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Lazarus, pick up the white courtesy phone: the form of urban renewal known as redevelopment might want to get some tips about how to rise from the dead. Because that’s exactly what redevelopment may end up doing thanks to a now-final state budget that kills it but then allows its partial resurrection.
There’s a complication, though. Lawsuits could stop the pulling of the plug and allow redevelopment to revive itself and emerge as strong as ever.
“Redevelopment backers, notably San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and other big city mayors, have supported calls for immediate lawsuits against the legislation,” Liam Dillon reports. “One could be filed as soon as this week. The state likely will have to go to court to try to unweave the tangled webs spun by cities to defend billions in future redevelopment dollars and properties from state action. In the meantime, cities may have to decide if the school payoff they’ll need to make to keep redevelopment is worth it.”
• When it’s not focusing on redevelopment’s fate, City Hall is obsessed with figuring out how to owe less to retiree employees. Supporters of the mayor-supported ballot measure to switch many new employees to 401(k) plans from pensions are out with an analysis saying the deal will potentially save billions over the next few decades; critics say that’s not the case.
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Bribery Accusations at State Agency
Authorities are investigating allegations of bribery at a state agency that licenses residential healthcare facilities, CBS 8 reports. Three state inspectors were “terminated after they were accused of taking thousands of dollars in bribes from operators of local residential care facilities for the elderly.”
• The crime fighters at the San Diego Police Department have found themselves amid a storm of serious misconduct allegations directed at individual cops. Check our handy compilation of the story so far, including links to coverage on our site and elsewhere.
Hueso Pushes Crackdown on Signature Gatherers
State Assemblyman Ben Hueso is supporting a bill that would force new regulations on the petition signature gatherers who haunt grocery stores in search of support for various state and local ballot measures. At issue is whether the signature gatherers engage in fraud and need special training; the ACLU says the bill is unconstitutional, while a local union rep supports it. CityBeat earlier fact-checked claims made by local signature gatherers, alleging that some aren’t true, and we zinged one earlier this year for making a false claim about an education measure; he also told the U-T that he lied about his name.
Now, Sweetwater District’s Attorney Under Fire
The board that runs South Bay’s high schools has sacked its superintendent, and now there are rumblings that the school district’s attorney’s head may be next to roll.
Thug Life Among Local Politicos
CityBeat, an left-leaning alternative newspaper, is giving a hard thwack to the chairman of the county Democratic Party. He’s a “thug,” the paper says, for intimidating Democratic elected officials who dare to support a Republican candidate for mayor. He’s not the only one who gets taken to the woodshed: both he and the Republican county chairman are called “political hacks who’d fit in nicely as party operatives in some fascist foreign regime. They make things worse, not better. America should aspire to something loftier than these two knuckleheads.”
Stadium’s Not Quite the Oldest of Them All
Former Mayor Susan Golding went on TV to talk about the legacy of her term in office and was asked about the decision to renovate the football stadium in Mission Valley. (The city is still paying off the debt for that decision.)
Golding said the stadium was a mess, the oldest in the country and “the second oldest while I was there.” She’s wrong, San Diego Fact Check discovers. Several NFL stadiums still in use are older.
Children’s Museum Chief to Quit
The head of downtown’s The New Children Museum, which struggled mightily in the 2000s, is resigning after four years in her post.
House Price Numbers Miss the Full Story
Judging by the latest Case-Shiller numbers, home prices went up in the San Diego area in April, but they’re actually down when seasonally adjusted.
Frontline Examines Bridgepoint Controversy
City Cars, Red Light Cameras and Anarchic Bicyclists
• The city auditor says San Diego could save $700,000 a year by cutting the number of city cars that employees — including some who appear to have no need for them — take home at night.
• Los Angeles is poised to get rid of its red-light cameras, which catch people who ignore traffic lights. “That puts the nation’s second-largest city at the leading edge of an anti-camera movement that appears to have been gaining traction across the country in recent weeks,” msnbc.com reports. A city report found that the cameras actually cost the city more than it gets in revenue from citations, which often aren’t paid.
Red-light cameras were quite controversial in San Diego after they were first installed in 2001. At least one radio talk show host went after them with a vengeance. Lawsuits kept them out of service until 2003.
• In the evening of the last Friday of each month, a ragtag group of bicyclists known as Critical Mass gathers in Balboa Park and goes for a wild ride around town, violating traffic laws and surprising drivers. In 2009, we went along for the ride as the bicyclists rode for 31 lawless miles and even stopped for beverages at a liquor store.
Now, an alternative for law-abiding types is in the works. It’s Courteous Mass/Critical Manners, with its rules embodied in its rather persnickety-sounding title. They’ll even “wave and say thank you to motorists who cut them some slack,” the U-T reports. Miss Manners would be delighted.
If this polite group ride does end up replacing the anarchy of Critical Mass, it’ll leave me with one less thing to complain about each month. I solemnly promise to be righteously annoyed by something else and tell you all about it at excessive length.