Tuesday the City Council yesterday bowed to hotel owners who wanted control over sales and marketing of the Convention Center to move to the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The hoteliers demanded the switch as a condition of their approval of a tax hike that will be the main source of funds for a mammoth expansion of the facility. Liam Dillon has posted his three takeaways from the vote.

• Now, hotel owners in the city of San Diego must vote on that tax hike. They’re each receiving ballots right now. As Dillon reports, “a state public records expert says the city of San Diego should disclose publicly the number of votes individual hotel companies control in a tax increase election.”

Dillon had recently revealed how one out-of-state corporation could hold sway over the decision because ballots are distributed to hotels based on how much of the tax their guests would pay. We don’t know, though, because the city’s keeping it secret.

A spokesman for City Attorney Jan Goldsmith later contacted Dillon. “The City Attorney believes you’ve raised a legitimate question,” he said.

Former Teachers Union Prez Loses VP Job  

Camille Zombro, who helped the San Diego teachers union develop its more unyielding and antagonistic stance toward the district, has lost her bid to stay on as the union’s vice president. She lost to a teacher who wants to turn the union “in a more positive direction.”

The union recently put its executive director, an ally of Zombro’s, on administrative leave.  

What the District Wants from Teachers

Zombro’s departure comes at an interesting time for the district and it’s largest union. Will Carless yesterday explained what concessions the district wants from teachers to avoid mass layoffs. He’s also included in that post a couple more photos of “teachers of the year” posing with their layoff notices.

On the list of district desires: continued furlough days, limiting the option for no-cost health benefits, eliminating planned across-the-board pay increases and additional pay cuts if new taxes proposed for the state don’t pass.

(Keep in mind that when the district talks about planned pay increases for teachers, it means on top of the automatic raises that teachers often get as their education and experience progress.)

The pink slips warn them that they might be unemployed later this year. Some of the district’s most respected teachers might lose their jobs because of its “last hired, first fired” system that rewards seniority instead of work performance.

• In higher education, the California State University system says it won’t be able to enroll 25,000 students in the fall of 2013 if voters don’t approve tax hikes in November, the U-T reports.

The cuts would include 300-500 fewer students at San Diego State and about 500 at Cal State San Marcos.

Filner Loves DeMaio!

Congressman Bob Filner proclaimed to KPBS during a mic check yesterday that he loves City Councilman Carl DeMaio “more than anything in the world.” The two mayoral candidates appeared on KPBS’ Evening Edition to debate city employee pensions and proposed reforms.

Fact Checking Filner’s Veterans Claim

Recently, Filner touted a bill he supported in congress to support education benefits for veterans.

“There are 700,000 of those veterans in college right now,” Filner said. Is he right?

San Diego Fact Check finds that his claim is mostly true since there’s an important nuance.  

The Arts Report Would Like This Dance

The Morning Report and its younger sister, the Arts Report, have always had a rivalry. As kids, their parents set up a fund to send the Arts Report to music school, while the Morning Report only got a savings account to spend on therapy. But I disgress.

Kelly Bennett wasn’t lying when she said that she found a lot of interesting thigns to wrangle into this week’s Arts Report, our weekly look at happenings in the local arts and culture world.

She offers a look at our latest Arts Embedded project in which we watch three young choreographers prepare for a dance competition.  

The Arts Report also has an update on the brouhaha over the “kiss” statue on the waterfront, which might stick around even though many members of a port public arts advisory board can’t stand it. Some of those members have quit in disgust, appalled that their advice isn’t being accepted. (Such is the fate of many an advisory board.)

Here’s a revealing quote from Hugh Davies, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in the U-T: “The history is that the port for 25 years has been unable to work effectively with the committee to acquire what those of us who dedicate our lives to this — contemporary art by living artists — find to be acceptable public art.”

When another public art fuss erupted in 2003, Davies told me in an interview that artists have special powers when it comes to understanding the value of art: “We’ve spent a lifetime honing our eyes and developing our knowledge. It’s enormously insulting that anyone’s opinion is as valued as mine when they haven’t spent their lifetime honing their eye and educating themselves.”

• Speaking of the waterfront: The LA Times profiles a show of famed author Jack London’s photography running at the Maritime Museum.

(Alleged) Corruption Watch

• District attorney investigators raided the homes of two more former members of the governing board of Southwestern College, the region’s community college, the U-T reports. “The DA’s office is gathering a case that South County elected officials accepted thousands of dollars worth of gifts, entertainment and meals in exchange for key votes on construction contracts.”

• CityBeat got a subpoena this week, but not because it’s in trouble. The FBI wants a copy of a $7,047 check from former El Cajon Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox, who recently resigned in the wake of a federal raid. The check was for advertising for a recent Mother Goose Parade.

• There are new details in the USD game-fixing scandal: “Federal agents used hidden cameras, GPS tracking devices, trash searches and a confidential informant that on one occasion gave ‘false information’ to make their case in the USD basketball bribery investigation,” reports Fox 5.

Defending the Surfing Madonna

U-T columnist Logan Jenkins is appalled that the state attorney general thinks the Surfing Madonna mosaic is a religious symbol and therefore can’t sit on city-leased land at the entrance to Moonlight Beach Park in Encinitas.

“No one with a functioning frontal lobe can look at Leucadia artist Mark Patterson’s ocean-loving bolt out of the blue — or listen to him discuss his creative inspiration — and infer that the mosaic promotes Catholicism,” Jenkins writes. “Only a deputy AG doing the polka on the head of a pin could draw that delirious conclusion.”

I’d pay to see that.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

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

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