The Morning Report
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If Mayor Jerry Sanders & Co. win at the polls next year, future city employees won’t have the standard pension, they’ll have a 401(k). Sanders’ Republican coalition carved out an exception though: police.
The mayor argued this month on KUSI that police officers were harder to recruit and retain and eliminating pensions for them would hamper the department’s ability to recruit. To back that up, he made this claim:
“We get about a third of the police officers from other agencies who come to San Diego.”
Well, the Fact Check blog looked into that and gave it a big fat False. Not only was the mayor way off (it’s more like 4 percent), but he presents such numbers, on a hot-button topic, with unique authority. He is, after all, the former police chief.
Don’t expect this debate over police’s special status to go away. One of Sanders’ coauthors on the initiative, Councilman Carl DeMaio, already told us this week that he expects to get new police over to a 401(k) after the 2012 election.
Sounds Like a Cool Job
• Call Christine Knoke the queen of quotidian crafts.
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She’s in charge of exhibitions at Balboa Park’s Mingei Museum, an institution that celebrates the arts of daily life. Not those weird shapes you make in your plate of mash potatoes. Think punk fashion, Romanian folk art, bead collections and weird cats from Japan.
In our weekend Q&A, we catch up with Knoke to talk mingei — the arts of the people — and how many years (20, maybe 25) it would take to look at everything in the museum’s collection.
• The Lux Institute in Encinitas invites artists to take over its studio a few times a year. There, the artists live and create and, in this case, build a small body of water with a boat.
That’s the vision of artist and avid surfer Rick Stich. Kelly Bennett took us inside the studio to see Stich’s body of water, and the art it reflects and is reflected in, for this week’s edition of Behind the Scenes TV with our partners at NBC San Diego.
Speaking of Jobs …
San Diego County added more jobs than any other county in the state. But the unemployment rate also shot up, the Union-Tribune reported, as the new job openings attracted people back into the market. The newspaper also noted that shipbuilder Nassco might not go through with its 350 layoffs now that those people in Washington, D.C. decided not to shut down the government.
This Would Create At Least 4 More Jobs
The group that wants to add four appointed members to the school board took another step forward Friday by turning in an estimated 133,000 signatures to the city clerk to get its measure on the next ballot. San Diegans 4 Great Schools had originally hoped to make the ballot this June but state talks to call a special election have been unsuccessful.
Our Emily Alpert runs through the basics of the idea and provides links to get you caught up.
The San Diego Police Department terminated the police officer who’s been accused by five women of trying to solicit sexual favors. (CBS 8)
What We Learned This Week
It’s a Bad Time to Be a Library Hour
Sanders’ penultimate budget proposal eviscerates library and rec center hours while gradually phasing out the idling of fire engines that had been the cause of great concern. Libraries and the parks and recreation department have been a frequent target of cuts as the city has struggled financially over the last decade.
If you’re not into reading, this graphic will help you understand the library cuts. Though I guess you might not care.
The mayor, who was elected to fix the city’s budget problems, now has one more budget cycle left to balance the books. His legacy hangs in the balance.
The DA’s on the Hot Seat
• District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis told us it was a media misconception that her Public Integrity Unit was created to go after dirty politicians. The unit has mainly spent its four years going after rank-and-file employees and attorneys, and that’s the way it was supposed to work.
In fact, her office said, the unit handles “cases involving elected or appointed public officials, government employees committing crimes on the job, misuse of public funds or resources, fraud on the court or attorney misconduct.”
Turns out, though, that Dumanis was the one behind that misconception. Here’s how she defined the unit when announcing it: “This unit will investigate and prosecute allegations of criminal misconduct among elected officials, politicians and their staff.”
• Scott Lewis, meanwhile, analyzes what is sure to be one of the harder decisions of the mayoral race: Whether Dumanis will endorse the mayor’s 401(k) ballot proposal. She has, after all, supported pensions for public safety in the past and will have to explain her own sizable pension.
Opera Is Both Juicy and a Cottage Industry
In the coming days, we’re going behind the curtain to witness the people and key moments in the preparations for the opera “Faust.” The first piece kicks it off:
“Opera is the turducken of classical music: monumental, multi-layered, inconceivable to anyone who hasn’t experienced it live, and endlessly satisfying if you just sink your teeth into it and let all the different flavors and textures do their thing.”
No wonder the opera has all those fat ladies.
Quote of the Week, Runner Up
“You’re basically waving a white flag and saying we’re giving up on the operations of libraries and rec centers.”
— former City Manager Jack McGrory, on Mayor Jerry Sanders’ budget plan.
Quote of the Week, Winner
“The state will not have enough balls to take over this district. You tell them I said it!”
— school board member Shelia Jackson, saying the district should refuse additional cuts from the state.
Number of the Week, Runner Up
— average hours per week at San Diego libraries in 2003.
Number of the Week, Winner
— average hours per week at San Diego library’s under mayor’s budget proposal.