As our investigation showed earlier this summer, affordable housing can be tremendously expensive, sometimes much more than comparable private developments. Now, a state commission, led by California’s treasurer, is going to examine what’s going on.
The panel “will study the soaring costs of those developments and make reforms if needed,” reports Will Carless from Sacramento. “The commission plans to update a study completed in 1993 that comprehensively compared the cost of building affordable housing to market-rate developments.”
It’s still not clear how the commission will act to “get our arms around cost containment and begin to address it,” its executive director said. The commission’s job is to figure out which developments get low-income tax credits.
Roof Collapses at Border Crossing
A construction canopy collapsed at the San Ysidro border crossing yesterday, injuring several people and spawning a traffic mess as northbound lanes were shut down, the Union-Tribune reports. At least one person suffered serious injuries.
Some northbound lanes reopened at midnight. The cause of the collapse, linked to a big reconstruction project, isn’t clear.
If at First You Can’t Tax, Try Try Again
Supporters of a $550 million plan to expand the convention center have gone back to the drawing board in their bid to raise money from tourists to pay for it. They still don’t want to put an extra fee on hotel nights before voters, but they are now hoping to form a different kind of special districtthan they’re earlier envisioned to make hotel guests cough up more dough.
There’s a catch: They’ll need support from two-thirds of hotel owners compared to the 50 percent required by the earlier plan. As we told you earlier this week, another plan to raise money from guests at most hotels, through extending an existing charge, has hit a snag.
• Hotel rates in San Diego — at least those booked through the hotels.com websites — dipped in the first six months of the year, a new report says. With average nightly rates falling 19 percent to compared to 2010, San Diego had the seventh highest drop of any city in the world, and the highest drop in the U.S.
The average nightly rate here was $128.
Trash Hauler Hit Hard in Immigration Investigation
The company that hauls trash and recyclables for the city of Escondido had to sack more than 50 workers — about a quarter of its employees — because they lacked documentation to work in the U.S., the North County Times reports. The move came after the company was audited by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The mayor of Escondido was pleased. However, critics complain that the audits “are sometimes inaccurate and that they often displace veteran employees navigating their way through the complicated process of acquiring proper documentation,” the newspaper says.
Analyzing Police Department’s Twitter Claim
“We put crime information out on Twitter,” Executive Assistant Police Chief David Ramirez said this week. Is he right? San Diego Fact Check finds that the claim is “barely true.”
In fact, the police department doesn’t tweet, and its “use of Twitter is indirect or infrequent at best,” Keegan Kyle reports. And then after our story was posted, guess what? The police department tweeted.
La Mesa Native in News Over Airport Search Claims
A woman who graduated from what is now Helix Charter High School in La Mesa says “she was forced off an airplane in handcuffs, strip-searched and interrogated at Detroit’s airport Sunday because of her Middle Eastern appearance,” patch.com reports.
Fighter jets accompanied the plane into the Detroit airport after a report about men acting suspiciously by spending a long time in the bathroom. They sat next to the woman, Shoshana Hebshi; the FBI reports that the three people didn’t know each other.
The flight originated in San Diego.
The San Diego Schools Budget, Graphically
As we explained earlier this week, the San Diego school district is gambling on the economy to improve and help pay for future pay increases. If the economy doesn’t get better, the district’s financial outlook worsens substantially. We’ve created a graphic that shows where the district’s budget goes and allows you to see how big of a hit the district would take from budget shortfalls over the next few years.
The $57 million estimated shortfall in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, for example, is roughly equivalent to the money spent on technology and budget/financial services. The 2013-2014 estimated shortfall, $65 million, isn’t too much smaller than the $91 million that the district spends on middle schools.
Maybe they could get rid of middle schools! Students would be thrilled, or at least those who have any remaining non-hormone-related brain power.
Correcting Labor’s Claim Against DeMaio
The Morning Report yesterday incorrectly described a claim by a local labor organization. The group says Councilman Carl DeMaio’s campaign for mayor wrongly took voter identification information from petitions supporting the pension reform initiative, not the reverse, as we stated yesterday. We regret the error.
Look! Up in the Sky!
A fireball zoomed across the nighttime sky yesterday evening, surprising plenty of folks around the county, the Union-Tribune and North County Times report. It appears to have been a meteor and was seen across the Southwest.
On a sunny Saturday in La Mesa, a group of “gleaners” gathered to harvest enough fruit to pack two cars and send the produce to the pantries of the International Rescue Committee’s offices. We were there for the picking party — we told you about regional fruit-gathering efforts in a story earlier this week — and now our photographer offers up his favorite pictures from the outing. Check out the shots of fruit-picking tools and the sexiest-looking fruit you’ve ever seen.
There are also shots from tree level. That can’t bode well. Time to post a new sign at the orchard: Look out! Falling photographers!