If Convention Center expansion supporters have their way, hotel visitors will pay more when they visit town, thanks to an extra charge on their bills.

The taxpayer association, which you’d think would know a thing or two about taxes, says the expansion supporters are proposing a tax. In a parallel universe, that statement might be non-debatable. But we’re in San Diego, where everything has to be complicated.

It’s gotta be a “fee” — not a tax — to avoid having to be approved by voters. So supporters want it to be a fee, even though it will act like a tax. One supporter steers far clear of the word tax, although he says tax rates will go up.

The city claims its current hotel taxes are lower than elsewhere, but they’ll be higher than average when compared to a list of other cities if the tourist-tax-rate-hike deal goes through.

Politician Father Defends Son in Sentence Scandal

Fabian Nuñez, the former speaker of the state Assembly, is standing by both his son, who was convicted of taking part in a killing near San Diego State, and the former governor who set off a firestorm by lowering the son’s sentence.

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“My son didn’t kill anybody. He never admitted to killing anybody. He was never accused of killing anybody. From the very beginning, he was accused of aiding and abetting,” Nuñez tells The Sacramento Bee. The younger Nuñez was convicted of voluntary manslaughter.

Nuñez adds that ex-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was right to reduce his son’s sentence because he wasn’t the one who stabbed the victim. The San Diego County district attorney is suing to overturn the sentence commutation.

Fact-Checking ‘Zero’ Teacher Layoffs and Solar for SD

School board member Kevin Beiser, who’s a teacher himself, declared that San Diego’s schools haven’t laid off a single teacher in the past five years despite a blizzard of pink slips that told educators that their jobs might be history. San Diego Fact Check finds that the claim is “barely true.”

The district has indeed withdrawn hundreds of layoff warnings, but it actually did terminate about 200 teachers in 2008. It later asked them all to come back, but before that they were actually laid off and lost their jobs.

In another Fact Check, we examine a claim by former GOP Congressman Bob Livingston. He recently wrote a commentary rapping solar energy, saying you could try to soak up the sun in the entire Mojave Desert and still not have enough power to provide electricity to the city of San Diego.

His claim is false: the Mojave Desert could indeed power San Diego through solar energy, although getting the electricity here would be a challenge.

So would getting rid of all those inconveniently located lizards and snakes and cactuses. As you may recall from our story earlier this week, the city of San Diego even frowns on chickens near homes, so the xerophilous creatures are definitely not coming here.

As for me, I’ve already got enough desert-animal problems thanks to my neighbors, who dropped by a couple years ago and helpfully told me that their two-foot lizard had gone missing. “Don’t get too close: he’s not very nice.”

Court Rejects Appeal Against Pro-Labor Pact

A union-friendly labor pact approved by the San Diego school board a couple years ago doesn’t violate the law, an appeal court has ruled. As Emily Alpert explains, “the labor pact was deeply controversial when the school board agreed to it nearly two years ago. Such agreements typically involve a tit-for-tat in which a public agency sets rules on bidding, such as hiring workers through union halls, in exchange for unions promising not to strike.”

Historic Hotel Sale in Hillcrest

Hillcrest’s 82-suite Park Manor Suites, one of the most striking hotels in the city, is being sold for just $11.5 million to a company that specializes in time shares, the U-T reports. The Park Manor’s rooftop has been a hot spot for the gay community on Friday evenings at least since the 1990s, and its downstairs restaurant and bar have also been popular.

When the Internet Comes Home for the First Time

The debate over the future libraries in San Diego has sparked a lot of talk about whether they’re becoming as antiquated as your grandma’s Victrola. Who needs them when we’ve got Kindle and Google? Well, not all of us have them, as the HealthyCal.org news website reminds us: It follows a City Heights family as it gets computer and internet service for the first time.

Gnarly News for Surfing Madonna

The city of Encinitas says a popular but illegal stained-glass mosaic of a surfing Madonna can’t stay at its current location on a railroad bridge support, but it’s going to spend $2,000 to figure out if it can be preserved, the U-T reports. The mosaic, which has gotten national attention, is technically graffiti in the city’s eyes. Meanwhile, some critics say it’s a religious message on public property.

They sure sound annoyed. And annoying.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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