccerNation.com looked at Saturday’s TV ratings for the World Cup soccer match between the United States and Ghana and declared that if this country is becoming a soccer nation, San Diego is its capital. Perhaps prospects for a new football stadium in San Diego could be boosted if it included the universal football as well?
• As it made its way from the Santa Ana mountains to San Diego, the mountain lion known as M56 walked along the beaches in Camp Pendleton, found ways across major roads and even sniffed around the Wild Animal Park before making its way nearly to the border, according to a U-T account on the rare and surprising look afforded to researchers by a tracking devise on M56.
The findings showed how mountain lions can still traverse well-developed and fragmented landscapes around Southern California.
The story, which contains this nifty map, doesn’t have a happy ending, though. M56 was killed after it ate a sheep in Japatul.
• Finally, City News Service says San Diego’s least popular weather phenomenon, May Gray and June Gloom, will extend into July.
As I write, a committee is meeting to decide what to call overcast skies in July. July Ugly Sky? July Sigh?
— SCOTT LEWIS