The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
Another day, another revelation about the corruption scandal that has engulfed Sweetwater Union High School District. Rob Davis offers you a guide to understanding how we got to where we are at in the Sweetwater investigation.
According to Davis, today the district will consider whether to release a report that was issued on an audit of public relations consultant Scott Alevy’s bills to the district. The audit was conducted after questions arose about the accuracy of Alevy’s bills, but the district has refused to release the report, citing attorney-client privilege.
• U-T San Diego also reports today the Sweetwater school board will decide whether the public should pay — up to $900,000 — for the legal defenses of three of its own current members caught up in the investigation. Each of the three members’ cases will be considered individually, and at the time of each consideration the board member in question will leave the room. The remaining four — two of whom also face allegations in the probe — will then vote.
If you’re wondering how all of this got started, Davis recently wrote an in-depth article about the construction company and the public agency at the center of the scandal that District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis now calls a pay-to-play scheme.
Filner vs. Tea Party, Fact Check Watches
In an appearance before the hostile Tea Party, Bob Filner responded to a challenge about his support for, and from, labor unions. He said he had been elected “about 25 times” and that he had not ever received the support of special interest groups. That caught the attention of our Fact Check team, who gave him a flat out false.
Your Fixes for San Diego
Do you have an opinion about what’s right, wrong or could be fixed about San Diego? Send it in through our Fix San Diego form. Here are a few to come in lately:
Long-time education writer Les Birdsall wrote to us about the idea of requiring students to stay in school until graduation or until they turn 18, an idea mentioned by President Barack Obama in his recent State of the Union speech. “Should we keep every student in school until age 18? Of course,” Birdsall writes. “What we should not do is require them to sit in school and fail.”
Frequent contributor Vlad Kogan wrote to us in consideration of expanding the Convention Center, and argues that Convention Centers are not economic engines. He lays out four points in his argument to reconsider going ahead with the proposed expansion, and concludes that an expanded Convention Center amounts to an “arms race” between cities. “So expect that another expansion will be needed five to 10 years from now, at an even greater cost to taxpayers,” he writes.
Our Scott Lewis recently named the Convention Center as number 11 on the list of top 12 stories you should follow in 2012, and explained why it is such an important issue facing San Diego’s economy and politics.
We also heard from Bill Bradshaw, Voice member since 2005, about What’s Wrong with Papa Doug’s ‘Vision’ for the area where the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal currently sits. Bradshaw argues that Manchester doesn’t understand that San Diegans prefer participant sports over spectator sports. “They can’t accept the idea that San Diegans are, largely, active sports enthusiasts who would rather participate than pay to watch,” Bradshaw writes.
About that Vision…
On Friday, a U-T San Diego panel of experts gave a majority “No” response to a question of whether its proposed waterfront sports resort is an “economically wise investment.” Despite that, the newspaper published an opinion on Sunday questioning whether the current plans for an expanded Convention Center are viable, and raising the profile of the project’s opponents, who include organized labor. The article says its recently proposed stadium complex is a “better path forward.”
That proposal, which includes developing two beaches on the space occupied by the terminal, “could be developed without disruption of the existing port operations.”
This, ostensibly, puts visitors and bathers on the new beaches in the same space as 725-foot Dole container ships that arrive once a week at the terminal in question.
Also, as our Scott Lewis noted last night, one of the two big problems the newspaper says is standing in the way of the current convention center expansion plans is the questionable legality of a hotel-room tax increase. But the newspaper’s own vision included this tax hike too. Why would the paper’s version not face the same trouble?
High Cost for Fixed Ticket
A San Diego police sergeant and a deputy district attorney are in hot water over an alleged ticket-fixing incident. NBC San Diego wrote Saturday that the two could lose their jobs over the charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and alteration or destruction of a traffic citation.
Bipartisan Parties and Fireworks
Last year, an environmental group successfully sued the city of San Diego after it was discovered that the city hadn’t been following a policy related to permitting fireworks shows, or specifically in this case, the show over the La Jolla Cove on July 4, 2011. But the decision against the city had far-reaching implications, reports KPBS.
“When the judge issued the ruling, it essentially said the city has been violating the law in the way it has been processing permits for all of these types of events,” said Attorney Marco Gonzalez, who argued against the city in the case. That meant that small events like birthday parties and even picnics could be affected.
State Senator Juan Vargas (D) has co-sponsored a bill that would allow events “of a limited duration” by exempting them from the California Environmental Quality Act.
We’re Closer Than You Think
It is commonly said that Americans are increasingly polarized when it comes to politics. But social scientists say that simply isn’t true, reported the Los Angeles Times. At the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in San Diego, scientists reported on their examination of data collected from 1948 to 2008. According to their findings, we aren’t any more polarized today than we were decades ago, but we all tend to overestimate the distance between the two major parties. Researchers also found that, despite perceptions, neither party actually holds a monopoly on moral convictions.
The researchers backed up their conclusions with an image of a map of the United States, overlaid with red or blue, depending on the dominant political leanings of that area.
The map was overwhelmingly red.
Seth Hall can be reached at email@example.com.