The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
Mayor Jerry Sanders has declared victory on the city’s decade-long budget crisis.
Plus, library branches will be open four more hours a week, bringing the total to 40. Recreation center hours will get a five-hour weekly boost, and there’s more good news for the police academy program, fire protection and urgent fix-it projects.
It’s a big victory for Jerry Sanders, who was first elected in 2005 to set the city’s fiscal ship straight. So what’s not to like about the city’s big news yesterday about $16.5 million in unexpected money?
Well, there are some caveats.
“The mayor’s promises to transform how the city did business haven’t been realized. His budget solutions have relied more on attrition than reorganization,” Liam Dillon reports.
It’s not easy to measure the cost of this victory. When things got really bad, Sanders’ office stopped tracking many service levels. Some libraries, for one, will still be open a third less than they were a decade ago. And streets remain a mess.
“Our work is not over, but this difficult period in our city’s history is,” declared Councilman Todd Gloria. But for those who expect more from their city and its leaders, the troubles continue.
Understand Teacher Turmoil By Counting Beans, Literally
The relationship between San Diego Unified and its teachers union is shaping up to be a major storyline this year. In our latest installment of San Diego Explained, we turn to coffee beans to gain better understanding of where the two stand as they face the prospect of major teacher layoffs.
• We have a graphic showing how the big layoff warnings last year slowly dissipated over time: The district at this point was warning of more than 1,300 layoffs. In the end, though, a total of 223 lost their jobs.
PB Bars Down for the (Wrong) Count
Talk about fishy. The Pacific Beach Shore Club bar and restaurant in Pacific Beach is a bustling place with 21 TVs, two full bars, goldfish races and more, but it told the city it just had three employees. That saved it $441 on its business tax license.
But it actually has 70 employees, not including the goldfish.
Perhaps the bar’s owner should know better. Who is he? Well, he’s on the board of Discover Pacific Beach, which is supposed to boost the economy in the neighborhood with the help of money that comes in part from those very employee counts. The organization is currently $20,000 in the red.
We last month wrote about an audit detailing problems at the public organization. Now, we’ve received the names of the 23 businesses who were found to have underreported their employee counts.
In fact, the businesses of current and former board members of Discover Pacific Beach account for more than half of the six-fold increase in employees discovered by an audit.
The board’s president reported 20 employees but actually has 69; a former vice president reported four but actually has 50. None of these men would talk to us.
Tribes Decry Bulldozing of ‘Sacred’ Land
Local American Indian tribes are furious over the bulldozing of a plot of land in Fallbrook, near the county’s northern border and northeast of the I-15/Highway 76 intersection. They say the land is a sacred burial ground, but Palomar College wants to build a road on the plot.
“Tribal officials say they have discovered ancient tribal remains and artifacts across the site, including numerous pieces in recent weeks,” the NC Times reports. “They said archeologists contracted by the college had not completed a full examination or inventory of all sites in the construction zone.”
A Focus on the Marines
• Six of the seven Marines killed in a helicopter crash during training in Yuma, Ariz. on Wednesday night were based at Camp Pendleton, says NBC 7 San Diego. The cause of the crash is being investigated.
• State Senator Joel Anderson, who represents part of East County, has joined a fellow Republican, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, in a bid to pressure the U.S. defense secretary to not court-martial the marines who caused an international uproar by urinating on dead fighters in Afghanistan, Patch.com reports.
Anderson is the lead legislator in a letter signed by state GOP lawmakers that says the Marines don’t deserve prison time.
“The actions of the Marines were disgusting and totally wrong,” says the letter, which was also signed by Mark Wyland, a North County state senator. “However, the incident needs to be taken in the proper context of the battlefield conditions.”
A Food Truck Fumble?
Here’s something you may not know about food trucks: a California legislator is trying to ban them from being within thee blocks of schools, supposedly to protect kids from eating unhealthy food. That’s dumb, says a Slate columnist: “it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that the people really being protected here are the restaurant owners.”
The LA Times notes that food trucks are hardly new. Tamales were a street-food fad back in the 19th century, hawked by hundreds of sellers. They even sparked a movement toward school cafeterias after uptight types complained that the tamales were unhealthy for the kiddos.
As for the modern era, well, nobody better get between me and a food truck burrito. That’ll end up in a stand-off. Or, considering how many previous burritos I have on board, maybe it’ll be a sit-off.
Correction: The Morning Report incorrectly said a boost to the city’s budget is good news for the police cadet program. In fact, it will add more cadets to the city’s police academy. We regret the error.