Our City Hall reporter had me at “a giant, Scrooge McDuck-ian pile of money.“
He’s writing about how the distribution of redevelopment funds works in downtown. The money is taken out of property taxes and then goes to a whole bunch of government agencies … except not always. Now, downtown’s redevelopment agency wants to get it hands on a bigger share of the pot to build a new football stadium.
Our story explains more about how the whole system works, explores the many unanswered questions, and offers insight into why critics think the whole plan is — sorry readers, I can’t resist — Looney Tunes. [That’s like putting Sue Sylvester in High School Musical. Looney Tunes is Warner Bros., Scrooge McDuck is Disney. —Ed.]
In Other News:
• It’s one big unhappy family at City Hall: According to a report issued by a city councilman, almost all San Diego firefighters get extra pay for having emergency medical certifications. The councilman says this is ridiculous since paramedic-type duties come with the job: “This would be like opening up the newspaper or going on Craigslist for a help-wanted ad and it says law firm seeks lawyer,” he said. “Attractive compensation package. And if you have a law degree a bonus is provided.”
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He went even further, calling it “a hidden bonus” and a “dubious, unjustified payment.” The city fire chief went on the offensive, calling on the councilman to stop “lying about my department.”
• Lyric Opera San Diego is in financial trouble: it’s sent a letter saying it’s in a “cash crisis” and won’t be able to go on unless it rustles up $200,000 in donations in the next 90 days. It cites drops in ticket sales and donations, along with heavy discounts for the tickets the company has sold this season.
By the way, the restored North Park Theater, which is home to the Lyric Opera and other events, is considered a major player in North Park’s recent renaissance. It’s even gotten national attention. If the Lyric Opera fails to stay afloat, will it take the theater down with it?
• A county supervisor candidate is promising to donate some of his salary to workforce development programs if he’s elected.
• We didn’t get a chance to get to all the questions from audience members at our recent Prop. D debate. But we saved them and now offer answers from a proponent and opponent.
• Our real-estate columnist crunches the latest housing-inventory numbers (presumably with his kitchen blender) and discovers signs of home-price stagnation or worse (at least for homesellers).
• Ever noticed those weird-looking colorful street sign-type things on Park Boulevard by the zoo? Turns out they’re the first examples of public art purchased by the city. We’ve got more details.
• The Photos of the Day remember Shawne Merriman, the departing Chargers player who’s made appearances in several of our most striking sports photographs.
• Fact Check TV takes a look at local elections and the supposedly weaker-than-weak size of the Padres payroll.
• The U-T is refusing to endorse embattled County Supervisor Bill Horn, saying he has “more baggage than a Lindbergh Field luggage carousel.” (Har!) But the paper won’t support his opponent either.
Also on the endorsement front: Who’s a “bit of a political coward” and “a toadie for the insurance industry”? Two local Democratic candidates who have gotten decidedly lukewarm endorsements from CityBeat.
Another endorsee seems a bit “clownish” and still another has a “game-show-host style creeps us out a little,” CityBeat says, “and we wonder how much substance lies beneath.” Way to build voter enthusiasm, CityBeat!
Note to self: When you run for dogcatcher, don’t ask for CityBeat’s support.
• Finally, and I’m not making this up, the eighth annual Pooper Scooper convention is coming to town this weekend, sponsored by the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists. (No word on where the “amateur” specialists hold their convention. Definitely a place to avoid.)
There’s even a pooper-scooper contest — The Scooper Bowl — for convention-goers: “dozens of fake dog poops are placed around the grounds of the hotel and they see who can pick up the most piles in two minutes. The top three winners each receive a trophy, cash prizes and pooper scooper bragging rights.”
In a related story, a local hotel manager is on the verge of that nervous breakdown she’s been expecting for several years now.