Here’s a City Hall stunner: Mayor Jerry Sanders wants to temporarily shut down the funding of public art in renovation and construction projects. The mayor says public art spending deserves close attention in these days of fire service cutbacks.
Will the local arts community to protest these cutbacks, possibly spawning a debate about the true value of publicly funded art in San Diego?
In other news:
• Graffiti is one of the most self-aggrandizing of crimes: vandals deface someone else’s property, often in order to tout themselves or their gangs.
But what if you gave kids a chance to express themselves without risking a jail sentence? A non-profit is trying to find out if this approach will help reduce graffiti in southeastern San Diego: they’ve created a place where people can paint graffiti on giant panels set up on a dusty lot. We check out the scene and learn the difference between tagger-style gang members and those with more artistic ambitions.
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• The San Diego teachers union surprised people a few months ago by endorsing a Republican who’d made critical remarks about unions in the past. Well, this mixed marriage has ended in divorce. The union has withdrawn its endorsement of the candidate, Scott Barnett, because he won’t support a boost in property taxes — a parcel tax — to help schools. He explains why.
• The student newspaper at Chula Vista’s Southwestern College has a sterling reputation. But its next issue may not be printed because of a dispute with the community college’s management over printing costs. The big question: Is it purely a coincidence that the paper has been a thorn in the administration’s side?
• Ask politicians about “special interests” and you’re likely to get a statement about how they don’t kowtow to them. Presumably they just listen to not-very-special interests.
A candidate for City Council made an argument along these lines the other day, saying: “I’m not tied to any special interests.” But his statement couldn’t survive a Fact Check: It’s false.
• We’ve updated a previous Fact Check about a claim that the South Bay Power Plant would be closing this year. Now, its closure looks even less likely.
• Real-estate columnist and noted chart enthusiast Rich Toscano checks out the local home-sales numbers for August.
• Fans of the pretty stretch of State Route 163 though Balboa Park are getting miffed about the sorry state of landscaping in its median. How pretty is it? Well, President Kennedy supposedly said it was the most beautiful highway he’d ever seen.
Or did he? I tried to confirm this alleged quote, even calling former Caltrans honcho Jacob Dekema (whose name graces Interstate 805), and couldn’t reach a verdict due to lack of evidence. But I did find plenty of nifty details about JFK’s 1963 visit to San Diego and a motorcade that took him to see an estimated 250,000 people. Don’t miss the amusing tale of how mockery of JFK’s accent helped a junior high student get the photo of the president in front of Rudford’s restaurant that we told you about yesterday.
• In the U-T: “One of the 10 requirements tied to a proposed sales tax increase in San Diego was already completed well before the City Council voted in early August to make it a condition for collecting the tax.” Also: “Outside companies would be allowed to compete against city workers for government jobs under a tentative agreement.”
• Finally, at least 14 presidents — including JFK in 1963 — have visited San Diego while in office. We’d like to hear your memories and see your photographs of presidential visits.
That brings me to today’s history trivia challenge. Who was the first president to stay at the Hotel Del Coronado while serving as chief executive? (Hint: He was a Hoosier.)
The first person to send me the right answer gets a shout-out in tomorrow’s Morning Report. The second person will have to say “Indianapolis” three times fast.