Scott Lewis breaks down why it’s so interesting that Doug Manchester’s U-T San Diego wants to raise taxes and destroy the leadership of the port of San Diego.

The paper has joined the hotel-workers union, the Chargers and the city attorney among those who think the proposed hotel-room tax hike for the Convention Center is legally questionable because it would not involve a vote of the people. The paper would like to pass a similar tax, but countywide, and use the money for  a new stadium and convention center plan.

“While it’s a good step for it to recognize this as a true tax hike, it’s going to get awkward — most notably for the staunchly anti-tax Republican mayoral candidates,” Lewis writes, adding that the paper is dropping bombs on the people who run the port as it pushes for its plan.

• In other U-T news, there’s been buzz that the U-T is looking into buying the Orange County Register, the main daily newspaper between here and Los Angeles. We called U-T publisher Manchester who said yes, he’s interested in adding it to his portfolio.

“There’s no deal right now,” Manchester said. “Check with me in 30 days and there might be something.”

Manchester has previously expressed an interest in buying the North County Times, and he also told us that he’d love to snap up the Los Angeles Times and The (Riverside) Press-Enterprise.

• Why have newspapers nationwide had such a terrible time of it during the last several years? They haven’t been able to make a bundle off the Internet, which still only makes up about 10 percent or less of a typical newspaper’s advertising income.

A new report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism offers some insight into what’s gone wrong. 

Fletcher Wants to Be a Jobs Emissary

You might think that a series of posts about mayoral candidates’ ideas about how to create jobs would be full of pointless platitudes. And there’s some of that in Liam Dillon’s posts. But few exercises have so clearly captured the simple difference between each of the candidates.

There was detail-heavy Carl DeMaio, detail-phobic Bonnie Dumanis, port-obsessed Bob Filner and now it’s Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher’s turn.

His plan is, symbolic of his larger campaign, about trusting him and we sum it up as we did with the others in one word: Ambassador. Like Carl DeMaio he wants to re-brand the city (their choice of new slogans is different). He says he’ll personally lobby the military and the National Institutes of Health.

He’s even listed metrics about how  much job and economic growth we can expect from the city he runs. But a look at the numbers shows they’re not as exciting as they may seem.

Read those four posts and you’ll have a very good idea how differently each candidate would lead.

• Fact Check TV looks at a couple jobs claims that were thrown around by county officials, including a county supervisor and a mayoral candidate, and finds that they’re a bit (or a lot) off the mark.

No Raises for City Council

The City Council unanimously rejected a raise for future council members, KPBS reports.

Kehoe Takes on Abortion Cause

State Senator Christine Kehoe, a Democrat who represents part of San Diego, is the author of legislation that would make it easier for non-doctor medical personnel to perform abortions in the early months of pregnancy, the LA Times reports. She says it will improve access to safe procedures, but an anti-abortion activist said “this is the first step down the road to making it appear like it’s a simple, drive-by, 15-minute diversion.”

Quick News Hits

• The Associated Press has an update on a former prominent cartoonist in San Diego: Steve Kelly. He appears to be thriving after a tough exit from local conversations.

• A cardiologist from the Scripps Clinic in San Diego warns in an op-ed in The New York Times today that “We’re overdosing on cholesterol-lowering statins, and the consequence could be a sharp increase in the incidence of Type 2 diabetes.”

• Today in Wacky Ideas: a Rancho Santa Fe businessman wants to gather signatures to support a ballot measure that would radically revamp the state legislature, the U-T reports, creating 12,000 legislators and 120 super-legislators who’d go to the state capital.

“The 12,000 elected officials would work from home and be paid $1,000 a year, and the ‘working committee’ members would be paid $30,000 a year rather than the $95,291 paid to current lawmakers,” the paper says.

Administration Wants Less Tsunami Funding

The White House wants to cut funding for tsunami warning programs, including for warning buoys in the Pacific Ocean that provide early alerts of trouble, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

“Given how little money it is and the concerns about human life, this is a poor place to cut,” warns a professor of geophysics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The paper says last year’s Japanese tsunami caused $58 million in damage to harbors in Northern California. Tsunamis have had little effect in San Diego, however. One in 1854, caused by an large earthquake in Japan, only boosted the waves here by six inches; last year’s tsunami didn’t have much of an effect either.

So should we not be concerned? Well, consider this: earthquakes have done fairly little damage here throughout recorded history, but we worry plenty about them.

Not me, of course. I’m utterly blase about earthquakes, even during them. Sure, you might hear someone yelling “The world is ending! Run for your lives!” from my house during the next quake. But that’s just, uh, the cat. (He’s nervous.)

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

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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