Smiles everyone!

San Diego officials looked mighty proud when they came up with a plan that would allow voters to force them to adopt financial reforms. (In return, voters would agree to raise their own sales taxes to boost city coffers.)

And why not embrace reform? The city owes $1 billion in health care benefits to current and retired employees, and only 3 percent of that is funded. And there are other huge expenses that the city will need to slash to avoid bankruptcy and — or — giant cutbacks in services.

But that’s not the whole story. As we explain, there are few guarantees of savings behind the reforms required to trigger a tax hike. In many cases, the savings are unknown and depend on a variety of factors, including the willingness of labor unions to agree to deals.

Ultimately, big savings will depend on the willingness of politicians and others to make big decisions that will make others unhappy.

In other news:

• A newly passed federal jobs bill that includes $10 billion in spending on education could bring $20 million or more to San Diego schools. That may help lower the district’s deficit for the next school year, estimated at $127 million.

• Earlier this week, we told you about how a local Church of God in Christ bishop is getting into the redevelopment business and plans to resurrect a long-delayed business park in southeastern San Diego.

In a new post, we hear more from Bishop George McKinney about “community uplift.” We’ve also published new photos of the man who’s one of the most prominent voices in his part of the city.

• The Photo of the Day has gone fishing. Literally. (I could also say that our photographer is at sea. But that’s always been pretty obvious.)


• Uptown News says a $56 million affordable-housing project on El Cajon Boulevard is dead, apparently because the city can’t afford it.

• A San Diego State study funded by a firefighters union says four-person fire engine crews are better than three-person ones when it comes to fighting wildfires.

The U-T says some smaller fire departments in the county use three-person crews, while the city of San Diego relies on four-person ones. But there’s been some talk about shrinking the size of the San Diego crews.

• The AP reports that the state corrections system has “created a website to warn the public when paroled sex offenders flee from supervision” The governor ordered the creation of a public notification last week, partly in response to the murders of local teens Chelsea King and Amber Dubois.

• Finally, USA Today reports that golf courses are struggling through the recession. In California, the number of rounds played at private and public courses is down 5.3 percent. And golf courses nationwide are facing cutbacks and foreclosure.

What’s going on? Apparently, young people aren’t as golf-happy as their elders. Compared to video games, “golf is outside and hard,” says one golf enthusiast. (Translation: “Kids these days! Get off my lawn! I mean, um, come back to my lawn. The one with the sand traps.”)

But TV broadcasts of tournaments are still pulling in plenty of viewers.

So if you can’t afford to play, do what everybody else does: Stay home and watch the birdies.


Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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