The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
The South Bay school contracting scandal, which has led to felony charges against a quartet of current and former South Bay school officials, is finally allowing the district attorney to prove that her public-integrity prosecutors aren’t just sitting there.
As we noted last April, the unit that had been widely touted during its 2007 inception had be remarkably silent. At that point, only three of the 88 prosecutions Bonnie Dumanis claimed as public integrity cases actually involved politicians or public officials.
Oh by the way, Dumanis is running for mayor. The case she brought Wednesday would allow her to offer up one major, current case as evidence of the unit’s work.
This just in: Dumanis has announced this morning that she’ll be unveiling a reform plan for the San Diego Unified School District that will address the composition of the school board, involving parents and financial management. The district has been locked in a high-profile financial struggle.
She’s called a press conference for 3 p.m. We’ll have coverage of her plan.
In the criminal case, the targeted officials include a former superintendent and school board members who serve the Sweetwater high school district, which runs the high schools and middle schools in South Bay and is one of the largest school districts in the state. A contractor was also charged.
“For years public officials regularly accepted what amounted to bribes in exchange for their votes on multimillion-dollar construction projects,” U-T San Diego quotes Dumanis as saying.
The current and former officials face maximum prison terms of four to seven years. Dumanis credited the U-T’s work on the Sweetwater district for sparking her unit’s inquiry.
City Council President’s Vague Views
Tony Young, the City Council members who’s entering his second term as council president, sat down with us for a Q&A and showed he isn’t in the mood for public decision-making.
Will he endorse the pension reform initiative? Has has some “concerns,” but he’s not saying what they are or which way he’ll go, he tells us.
How about a mayoral endorsement? Nope. Although he believes “they all could do a good job.” Hmm.
He does, however, want to create a “culture of education” in the city. Exactly what role the City Council has in city schools hasn’t been laid out.
Home of the Whopper
There’s not much time left to vote for which local big shot fired the biggest ball of manure at the public last year. In case you’re more of a visual learner than a text guy or gal, we’ve posted the Fact Check TV videos for each of the finalists for Whopper of the Year.
Steve Cushman, a convention center expansion booster, had the early lead in voting. But a late surge from the rear, Santorum-style, has changed everything! County Supervisor Bill Horn, whom some believe deserves a special Lifetime Achievement Award in this category, might win in an upset.
News at the Speed of Brief
• Some of us read our Rich Toscano’s updates about real-estate values because the colorful graphs have an artistic flair. (Look! A mountain next to a big canyon! And another one!) Others appreciate his ability to figure out what the graphs tell us about the state of the housing market.
His latest missive has good news for homebuyers: “As of October, real home prices (as measured by the inflation-adjusted aggregate Case-Shiller index) were the lowest they’d been since February 2001.”
• A lawyer-turned-priest will become the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, the U-T reports. Cirilo Flores, formerly the auxiliary bishop for the Orange County diocese, will take over for Robert Brom next year.
Brom, who led the diocese as it struggled with sexual abuse allegations and threatened bankruptcy, is retiring.
Not Just Four People Want to Be Mayor (Who Knew?)
Mayoral candidate Sunny O. Enyoghwerho would like everyone to know that not just four people are running for mayor. “The four candidates are part of the establishment,” Enyoghwerho writes in a letter to the editor. “The rest of the candidates are outsiders. They are not part of the establishment; as a result the media is not promoting them. This is what I call media discrimination.”
We Have a News Quiz Winner
Years ago, I had an editor who wasn’t much on tracking what his reporters wrote for our newspaper. When he left, we made a Top 10 list of things we’d remember about him. My contribution: “That day he read the paper.”
More than a few journalists share the same affliction, and rarely read news stories unless they’re looking for signs that a competitor screwed up. (I know nothing — nothing! — about this kind of behavior.) But CityBeat associate editor Kelly Davis does follow current events, and her keen eye for details helped her to win the second annual VOSD News Quiz.
She got 15 of 16 answers right, even managing to figure out the amusing fake name (no, not I.P. Freely or Seymour Butz) used by a man who tried to slime a political opponent in Escondido.
We’ve printed the answers to the quiz, allowing you to learn things like the street that school board member Shelia Jackson used near her (at least temporary) home — Shelia Driveway (!) — and the delightful place you can hold corporate meetings at Petco Park (one of the locker rooms).
And if you’re looking to get bonked on the head by a coconut let loose from a palm tree — a scenario envisioned by a national journalist last year — you, as they used to say in those old TV ads, belong in the zoo.
Kisses and Goodbye
The popular and notorious “Unconditional Statue” will disappear from the waterfront next month, KPBS reports.
The what? You may know it better as the giant (25-foot) statue of a sailor kissing a nurse. The “over-sized, brightly painted sculpture has romanced some and repulsed others,” KPBS says, putting it mildly (In Sarasota, Fla., a version of the sculpture even drew an attack based on the bonkers theory that the original famous V-J Day photo actually showed an assault.)
Kitsch can be awesome, but the sculpture isn’t deliriously bad enough to be good. It’s just big and kinda creepy, and who needs to go to the waterfront to see something like that? Heck, some of us — not you, of course, dear reader — can just look in a mirror.
Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.