The Morning Report
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Yesterday, the mayoral candidate and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis became the first prominent local Republican to come out against a GOP plan to eliminate pensions for all new city employees except police.
Dumanis, whom we’ve dubbed the most powerful politician in the county, apparently feels like she has enough mojo to rebuff the party that she calls home.
But don’t start calling her Norma Rae just yet. Her stand isn’t in favor of pensions for everybody. Instead, Dumanis says she specifically opposes leaving firefighters and lifeguards (and cops) out in the cold when it comes to the demise of pensions. She said in an email that “those who put their lives at risk daily in the line of duty should have a secure pension.”
The Republican proposal is expected to show up on the ballot in June 2012, the same month as the mayoral election.
Assemblyman Announces State Senate Bid
Assemblyman Marty Block told the U-T that he plans to run in 2012 for the state Senate seat now held by Christine Kehoe. Both are Democrats. Kehoe will not run again because of term limits.
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Girls Rescued, 38 Indicted on Gang/Prostitution Charges
Federal prosecutors say they’ve rescued 30 girls in connection with a North County prostitution ring, including some runaways. All are said to be American citizens, the North County Times reports.
Authorities have also indicted 38 people on racketeering charges in connection with the prostitution ring. Most of those accused are said to be members of an Oceanside gang. A Travelodge allegedly served as a brothel, with the owners making sure to separate the prostitutes and their customers from regular patrons.
The indictments come amid growing concern among local law enforcement agencies that gangs are using prostitution to generate profits to a greater degree than previously known.
County prosecutors — separate, of course, from the feds — first started drawing the connection between gangs and prostitution after a multi-agency investigation into gangs three years ago.
Up North, a Voter Revolt Against Library Cuts
The other day, our Scott Lewis questioned whether it’s even worth keeping city libraries afloat if they’re only going to be open a few hours a week. “Why bother?” he asked.
Well, libraries possess value even if they’re barely open.
They offer a gathering place for kids and seniors and, yes, the homeless. They provide Internet access to the poor so they can communicate with loved ones and look for jobs. (Check out the never-ending lines of people waiting to go online at the Central Library). And they give free access to books (and more) to kids and adults who can’t afford iPads or laptops or $28.95 hardback bestsellers.
Consider the truth in the headline on an L.A. Weekly story about plans to slash library funding in Los Angeles: “City of Airheads.”
To put it simply, libraries make a community smarter, and even a little can go a long way, especially if the library system — as planned — carefully distributes the open hours so many residents will be able to find an open library nearby when they need it.
Last month, by the way, L.A. voters approved a measure ordering the city to reopen 73 shuttered libraries. I haven’t heard any talk about something similar happening here. City officials — like those in L.A. — would bemoan any ballot-box budgeting (although they sure liked the idea of ballot-box financial reform last year).
Maybe we can agree on one thing: a few library hours are better than none.
The Faces Behind the Community College Cutbacks
They’re variously stressed, stuck without the opportunity to take summer school classes and unable to speak out. In a followup to our story earlier this week, Emily Alpert introduces you to some of the local community college students who are trying to survive and get ahead as the blows keep on coming.
From Cemetery Booster to Cemetery Resident
Yesterday’s Morning Report alerted you to a story in the LAT about a man who devoted several years to convincing the federal government to open a second national cemetery here. He succeeded but didn’t live long enough to see it flourish as a final home for veterans. He died just before the groundbreaking at Miramar National Cemetery and just received the first casket burial there.
In response to a request to readers, Councilman Todd Gloria provided us with a photo of the man, John A. Smith III.
‘Caution: Drama Queens JUST AHEAD’
No, that’s not a warning issued to every attendee at my family reunions. It’s a tongue-in-check sign on a wall at the Civic Theatre as construction began on the set of San Diego Opera’s “Faust,” not long after the last performance of “Der Rosenkavalier.”
How hard is it to get everything together? As Roxana Popescu writes, “Think back to the most infernally complicated piece of IKEA furniture you’ve ever assembled. Multiply the difficulty by 1,000, and you might begin to comprehend the headaches and satisfactions of putting together an opera set.”
My Eyes, My Eyes!
Quick, name two colors that look great together.
Yellow and brown, anyone? No? Thought so. Yet for some reason the Padres decided the two also-rans in any Awesome Color Contest deserved each other. In a retrospective about baseball uniforms of the 1980s, ESPN includes a photo of former player Garry Templeton decked out in full Padres blech.
As if that decade didn’t have enough problems.
Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.