Rich Toscano has posted a powerful explanation of what sectors continue to struggle as the local economy recovers. His employment statistics and graphs show that the housing bubble jobs, as he calls them — construction, finance and retail — have simply not bounced back and probably won’t.

“The reason why we are nowhere near getting back to 2007 levels of employment is that those housing bubble beneficiary jobs are not coming back,” he writes. All of those workers and resources deployed during the housing boom perhaps should have been building something that would still be paying off now.

How the City Attorney Picked Hotels Over the Public

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has officially denied our public records request for the data on how many votes each hotel owner in the city gets as they decide whether to raise hotel-room taxes.

The plan is to raise $1 billion through the increase to expand the convention center. Hotel owners received their ballots last month. If they send them back and vote no, the whole project will be in danger.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith says we don’t get to know which hotels have the most influence over the election. (They get votes depending on how much they make and how close they are to the convention center.) “Goldsmith’s official legal position, then, amounts to this: Protecting the privacy of hotel profits takes precedent over an open and transparent election,” writes our City Hall reporter Liam Dillon, who’s been trying to get the information.

An attorney tells us that the city might have to cough up the information if it got challenged in court. Meanwhile, the vote continues. It looks like the hotels will say yes, but we may never know whether the biggest ones forced the levy onto smaller ones far from downtown.

Curfew Time vs. Crime Time

As we reported last month, our analysis shows that crime by juveniles has dipped more in areas of the city that don’t have curfew sweeps than the urban-core area that does.

Keegan Kyle, our resident data analyst, wondered when crimes committed by juveniles — or with juveniles as victims — actually occur. Do they happen a lot at night, when curfew sweeps could play a role in getting both perpetrators and victims off the street?

The answer: No. “Contrary to proponents’ claims, the number of juvenile arrests have typically peaked around 10 a.m. and the number of juvenile victims of violent crime around 3 p.m,” Kyle reports. 

Another Look at DeMaio’s Past

The U-T takes a look at the early life of mayoral candidate and Councilman Carl DeMaio, whose schoolteacher mother died after a long struggle with cancer. “Twenty-two years later as he runs for mayor of San Diego, Carl DeMaio says his mother’s gritty fight against the odds is the inspiration that continues to drive him,” the paper says.

The U-T promises more stories about a crucial life “Turning Point” identified by each major mayoral candidate. For more on DeMaio, check our story about what we call his “fascinating and tragic” life; he’s said that “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.”

• The LA Times’ George Skelton follows The New York Times’ David Brooks in wondering what Nathan Fletcher’s defection from the GOP means for the party. And the U-T’s Chris Reed, writing on his personal blog, explains why this is more evidence Skelton is a “clueless partisan hack.”

• For a march to celebrate Cesar Chavez’ birthday, local labor leader Lorena Gonzalez tweeted a photo of a giant puppet of DeMaio.

I’d like to be as thin as that puppet, who’s quite svelte.

• Marchers also, though, advertised DeMaio’s personal cell phone number. A flood of calls caused it to jam and his campaign consultant complained. “I’d hope all political professionals would agree that this is way beyond the pale and sets a dangerous precedent.”

San Diegans Not Hot on Schools

A U-T poll finds that most San Diego voters polled don’t think San Diego public schools are doing a good job; teachers get little of the blame. It’s not clear if the poll took into account the fact that the northernmost and southernmost parts of the city aren’t served by the San Diego public school system.

Latest News on Nuke Outage

Officials in the Orange County cities of San Clemente and Laguna Beach are nervous about the problems at the San Onofre nuclear power plant that led to its complete shutdown, the LA Times reports. Some want the plant to be closed for good, and there’s talk of expanding the 10-mile evacuation zone around the plant, which sits near the county border.

Nuclear power plants provide 20 percent of Southern California’s electricity. The region has survived without power from San Onofre for a few months, but summer will kick in higher demand.

Utility officials told the NC Times that rates won’t go up even if the power plant remains dark because natural gas plants will be geared up. That raises the question that’s been distracting Orange County: Then why have the power plant in the first place?   

The Health Care Costs of Chronic Homeless We All Bear

With the help of the California Healthcare Foundation, the U-T has kicked off a five-part series about the burden on the health-care system of “frequent fliers” — a tiny number of people who massively preoccupy hospitals. In San Diego, 1,136 of them “represent a minuscule eight-hundredths of a percent of the city’s population yet account for more than 17 percent of paramedic and ambulance calls in the city.”

Worth noting: the extraordinary black-and-white photography in the stories.

James Dunford, the city’s medical director, plays a key role in the videos and photos, articulating the public cost of often chronically homeless people who use the emergency medical system. And he takes regular ER shifts at UCSD Hillcrest, where a lot of these people end up.

Dunford was an important figure in Malcolm Gladwell’s 2006 New Yorker piece “Million Dollar Murray.”

Quick Hits

• Forbes explains why San Diego is a solar leader and Los Angeles is a solar loser. Hint: Harmonized regulatory environment where businesses know what to expect.

• A Starbucks on Orange Avenue in Coronado may be the first in the state to sell beer and wine, Coronado Eagle & Journal reports. The chain is trying out booze sales at a few locations in Southern California, Georgia and Illinois.

This whole arrangement make senses. After all, anyone who finds themselves at a Starbucks with a bunch of chatty teenagers will really need a drink.

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

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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