What We Learned This Week

Watchdogs Can Air Their Own Dirty Laundry Too: The Utility Consumers’ Action Network shocked everyone who follows public affairs in San Diego this week with a very bizarre announcement that it was seeking dissolution and had gotten a subpoena from a federal grand jury. Rob Davis put together an in-depth piece about what was going on. Friday he posted actual copies of the staff attorney’s whistle-blowing complaints to the board of directors that started the strife along with the response.

The School District Is Getting Desperate: There’s not much else you can glean from the latest press conference from the leadership of San Diego city schools. Superintendent Bill Kowba says 1,100 layoffs may occur unless they can get the teachers union to begin bargaining. The union simply doesn’t believe them.

The Mayor’s Race Is Getting Interesting: A dramatic 12 hours gave us a sneak peek at some tense confrontations likely to come between Carl DeMaio, Nathan Fletcher, Bob Filner and Bonnie Dumanis. We also took a look at how the four were trying to frame the issues (Dumanis wants it to be about age and experience, DeMaio wants it to be about unions).

• We’ve also begun an exploration into each candidate’s plan for local jobs. First up was DeMaio’s, which is heavy on detail with a long list of major and minor changes he would immediately make. But next was Dumanis’ plan, which is definitely not heavy on detail. Watch for the Filner and Fletcher pieces at the beginning of next week.

Q&A: Head of the Airport Authority

Randy Dotinga introduces his lively Q&a with Robert Gleason, the chairman of the Airport Authority, with a list of complaints Gleason fields about the airport from his friends.

Then Dotinga proceeds to make Gleason field a series of complaints he has about the airport. The result is worth a read. For instance, did you know the new vendors at the airport cannot charge more than 10 percent above the street price for their goods? You do now.

Gavin Newsom Smacks Historic Officer over Balboa Park

Last month, the state’s historic preservation officer delivered a blow to folks trying to revamp the Plaza de Panama in the middle of Balboa Park. Milford Wayne Donaldson wrote that the changes would threaten the park’s designation as a National Historic Landmark. KPBS followed up the story.

That apparently got the lieutenant governor’s attention.

“This project is a shining example of what we can do to improve our communities when private and public parties come together with a shared goal of preserving California’s history,” Newsom wrote to Donaldson. He wrote he was troubled Donaldson came to his conclusions before the environmental impact process was completed and without having met with the supporters of the project.

Here’s what the proposed changes would look like and my recent post about why this year will be so important for the park.

Quick Hits

• Dagny Salas’ regular collection of some of the stories we thought were worth a read this week is posted. It includes an easy-to-digest Q&A with Penn Law School’s David Skeel about pensions and bankruptcy.

• The FBI confirmed to U-T San Diego that it executed search warrants at the home and former place of employment of El Cajon City Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox.

• The New York Times and Bloomberg both recently featured the Mission Valley development Civita. The Times focused on the $2 billion project’s unique urban design and Bloomberg used it as an example of the housing industry starting to get back on its feet (in a photo by former VOSD staffer Sam Hodgson).

City Council Raise Proposed for Next Class

The city of San Diego’s Salary Setting Commission has recommended that the City Council and mayor be paid more. Each year the commission says this. And each year during the financial crisis, the City Council has rejected it.

But this year, the commission added a twist: It’s proposing that the changes go into effect after the current mayor and council members leave office.

In other words, if the City Council votes for it, for the first time they won’t be voting on their own pay but, instead, their successors’ pay. NBC 7 San Diego has the story. And attorney Bob Ottilie, from the commission, makes the case for it in this U-T op-ed.

• Speaking of our partners at NBC 7 San Diego, they’re re-launching their show Politically Speaking. It airs on Sunday after Meet the Press at 9 a.m. I’m a guest this week for a brief few minutes.

Quote of the Week

“I have $500 to make it happen. Right now I think I have $10 left. So we better hope nothing happens.”

— Jeannie Galioto, costume designer for Mo’olelo’s “How I Got That Story” in a photo essay as she tries to make the show look good on a slim budget.

Number of the Week


— The amount the nonprofit Utility Consumers Action Network lost in an investment in a hedge fund.

Danica Patrick Utterly Perplexed by SD Station Decision (Or Not?)

Fox 5 San Diego recently had to deal with a firestorm after sports anchor Ross Shimabuku said that he could think of a b-word to describe race-car driver Danica Patrick and it wasn’t beautiful.

Sports Illustrated posted an AP story Friday saying Patrick was “nonplussed” when told that the station suspended Shimabuku for a week with no pay.


The story makes it sound like she was not at all nonplussed. Oh man, now I’m nonplussed.

Correction: The original version of this said airport vendors could not charge more than 10 percent of street prices. That should have read 10 percent “above” street prices and has been updated.

I’m Scott Lewis, the CEO of voiceofsandiego.org. You can contact me directly at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!): twitter.com/vosdscott.

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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