For San Diego school officials, it may be their biggest challenge at the ballot box in more than a decade: convincing voters to shell out even more money to boost education in the city.
Sure, voters supported a big bond measure in 2008 to pay for repairs and new technology. But back then, the district asked for permission to take out a loan.
Now, the district has a new fundraising idea up its sleeve: a parcel tax that would require property owners to open their wallets annually. Owners of single family homes would pay $98 extra a year, taxes for individual apartments and condos would run $60, and businesses and industrial parcels would pay a lot more.
Our story looks at how the district wants to use the money and explores the obstacles (at the ballot box and possibly in court) that could stand in the way of making the new taxes a reality.
In other news:
• Bubbles have spelled trouble ever since those witches brewed up bad news in “Macbeth.” In the latest issue of our video series San Diego Explained, floating visual aids help us unravel the ups and downs (and poppings) of our own local real-estate bubble.
• Ouch: local housing prices dipped in June, surprising even Rich Toscano, the writer formerly known as our all-seeing and all-knowing real-estate columnist. Seemingly not stung by a rare bad prediction (we’ll let you know about any self-flagellation), he writes that even the expiring lure of double tax credits didn’t keep the market strong last month.
• The Photo of the Day should be singing “It’s a small world after all…”
• Never mind “hello.” These days, we should start every conversation with “didya feel it?” Another quake hit yesterday afternoon with an estimated magnitude of 5.4.
It was centered about 13 miles from Borrego Springs, and the LAT reports that it may have been triggered by the Easter Sunday quake.
The LAT reports that seismologists have noticed a lot more quakes than usual this year. (Duh.) “They haven’t been able to fully explain the rise, but experts have said the region had been in a lull in recent years and the frequency of quakes was probably picking up again.”
The old timers among you may remember another memorable desert-area quake: back in April 1968, the 6.5 magnitude Borrego Mountain quake struck, cutting power lines in the county, spawning landslides and “hurling large boulders downslope.”
We’ve got plenty about earthquakes in our archives, including a San Diego Explained video about local fault lines and a look at the history of quakes in San Diego, including the most recent deadly one.
By the way, here’s the quickest way to find out if the shaking you just felt was an earthquake: go to Twitter and search for “earthquake.” If there are a zillion new tweets that say “Earthquake!”, then that’s a good sign it’s not just your imagination. (I hope I’m not the only person who’s been feeling earthquakes lately when they didn’t actually happen.)
Also, preliminary quake measurements show up on the US Geological Survey website within seconds. And the Broadband Seismic Data Collection Center at UCSD has cool-looking realtime graphs.
• CityBeat has been investigating Rep. Darrell Issa and found that an analysis of “Issa’s 2010 financial disclosure statement — an annual report of his financial holdings–revealed several conflicts of interest and a real-estate deal that benefited Issa to the tune of $3 million.”
The deal, regarding property in North County, “raises red flags,” a good-government advocate told the paper, adding that “there must be some deliberate or careless pricing of the property that benefitted Issa.”
Issa didn’t comment for the story.
Another tidbit: Issa is worth at least $161 million, maybe much more.
• In other Issa news, the New York Times profiles the North County congressman on its front page, saying he’s the president’s “annoyer-in-chief”: “The press loves Darrell Issa. The feeling is mutual — and co-dependent. He is a tireless publicity-seeker with a game-show-host smile and a Bluetooth affixed to his ear. His jet-black Congressional hair is brilliantly in place and perfectly stagnant. ‘Glue,’ Mr. Issa said, is his secret. ‘That and a lot of spray.’”
• Also in North County, the NCT reports that County Supervisor Bill Horn’s failures to get proper permits for work at his house are more extensive than previously known.
• CityBeat explores how a plan to house the homeless in a downtown building at Sixth Avenue and A Street is drawing fire from all sides.
• A downtown business group wants the City Council to forget about a public vote over a proposed $293 million new City Hall and just get on with it already. (U-T)
• Also in the U-T: SDG&E wants to charge people more during peak periods and less during non-peak periods. (It would be mandatory for businesses and optional for residents.)
The idea is to force people to stop using tons of power on really hot days.
• Finally, the record chilly temperatures in the county this week made the national news.
On the bright side, we don’t have to worry about power outages like our overheated friends on the East Coast. However, a firewood shortage might be a real threat.