The Morning Report
San Diego news and info
you need to take on the day.
Carolyn Y. Smith isn’t going quietly.
More than two years after a bonus scandal ousted her from a spot atop a publically funded redevelopment agency, she’s sued to receive the severance and pension that she’s been denied.
And boy does her former agency have a response.
The Southeastern Economic Development Corp. has come back with its own suit, saying its former leader used its retirement fund as “her tax-free ‘checkbook’” and detailing a bevy of additional accusations. They include: manipulating the plan to boost her pension, dipping into her retirement account at will, gambling on improper investments and writing her own loans.
“The lawsuit goes far beyond Smith’s now well-known clandestine bonus system and paints the picture of a public official who continually flouted the rules in order to enrich herself at the cost of an agency that’s tasked with revitalizing some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods,” we write.
• Now, there’s that other redevelopment kerfuffle.
The architects of the surprise late-night deal that sprung the limits on downtown redevelopment say their deal is bulletproof, but we examine the two possible legal arguments that the county of San Diego or any other distressed party could use to try to shoot it down in court.
In the process, we came across this interesting wrinkle: It’s been assumed that you need to prove a neighborhood is still blighted in order to continue redevelopment. The purpose of redevelopment, after all, is to conquer blight. But the state deal didn’t determine if downtown was rundown. It just did away with the requirement.
• Meanwhile, the implications from how the deal went down are beginning to reverberate. U-T sports columnist Tim Sullivan puts it like this: “To those conditioned to the misguided machinations of city leaders, particularly as they relate to their NFL tenant, this has all of the earmarks of a political power play designed to fast-track a heavily subsidized football stadium; an initiative as bold, brazen and prone to backfire as a Statue of Liberty play run from beneath your own goal post.”
And he brings up an important point: The stadium could now be done with public funds but without a public vote.
• But let’s not get distracted from the results on the field. Actually, maybe we should. Sam Hodgson’s images from yesterday’s loss to the Patriots are filled with chagrin, wincing and yelling.
If you like Norv Turner’s face in that one, compare it to a similar look last year during the Chargers’ early-season woes.
• If you can’t get enough of the late-night porkfest, we have an opinion duel on the site.
Nathan Fletcher, a principal architect of the plan, sidesteps the whole stadium thing and says it’s all about jobs. He also says the deal, literally done under the cover of night, is something we should be proud of: A moment of bipartisan unity.
In the other corner, former mayoral candidate Steve Francis took issue with the “furtive and clandestine manner” in which the deal was done.
• Sick of reading all these words and wish you could just kick your feet up and listen to a 22-minute radio show summing it all up? Well I have just the thing for you: The latest edition of VOSD Radio, which airs at 7:30 am Saturday mornings on AM 600 KOGO, is up.
• Earlier this year, we told you about a lawsuit that threatened to push the local Catholic church’s sex-abuse scandal back into full view.
Yesterday, lawyers in that case released thousands of pages of documents that, the Los Angeles Times says, show a pattern: “Victims and their families were often ignored or called liars; diocese officials transferred priests when allegations were made but never contacted the police; and the San Diego Diocese found parishes for priests being transferred from elsewhere in the country to avoid allegations.”
• It looks like the U-T’s back in the polling business, and just in time. Its first poll in a long time shows that voters are evenly split on Proposition D, the city’s reform and sales-tax initiative.
• Prop. D has been relatively easy to follow considering all the local attention. But if you’re like me you’re constantly struggling to keep up with all the propositions on the California ballot. KQED has this handy guide.
• Don’t look now but there’s another redevelopment/stadium deal. The North County Times wonders if the decision whether to spend $50 million in public funds on a minor league baseball stadium will be made by a lame-duck City Council.
• Attorney Michael Pines made quite the media splash earlier this month when he advised clients to break into their foreclosed homes, saying the homeowners had been defrauded by banks.
We’ll have to see if he follows his own advice.
The North County Times is reporting that Pines has seven properties in process of foreclosure himself, as well as “a bankruptcy judge considering holding him in contempt, and a pair of temporary restraining orders.”