The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
When voters passed a beach booze ban almost three years ago, many in the beach areas of San Diego booed. Many inland types, meanwhile, were pleased. Now, statistics suggest that some of the neighborhoods most likely to oppose the ban have reaped a drop in alcohol-related crime and vice versa.
“Five years ago, one-third of the city’s alcohol-related crimes happened in four beach communities. Last year, one-quarter,” reports Keegan Kyle. Some of the neighborhoods that liked the ban the most, such as Rancho Bernardo and San Ysidro, saw such crimes go up.
More Time for Students Not An Easy Proposition
A Logan Heights elementary school recently got branded as “persistently failing,” and it’s getting millions in federal money to turn things around. It’s using some of that money to tutor struggling students, but the “some” part of that equation is making problems. The feds want all the students to get more learning time.
“Giving students more time to absorb lessons is a big push for the Obama administration, but lengthening the school day would have to be negotiated with the teachers union,” Emily Alpert explains. That would clash with the gentler take on school reform that San Diego Unified is testing at the school.
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Cat Tax Follow-Up
An official in the city auditing department says the big hubbub over a proposed tax on cats, led by Councilman Carl DeMaio, missed the point of a bid to require vaccinations for cats. “You can’t just wait until you have people who get rabies to say, ‘Oh now we must do something,’” the official tells CityBeat.
Fletcher: Secret Deal Not Secret
In a lengthy interview, Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher — a candidate for mayor — tells CityBeat that last year’s secret late-night redevelopment deal wasn’t secret since he told other legislators about it. “Now, where there’s a disagreement is, someone said, ‘Where was the public input before you did that?’ And I said, ‘When I got elected.’ Because I believe the public elects you to make those types of decisions.”
He also regrets voting against a resolution recognizing Harvey Milk Day, in honor of the assassinated gay leader.
On a personal level, he says he doesn’t suffer from PTSD after serving in Iraq but still is jumpy around sounds. He also talks about his service (as an interrogator, “a human intelligence, counter-intelligence specialist”) and his emotions. “I was terrified I was going to die and my body was going to get sent home, I would be buried and then she’d get a letter. That’s what kept me up at night-not what would happen to me; I was OK. I worried about the impact on my wife.”
• District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, another mayoral hopeful, has fired her campaign manager.
What the U-T Might Be Trying to Say
Employees inside the U-T and interested observers outside (including legions of ex-employees) have been trying to figure out what the newspaper will do next. Will its owner Platinum Equity sell the paper? That’s one interpretation of a head-scratching recent announcement that the paper has hired a bank to explore its options.
But a columnist with The Deal notes that private equity firms like Platinum Equity typically hold onto properties for 3-5 years before flipping them. It has only owned the U-T for about two years. So maybe there’s something else afoot. A purchase instead of a sale, perhaps: “If the distressed-asset specialist really did turn around a company that entered its portfolio as ‘an underperforming traditional newspaper publisher,’ then why not replicate that success with the region’s other underperformers and at the same time rack up the substantial synergies a sharing of infrastructures would bring?”
Two papers are ripe for the picking: the LAT and Orange County Register. The North County Times, owned by the desperately struggling Lee Enterprises company, might be another possibility.
A Southern California megapaper could perhaps save money by combining resources, particularly in areas like advertising, distribution and printing, although those latter areas might be a toughie. If the U-T was printed in L.A., say, it would take longer to distribute the papers overnight, and the U-T would have a tougher time covering late baseball games and other news events. (Its early deadlines already drive reporters nuts.)
Still, the idea of combined resources is mighty attractive. Consider the two arch-rival daily Chicago papers: one will now save $10 million a year by having the other paper handle its printing; 400 employees will lose their jobs.
Maybe She Got Lost on Way to the Opera
The FBI doesn’t seem to have given a name yet to the female bank robber who wore “a long, green strapless dress” as she hit two local banks this month. (U-T) A few suggestions, including some that came my way via Twitter: The Evening Wear Bandit, the Day at the Races Bandit (timely!) and the Prom Queen Bandit.
• A woman reportedly got through the airport’s security with a four-inch knife in her purse, 10News reports. (Was she planning to cut into a steak in first class? No, she says it was to protect herself.) Even more interesting: the airport said agents detected a hand grenade (!) during the same time period.
Step by Step, SD Is a Bit Behind
Walk Score, an Internet company that ranks the walkability of cities and neighborhoods, says San Diego is only the 18th most walkable of the nation’s 50 largest cities. (New York is No. 1, and Jacksonville is No. 50.)
The most walkable parts of the city include several parts of downtown and Little Italy; the most unwalkable sections include Otay Mesa, Sorrento Valley and North City. Oddly, the ranking says Torrey Pines, Kensington and Pacific Beach, among many others, are more walkable than Balboa Park.
Does it make you mad that San Diego isn’t more walkable? Here’s a way to feel better: Just take a drive to the nearest walkable location and go for a stroll.