Politicians on both sides of the aisle are big fans of a program that uses federal stimulus money to create jobs for unemployed poor people. It does so by subsidizing businesses that hire people on welfare.

But, as we discovered, the county of San Diego turned down the funding, rejecting an opportunity to lower the local unemployment rate. A spokeswoman said the county didn’t go for the money “due to timing and risk,” adding that local funding was necessary, a tough sell to the county supervisors.

One county supervisor is miffed that he and his colleagues didn’t get a chance to vote on the decision.

In other news:

• Remember that sales-tax trial balloon? Someone or multiple someones — it was all a bit murky but the mayor was involved — floated the idea of raising the sales tax in San Diego to boost dwindling municipal services.

Well, pop goes the trial balloon: It turns out Mayor Jerry Sanders won’t support the “purported” tax hike. Meanwhile, an “unprecedented” coalition — actually, the usual suspects anyone would expect to oppose a tax hike — tried to kill the proposal in its cradle at a press conference.

It may be a stretch to call it a proposal. It’s more of an un-proposal: an idea a person or persons (mostly) unknown shopped around in a cover-your-backside way. Nobody seems to be claiming it now. Success has many fathers; failure is an orphan.

There’s another twist: CityBeat reports that a survey found that voters would support a tax hike measure — well, at least one called the “Vital Services Emergency Protection Measure.” Perhaps it would do even better if they called it the “The Motherhood Preservation and Full Employment Act.” (Uh-oh. Did I just give someone an idea?)

In commentary, our own columnist Scott Lewis tweets that “This city’s leaders — including labor — have chosen to let things deteriorate for another few years at least. Go team!”

• Here’s an assumption: it’s really hard to get a loan to buy a condo in downtown San Diego, where some complexes have been plagued by more troubles than just the real-estate downturn. Now we have the numbers to prove it: about a third of homebuyers in downtown appear to be paying cash for their units.

• Fact Check alert: a local labor coalition says County Supervisor Bill Horn’s proposed ballot measure to ban project labor agreements will not affect the county’s contracts. Is that true? We’ve issued a verdict.

The agreements (generally, pacts made between government agencies and unions that protect worker benefits) annoy some on the right who think they hamstring government projects into paying too much for construction costs.


• Here’s a surprise: County Supervisor Bill Horn has finally alienated the local newspaper. On its opinion page, the NCT withdrew its endorsement of Horn — “Wild Bill” — over his “latest thumbing of his nose at the county’s building permit regulations.”

It looks like a recount is coming in Democratic primary race in the 40th state senate district. Mary Salas, who’s 22 votes behind Juan Vargas, wants one. Vargas, for his part, has declared victory. (U-T)

• How does that rule go? Thou shalt not speak ill of fellow Republicans. Now we’ll see what happens when someone violates it.

Kim Tran, who failed in her bid for City Council, didn’t have the nicest things to say about rival candidate Lorie Zapf, who’s heading to a November runoff. Tran was in a political campaign, where mutual admiration is frowned upon. And Zapf made it easy by getting in hot water over her personal finances, among other things.

Now, the U-T reports that “Tran, who just won re-election in June to the county Republican Party’s central committee, is facing expulsion from the group Monday” because of her comments about Zapf.

Tran’s husband, meanwhile, is complaining of “tyrannical leadership” in the local party.

• The National Association of Black Journalists is urging members to ignore a boycott of San Diego’s Manchester Grand Hyatt and stay at the hotel during the group’s convention later this month. The association will lose money to the hotel if it fails to fill up enough rooms.

Gay activists are boycotting the hotel because owner Doug Manchester helped support the anti-gay-marriage Prop. 8, even though he tried to smooth over the flap with donations.

• The controversies continue over the latest round of U-T newsroom layoffs: CityBeat reports that a group called the National Hispanic Media Coalition wants to work with local leaders to force the paper to rehire nationally distributed columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr., who often wrote about immigration. U-T editor Jeff Light says he doesn’t want to “debate these personnel issues in public.”

By the way, Light found himself on the hot seat last Friday at a La Jolla forum about the future of arts coverage in San Diego. He faced a skeptical audience of more than 100 people, many of them upset at the layoff of longtime arts critic Robert Pincus and seemingly hoping the paper could have laid off somebody else instead.

You can read tweets about the forum from Warwick’s bookstore, where it was held, and from CityBeat editor Dave Rolland, who complained about “tunnel vision” at the forum and speculated about Light’s real feelings.

Pincus, by the way, has been on the offensive regarding his layoff, refusing to go gentle into that good unemployment. He told the LAT that “the new publisher and editor apparently care little about the quality of the art writing. So they eliminated my position in their reorganization.”

• The World Cup final match got its second-highest ratings in the country in San Diego, where almost 30 percent of viewers with their TVs on turned to the game. (Variety)

• Stop, art thief! Someone stole small portraits of local musicians from the Tin Can Ale House bar in Bankers Hill. (CityBeat)

• Finally, a special Strawberry Shortcake doll will make its debut at, of all places, next week’s Comic-Con. “Now she’ll be able to provide a little extra eye-candy for the fan boys,” a company rep tells the NYT.

It’s supposed to be Strawberry Shortcake, not Strawberry Cheesecake!


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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