The years-long housing crisis has been a boon for people looking to scarf up property at low prices, and you might think it would be a great time to build cheaply too. But the San Diego school district is discovering that isn’t enough to help it out of a bind: dipping property values may force it to scuttle its full spending of $2.1 billion on school construction.

Voters approved borrowing $2.1 billion in 2008, and the district went forward with spending plans that assumed home prices would go up 5 percent a year. Growing home prices would translate to more money to pay off the bond because voters had agreed to boost their property taxes to deal with the debt.

But the projections were — surprise! — overly positive. (And no, what was happening to the housing market was not a secret in 2008 when they passed the bond. Denial, however, was strong).

How bad is it? It looks like the district will only bring enough money to pay off a previous bond.

Meanwhile, don’t forget, efforts are underway to pass yet another $30-$40 dollar charge on property tax bills per $100,000 of property value.

Mayoral Rivals Ponder an Airport to Go

San Diego has its faults — remind me to show you my multi-volume list — but it does have one great thing: a conveniently located airport. Unlike, say, Chicago. Or New York City, Minneapolis, Seattle, or…

You get my point. Now, Lindbergh Field with a $1 billion project, but it’s staying put. We asked the mayoral candidates: Should it stay where it is instead of moving to, say, Miramar? And should the city keep running its two small airports?

Councilman Carl DeMaio doesn’t support a new airport or a move to Miramar, but he’s open to privatizing the municipal airports. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis says a move is “off the table,” and she wants to replace Terminal 1; she’s open to regime change at the smaller airports. Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher also opposes a move and complains that the city is one of the few in the country with no way to get to the airport via direct mass transit.

Schools Trustee Lets Loose with a Whopper

San Diego Fact Check TV notes that San Diego school board member Shelia Jackson dropped a load of inaccuracy on parents at a board meeting: she falsely said the school board never told district officials how to figure out which schools to close.

Jackson garnered a rare “Huckster Propaganda” verdict from our fact check crew. That’s the verdict that’s illustrated by Pinocchio with his pants on fire and laughing his fool head off.

High State Court Ruling Makes Pension-Trimming Tougher

The California Supreme Court issued a ruling in an Orange County case that’s “expected to make it more difficult for state and local governments to shave costs by cutting health benefits to retirees if elected officials in previous years made it clear that those benefits would last a lifetime,” the LA Times reports.

Briefs: Govts vs. SDG&E and a Whale of an Opportunity

• Local government agencies that use solar power are lining up to oppose SDG&E’s plans to boost rates for customers who installed solar but are still hooked up to the energy grid, the NC Times reports.

SDG&E suggests that the agencies might be confused about how they’ll be affected, but the agencies say “the higher energy costs would reduce the savings they had expected by as much as half,” the newspaper says.

Among those concerned: the city of San Diego, which fears the costs of its 11 solar installations could triple.

• Your reaction to the very big and very dead fin whale found on Point Loma may be something along the lines of “Ewww!” But to local biologists, this is much more of an “Oh boy!” moment.

We now know more details about what’s next. Lifeguards are hoping to successfully tow the whale to Fiesta Island in Mission Bay tomorrow. A necropsy — an autopsy on an animal — is planned tomorrow with the help of about 10 people “using knives on poles, along with standard medical tools such as retractors. They will wear gloves, waders to keep dry, and face masks if there’s an indication of pathogens in the carcass,” the U-T reports.

The whale will then go from Fiesta Island to the dump. In a related story, I’m staying off the freeways the rest of the week.

Suspects Nabbed in Burglaries of 27 Hair Salons

Police say they’ve arrested three suspects in the burglaries of 27 hair salons — yes, 27 — in Hillcrest, Mission Hills and San Carlos.

The suspects allegedly sold the products on the Internet, NBC 7 San Diego reports.

Still at large: the hairdresser who made me look like Kristy McNichol back in the 1980s. (Younger readers: Ask your parents).

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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