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Local hotel executive Mike McDowell doesn’t just spend his days thinking about vacancies, maid service and convention tabs. He’s one of the major players in San Diego’s tourism industry and, perhaps surprisingly, a previous advocate for higher taxes on hotel guests.

In this week’s Q&A feature, McDowell dives into plans to raise money for an expansion of the Convention Center by levying a higher tax on hotel guests. As we’ve explained, the idea is to depict the higher rate as a fee, not a tax, allowing the city to avoid having to ask voters for permission.

So which is it? He explains: “At the end of the day, the consumer … says those are the taxes I paid on my bill. I don’t disagree with that. But am I out there saying, or is it my responsibility to carry a sign around and say, ‘This is a tax’? All I’m doing is operating under existing state law that calls it an assessment.”

Another Cop Under Investigation

Yet another San Diego police officer is facing allegations. This one is the 11th, and he’s reportedly under investigation for DUI and resisting arrest.


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There’s something unique about this case compared to other SDPD officers accused of DUI: the officer has been placed on unpaid leave.

And Away They Go

Here’s a novel way to resolve a controversy over the free-speech rights of high-school students: get rid of the forum where they were testing their rights. That’s what La Jolla High is doing: it’s going to remove the campus concrete benches designated for rah-rah messages that had, shockingly, become a forum for non-rah-rah messages, the U-T reports. The school had painted over the messages that it didn’t like, raising the ACLU’s ire.

The lesson: free speech is for where the school says it is. If kids try to express themselves somewhere else, that somewhere else will go bye-bye.

Apocalypse Then: San Diego Edition

The world dodged a doomsday a week ago, but it wasn’t the first time. Back in 1925, two renegade Seventh-day Adventists declared that the rapture was about to begin. A total of 144,000 souls would go to heaven, but first they had to make a couple stops.

One was in Jupiter. But first, they would all gather in the woods outside San Diego.

As for everybody else in the world, well, they were going to be in one heap of trouble once the “brides of the Lamb” bid farewell to our backcountry.

In our latest history flashback, we tell the story of how two would-be prophets grabbed the attention of an amused nation with their predictions of The End.

Green with Power

San Diego Explained, one of our regular TV segments, looks at how SDG&E is trying to go green. It’s required to get a third of its power from renewable sources (i.e., those that don’t run out) by 2020.

She’s Such a Card

My mother enjoyed our story this week about the thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses who gave a good scrubbing to that huge and filthy football stadium in Mission Valley. She sent along this zinger: “Maybe they could stop at your apartment for practice!”

Hardy har. OK, fine. When they’re done here, I’ll send them to Mom’s house for a little friendly chit-chat. I hear they’re good at that.

•••

What We Learned This Week:

How the Cops Cut Oversight: In the wake of the ongoing scandal over officers accused of misconduct, we uncovered how the San Diego Police Department has cut internal oversight and programs aimed at monitoring the performance of officers.

Plans? What Plans? The Colorado River provides a giant chunk of our water supply, and not too long ago the Lake Mead reservoir dried up to the lowest level in its history. So what happens if there’s a long-term shortage? Who will have to give up water? No one seems to have any idea.

Inspections? What Inspections? Due to changes at the state level, preschools are inspected less frequently than dog kennels. We look at the debate over whether this is an abdication of duty.

• Surprise! Guess Who Wants to Run for Congress?

The man who may be the most disgraced congressman in history declared from prison that he’s mulling a bid. But rest easy, corruption-phobes: Randy “Duke” Cunningham wants to run outside California, he tells 10News.

Where should he run? I hear Pluto is nice.

•••

What I Learned This Week:

People get really cranky on the day before a colonoscopy, and jokes like “maybe they’ll find Jimmy Hoffa in there!” don’t help cheer them up.

•••

The Coffee Collection (engaging stories to savor over a cup of joe)

He Fixes the City’s Messes: We meet the dedicated man who’s spend 20 years trying to undo the ongoing municipal disaster that is City Heights. He’s retiring.

•••

Quote of the Week: “People don’t care. They’re just here, and they go ahead and snoogie.” — National City resident Jeffrey Fuller as he wiped a snoogie from a wall at the Q during the faith’s annual massive stadium cleanup. What’s a snoogie? Don’t — hack! — ask.

•••

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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