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The redrawing of the boundaries of City Council districts has created a new powerhouse — the third district, encompassing both downtown and the center of the city’s gay community. Already, gay leaders are already meeting with downtown types to work on ways to solve mutual problems like transients, parking and aging streets.
The gay leaders aren’t just trying to fix things. They’re also looking forward to using the connection with downtown to help boost their council candidates who have dreams of higher office after they skedaddle from City Hall.
“Is it of concern that downtown has a level of political sophistication that might be a little overwhelming?” asked a local activist who pushes for gay issues. “Yeah, but this isn’t the LGBT community’s first rodeo. We have some pretty savvy players ourselves.”
Wondering if Dumanis Will Ever Step on the Gas
It’s still more than nine months until the June primary election, but the leading mayoral candidates are already raising money and busily staking out positions. Well, at least three of them are. A CityBeat editorial says Bonnie Dumanis, the district attorney, is lagging big-time.
Indeed, Dumanis waffled on one major issue, refused to say how she voted on last year’s big city ballot measure and doesn’t want to take part in early debates.
“Dumanis seems inert, bereft of energy,” the paper says. It goes on to wonder, “Does she even want to be the mayor? Her heart doesn’t seem to be in it… (she is) so far attacking her mayoral campaign with a resounding yawn, followed by a shrug and an eye-roll.”
If Dumanis is an early flop, establishment-type Republicans may have little choice but to switch support to Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher unless some new rival (a Great GOP Hope?) jumps in. The third GOP candidate, Councilman Carl DeMaio, talks about taking on the business community and makes establishment types nervous. And the fourth leading candidate is a Democrat.
• Our Scott Lewis hones in what we’ve heard (and not heard) from the mayoral candidates. Fletcher has been “quiet on what specifically he’d do to cure San Diego’s financial funk,” while DeMaio is “so focused on the finances, in fact, he’s less clear on what he’d actually do if they were all cleared up.” Dumanis offers the “risk-averse but gracious competence of the incumbent,” while Rep. Bob Filner “a classic left-wing progressive, someone who’ll likely argue that taxes and compromise close deficits faster than fighting with unions.”
Emerald’s Email and Another Pension Suit
Councilwoman Marti Emerald may have violated the law by sending an email from her city account announcing her candidacy to retain her position, the U-T reports.
In other City Hall news, the paper says hundreds of current and former city workers are suing over pension proceeds they say they’re due from the city.
Allocating Blame for the Hole in Affordable Housing Oversight
Readers are reacting to our story about how the Housing Commission apparently ran a ring around the City Council when it comes to oversight. “The City Council is saying they were honeyfuggled,” Allen Hemphill writes. “They are easily honeyfuggled — that is the problem!”
Dale Peterson says some council members were “duped” while others were “the expediters for another fleecing of the citizens monies.”
A Lesson in a Last-Minute Scramble
Yesterday in the San Diego Unified district was a bit like “match day” for medical students, but with a twist: the teachers waiting for school assignments weren’t exactly overjoyed to be standing around the district offices and waiting for a verdict. They’re considered “excessed” teachers: they had to leave their schools, because of budget or enrollment issues, but they have enough seniority to keep working while rookies get laid off.
“The question is where they’ll go,” Emily Alpert reports. “Schools have already advertised jobs and interviewed candidates. Now is the tricky part: Assigning teachers who didn’t get one of those jobs to schools that still need teachers.”
• Test scores in San Diego Unified schools are going up, and they’re even better than ever before. But more campuses are failing when it comes to meeting the standards of No Child Left Behind. What gives? “States must ramp up the requirements over time, making it harder for schools to match,” Alpert explains. “And if even one group of students at a school falls short, such as English learners, the whole school can be tagged for not making the grade.”
Defining What San Diego Is Through Art
Susan Myrland, the curator of the ArtLabs projects spun off from this weekend’s big contemporary art festival, tells us that they’re designed to help San Diego look at itself.
“San Diego grapples with its identity,” she said. “We are preoccupied with what we’re not or what we don’t have… We make art by any means necessary and our artists want respect. They want recognition and support from the public, media, collectors, gallerists, and local leaders. Sometimes that manifests as chronic discontent — but in the case of the ArtLabs, it coalesced into a citywide statement: ‘This is who we are.’”
We’ve got plenty of ArtLabs numbers, including 200 (the number of pounds of flour in an artwork called “Self titled”).
At Last, a Visit from This Mr. President
Twelve presidents in a row have visited San Diego while in office (and 14 in total), but the one who’s in the White House now hasn’t had a chance to drop by. But it looks like that will change next month, when we’re scheduled to see the 13th chief executive since our streak started with FDR.
President Obama is making a West Coast swing in September and will stop by a lunchtime fundraiser in La Jolla. It’ll cost $5,000 to attend and $10,000 if you’d like to get in the photo line.
Last year, we heard memories from readers about presidential visits to San Diego by a giraffe-friendly Clinton, a Mission Hills-bound Truman, and an apparently well-lubricated and well-bedded JFK. (Get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about how a reader spotted a mattress and cases of scotch on their way to Air Force One when Kennedy was here.)
Back to the present. Hey Mr. President! How about meeting me later for a fish taco? I’ve got a few ideas about how to solve the nation’s problems. About four hours should do it if I make it snappy. Now here’s how you avoid being honeyfuggled…