It turns out they didn’t put a stake in it. Or maybe they just didn’t have enough garlic.

The ballot measure to boost the local sales tax is showing signs of life after being given the last rites just a few days ago: a City Council committee will discuss it on Wednesday. Earlier, it seemed that business advocates had smacked the proposal around enough to put it out of their misery.

The current proposal would boost the sales tax in the city by half-cent for five years, bringing in an estimated $100 million a year.

In a statement, Councilman Ben Hueso says this “would preserve essential services while the City continues to implement fiscal reforms.”

As our report points out, this appears to be a “revenue before reform” strategy: give the city money while it fixes the way it spends money. It remains to be seen whether voters will see this as a “give me alcohol while I’m still in rehab” approach.

One thing to watch for as the debate goes on: What are “essential services”? Public safety seems a given. But what about libraries? Parks? Lifeguards? Street sweeping? Code enforcement? Will anything be deemed non-essential?

In other news:

• After a spirited discussion, the City Council voted 7-1 last night to put a proposal for a $294 million City Hall on the November ballot.

But some councilmembers weren’t thrilled about their votes. The reason: because allowing a vote might doom the project.

One revealing detail: the city’s independent budget analyst (gotta get me one of those) said the $260 million in budget deficits projected over the next five years are understated by $40 million if the city builds the new building and $50 million if it doesn’t.

• San Diego’s city attorney came into office saying he would be apolitical, an interesting position coming from a man who made his mark earlier in life as a mayor and state assemblyman and had to run for his current office.

How’s that pledge going? You be the judge. As we report: last week, he “embarked on one of the most political plays of his tenure: laying out a charter amendment to privatize city trash collection.”

And how’s his floating of the charter amendment trial balloon going? Not so well: a councilman who supports privatization and a major-player pension hawk don’t like it.

• The San Diego school district is the only one in the county that pays for board candidate statements to appear in ballot pamphlets. It cost $43,000 the last time around, and one candidate says that’s a waste. (Normally, board candidates pay for the statements themselves.)

Also in education, San Diego schools have picked two new leaders, including one who made a splashy appearance in our pages.

• What would you call a plan calling for possible redevelopment in Southeast San Diego? (I’ll stand by while you figure out this toughie.)

How about “redevelopment plan”? How about not: find out who’s unhappy with our use of the term in a story this week because we may have missed some nuance.

• The Photo of the Day catches our fair city’s fair-skinned mayor in the sun.

• Fact Check TV checks out statements about potentially well-coiffed homeless people and professional soccer in San Diego.


• San Diego isn’t the only local grappling with a stadium issue: the NCT reports that “landing the top minor league team of the San Diego Padres would require Escondido to pay the entire $45 million cost to build a 9,000-seat ballpark and to give the team all revenue from concessions and naming rights.”

• So that’s why everybody is so darned festive here: San Diego is the ninth-gayest metropolitan area in the country, says a new report. The Daily Beast, an online publication, adds that San Diego is “politically conservative,” which may come as a surprise to the voting public: the county is home to slightly more registered Dems than Reps.

• Think San Diego public library hours are bad? They are, of course, as countless patrons have discovered. Even as construction is slated to begin on a new downtown library, the current one is closed on Saturdays and barely open the rest of the week. But the library situation will become even worse up the road in Los Angeles, where every library is slated to close on Sundays and Mondays. (LAT)

• Oh, cut that out: A local anti-circumcision activist will spread the word at the Comic-Con through a graphic 12-page comic book. (CB)

• The world-famous Molly the Owl is back and live on video, with four new eggs to hatch. That makes four successful hatchings last time and a quartet of eggs this time. Molly even has her own 24/7 online reality show. Eat your heart out, Octomom. (U-T)

• Finally, the U-T says tar balls have been washing up on the beach in Oceanside, possibly from a ship that spilled oil or a natural seep. (They actually look more like tar lumps. The ever-delicate U-T refers to them as tar “wafers.”)

A geologist says the recent quakes might have allowed gas and oil to escape underwater.

So the earthquake may have disrupted the ocean? Sounds pretty harmless. It’s not like there’s been some big monster unleashed, sending out mobs of giant black jellyfish and irritable stingrays as a expeditionary force.



Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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