The Morning Report
San Diego news and info
you need to take on the day.
It’s Election Eve. Things will be different two days from now.
It looks like Republicans will likely take the House of Representatives. California will have a new governor-elect. We may have legalized marijuana, repealed the most ambitious effort to curb global warming in the country or taken the power to draw congressional districts in the state away from the Democrats.
The county may have a new supervisor — or some newly mandated old ones.
In the city of San Diego, we’ll have two new City Council members-elect. We might not know who they are, right away, as the registrar always seems to have a long drawn-out count in store for us. But we’ll wait.
And we will find out how one of the most polarizing electoral political struggles in a long while was finally settled: Proposition D, the half-cent sales tax increase paired with a series of financial reforms.
Let’s start there:
• We were inundated with responses on this Fact Check of the roving billboard the opponents of Prop. D are driving around town. The billboard compares the pensions of a city “librarian” to a “four-star general.” Remember, we were not defending the pension of the former head of the city’s library system.
We just wanted to examine the comparison of her pension with that of a general. We determined that the simplistic billboard was misleading. What do you think about the billboard?
• I have been engrossed in this debate and most interested, perhaps, in how it has split the city’s business community. In fact, as I recently wrote, that’s the only reason Prop. D even has a shot to pass. In a follow-up, I explore a bit more what’s happening to the city’s so-called “establishment” and provide a handy guide of what business leaders have said about Prop. D.
• Let’s not forget what all of this is about. It’s about your neighborhood. And have you noticed gumball-sized palm tree berries littering the sidewalk? If so, you’re not alone.
The city of San Diego used to prune each of the 30,000 city owned trees every year. Now, the budget for this service has been nearly cut in half and the city only responds to emergency reports — like when a frond obstructs an important sign. The crew that comes will prune the entire tree but none nearby.
Now, proposed cuts may mean only the offending branches will be cut. Most of the city’s trees are easy to maintain but palms are not and as city services continue to wilt, it’s set to get worse.
• The big question is: Do we need Prop. D to salvage city services or does it actually cripple our push to get a more efficient government? That’s what the U-T asked in this piece.
• Some say Prop. D’s half-cent sales tax hike will hurt the economy (even though it will come into effect right about the time the state lowers its sales tax rate by a full cent). Regardless, we don’t have much room to monkey around. “San Diego employment was essentially flat in September,” writes our economics and housing analyst Rich Toscano. His jobs posts always do us the great service of breaking down job trends by sector.
• Election Night is usually a long and, um, not very dry one for most local political players, but the City Council is insisting on getting right to work the next day. They’re debating a proposal that would require Walmart to fund studies of whether any of the superstores it wants to put in San Diego would harm surrounding businesses. The Union-Tribune explains it.
I, for one, would be shocked to learn that a company might try to compete and take business away from another one nearby but, apparently, it happens.
• One of the sectors really suffering these days (though relieved a bit by the influx of political ads) is the media. In Los Angeles, Barry Minkow had an idea: start a news service that investigated companies committing malfeasance. Then fund the news operation by shorting the targeted company’s shares. Well, his news service just went bust. Loyal readers will remember our interview with Minkow, himself a convicted high-level fraudster who’d become a San Diego pastor. And our explainer of what he was up to.
• Last week, the Union-Tribune successfully scuttled a trip seven educators were planning on taking to Hawaii to participate in a professional development conference for the prestigious International Baccalaureate program. As the U-T pointed out, such training is crucial for the schools who want to use the IB curriculum but the price tag of $11,200 was too high. A frustrated local parent and blogger, Paul Bowers, offers a different take.
• If you’re frustrated, you can’t go to Miramar to shoot shotguns anymore. Tony Perry from the LA Times dropped in on a 29-acre range at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station to catalogue the fate of a shotgun range the military has just closed. Officials were worried about the pollution of five decades’ worth of pellets landing in the overshot area.
• If you weren’t one of the lucky ones to actually attend the Chargers game on Sunday, you couldn’t watch it on TV. But if you want a window into what it looked like, Sam Hodgson has your back with photos of the day.
• Finally, a hearty congratulations to Emily Alpert. We just learned Saturday that she won first place in the Online News Association Journalism Awards for “online topical reporting/blogging” for a small site. We competed with sites around the country for this prize and it brought Alpert, and us, tremendous prestige. It was recognition of her ability to build a community around education using all the digital tools we have.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to ask you to help us fund Alpert’s online topical reporting/blogging through our new campaign. We need 29 more donations (or votes) for her in our Vote Prop VOSD effort. You can donate here.