Our Scott Lewis writes that San Diego school board member Scott Barnett — the taxpayer advocate who’s proposed not one but two new taxes — “appears committed to dealing with reality and confronting residents with the stark crisis at hand.” He is, Lewis writes, “the first schools official I’ve seen to even try to conceive of a remotely realistic plan that would bring the district’s cash flow in line with its spending.”

Lewis also notes a challenge: parents who are already pitching in financially, in the form of contributions, to boost their local schools. “This simultaneously makes them more willing to pay for schools and less likely to ever agree to increase their taxes.”

• Barnett has responded to a commenter on Lewis’ Monday post, who wondered what happened to Barnett, the former head of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.

Bankruptcy, Finally, for Company in South Bay Power Plant Cleanup

Eight months ago, we spent some time looking at the South Bay Power Plant. We identified a serious potential problem as Chula Vista and the port work to tear down the eyesore: The energy company Dynegy was in danger of going bankrupt, yet it owed up to $40 million to the effort to tear down the plant. Was that money in danger?

Looks like we’ll find out. The company has declared bankruptcy. That puts the cleanup in question. Our story gets you up to date and provides extensive background.

A Partner for a Manchester U-T Deal

Local developer Doug Manchester says he’ll partner with John Lynch, a former local radio executive, if he buys the Union-Tribune.

Among other things, one of Lynch’s radio companies created the nationally influential alternative rock station 91X in the 1980s. But he’s no leftie: a 2006 U-T story says he prepared an on-air editorial that said Councilwoman Donna Frye was “to the left of Mao and so unbelievably anti-business that she will destroy our city and its business environment.” He was also a big advocate of a new Chargers stadium.

As for Manchester’s political leanings, the Reader says he gave money to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Art in (and Bigger) Than the Streets

How does classical music sound in the street? We’ve got the answer and more in the latest of our popular weekly Arts Report. Have you not signed up for this, yet?

• It’s been a while since San Diego had its last public art brouhaha. Now another one may loom on the horizon: the port district will consider allowing two 500-foot sculptures that are supposed to look like sails or wings, the Union-Tribune reports. They’d be installed on Navy Pier.

Environmentalists worry about blocking views, but port commissioners are gaga over the sculptures, which supporters think could become as iconic as, say, Sydney’s opera house. As for me, the artist’s conception makes the sculptures look like two big vases. Anyone got some gigantic roses?

Pension on Ballot, Occupiers to Court

A skim through the news:

• We’ve collected 10 of your comments about our City in Desrepair coverage. Including this dig from reader Dale Peterson on the mayor’s recent trip around the country to figure out how other cities built new sports stadiums and arenas. “Maybe the mayor can find the time to schedule visits to Denver, Indianapolis, etc. to see how those municipalities fix streets.

• It’s official: The pension reform initiative is heading for the ballot.

• A lawyer plans to sue the city, challenging its enforcement of a regulation to prevent Occupy San Diego protesters from putting their stuff on the ground. (U-T)

• A judge ruled that landlords can evict medical marijuana shops. (U-T)

• School board member Shelia Jackson voted against allowing the district to continue giving business to a company that employs her daughter. Our investigation uncovered how she earlier voted on a contract for the company.

Mistaken Numbers on U-T Readership

In yesterday’s Morning Report, I noted that the U-T’s print circulation significantly outweighs its daily readership online. That’s true. It’s also correct that about half of the online readership, as of October, came from outside the San Diego area.

But I misunderstood statistics from Quantcast, which tracks online readership of websites. Over the last month, SignOnSanDiego.com got roughly 120,000-140,000 daily unique visitors on weekdays. The number I reported, 92,000, was for a single, weekend day. Also, the numbers are read from the site, not estimated. My apologies for the errors.

Ex-Workers File Suit Against SD Reader

Three female sales reps who formerly worked for the San Diego Reader, the leading local alternative weekly paper, claim in a lawsuit that they suffered from “gender discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination,” CityBeat reports.

Issa Wants Probe of Group’s Ties to Occupy Wall Street

Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican congressional watchdog who represents a chunk of North County, is asking federal prosecutors to investigate a New York organization’s links to the Occupy Wall Street protests, reports the liberal news site Talking Points Memo.

Issa wrote that New York Communities for Change, which is reportedly closely linked to the defunct and controversial liberal group ACORN, “solicited donations from union members under false pretenses and misappropriated those funds to support the protesters.”

On TV, Checking Education Claims

San Diego Fact Check TV looks into a mostly true claim about how an Oakland school district overseer needed bodyguards and a true claim about a groundbreaking lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies major at San Diego State.

Under the Bridge with the Trolls

The U-T recently abandoned anonymous comments after online readers suffered through years of offensive displays of every kind of bad -ism. Now, commenters must identify themselves through Facebook.

Some annoyed commenters — “outcasts, people on the edge, trolls and crazies, with a few normal folks thrown in for good measure” — have created their own site, called signedoffsandiego.com. They’ve reportedly posted thousands of comments already. 

I am keeping my blood pressure at its usual rolling boil by not reading any of the site’s uncensored comments

Size Matters, But Not the Way You Think

East County Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (the son of the previous Rep. Duncan Hunter) declared this week that small businesses should pay no taxes at all, La Mesa Patch reports. “If you’re making a product in the United States, you should be tax-free,” he told a business seminar, later telling a reporter that “there is legislation out there, and I’m on it.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what legislation he was talking about, but no matter. I’m heading out to officially add “Inc.” to my name, just in case. 

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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