Hotel owners in the city of San Diego will soon be receiving ballots with a question about whether they want to raise the city’s hotel-room tax. The money would go to a major expansion of the Convention Center.
They have a month to decide. But they’re playing some serious power politics next week. Whether they get what they want may very well determine if the tax goes up. (Assuming they are legally allowed to raise the tax without a vote of the public — a point the city attorney has said is questionable.)
What do they want? They want the City Council to take away the sales and marketing operations from the Convention Center Corporation and give it to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Ostensibly that would mean more convention business would flow to local hotels. This has organized labor worried.
The Chamber of Commerce sent out a blast imploring its supporters to line up behind the change schedule for Tuesday. “Approval of this agreement is an ESSENTIAL step toward the convention center expansion, a top priority of the Chamber,” the statement said.
If it’s in all caps, you know it really is ESSENTIAL.
Here was our recent reader’s guide to help you follow the Convention Center drama as it escalates.
You’re reading the Saturday Morning Report, where we review what we learned this week and bring you up to speed on all the major public issues in San Diego.
What We Learned This Week
There’s No Evidence Curfew Sweeps Work: Keegan Kyle set out to see if it was true that curfew sweeps, one of the most heralded programs of the San Diego Police Department, were actually reducing juvenile crime. The data comparison he did challenged that claim. Targeting areas like City Heights once or twice a month, the police arrest every minor outside after 10 p.m. An intense conversation broke out after the article and in letters.
Carl DeMaio Has a Painful Past and Is Shaping the GOP’s Future: In an extensive profile, Liam Dillon looked deep into City Councilman Carl DeMaio’s biography and tried to figure out what makes the mayoral aspirant tick. At the same time, DeMaio solidified his place atop the Republican Party of San Diego by securing its endorsement over two other Republican stars running. My simple post noting how the Republican Party has shifted generated a debate. Erik Bruvold thought the change wasn’t necessarily a left or right thing but a new coalition taking charge. Others just said I didn’t know what I was talking about, which is quite possible.
Bob Filner Still Doesn’t Have a Pension Plan: Mayoral candidate and Congressman Bob Filner said he has a plan that would relieve the city of hundreds of millions of dollars in pension costs. It’s been more than 280 days by our count since he promised this plan, which not only saves millions but protects pension benefits. We compiled a timeline of his milestones along this 280-day trek. U-T cartoonist Steve Breen put his curiosity about the plan a bit more succinctly.
The Port Doesn’t Care What Art Advisors Think: We learned this week that, when you ask people to serve on an advisory committee and then say their opinion is elitist, they might resign.
San Diego’s Front Porch Is Lacking Investors, Life: Developer Doug Manchester needs someone to help foot the bill if his dream for the Navy Broadway Complex is ever to actually come true. That, and he’ll need to present the California Coastal Commission a much different dream.
People Don’t Like Teacher Layoffs: In a moving photo essay, we found Teachers of the Year who got layoff notices. And then a senior at Serra High School, Sierra McGivney, sent in a passionate letter. “Several teachers, a lot of them being mine, had received pink slips. Instead of cutting the ineffective teachers, who don’t even teach, they’re cutting the teachers who actually do teach, because of seniority,” she wrote. A teacher sent out a heart-felt apology to fellow pink-slipped teachers and took issue with the union’s leadership. What do you think about what they wrote? Log your thoughts here.
Top Comments and Reads
We have once again highlighted the Top 5 reader comments of the week.
And here’s our reading list of stories not necessarily connected to San Diego, including an interesting profile of FlashReport publisher Jon Fleischman. Did you read something you think our intelligent community would like to see? Send Dagny Salas a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quick News Hits
• The Daily Transcript wrote up a discussion in San Diego on Friday between proponents of various statewide tax hikes. It’s a good summary of each of the proposals.
• The Wall Street Journal says officials are warning that Southern California may face rolling blackouts if reactors at the San Onofre nuclear plant remain shut down for repairs.
• The website Grist profiled efforts to revitalize Chollas Creek. Read our Q&A with the activist helping lead those efforts.
• U-T San Diego’s editor Jeff Light has posted a note explaining why he decided not to run the Doonesbury cartoon this week.
Quote of the Week
“I think it probably is to some extent a product of my childhood that you keep your emotions in a box because it is so scary. It is so painful.”
— Carl DeMaio, from a transcript of an interview with him about his background.
I’m Scott Lewis, the CEO at voiceofsandiego.org. You can contact me directly at email@example.com or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!): twitter.com/vosdscott.