The Morning Report
San Diego news and info
you need to take on the day.
City Still Won’t Shine Light on Hotel Room Tax Hike Vote: Right now hotel owners are voting about whether to increase the city of San Diego’s hotel room tax rate to fund an expansion of the Convention Center. But the city still refuses to disclose which hotels get what influence on the vote. It’s not one hotel, one vote. The hotels get a share of the vote based on their revenues.
Voters (as in people, not hotels) twice rejected hotel-room tax hikes in 2004. Councilman Carl DeMaio reminded the hotel industry of that at a forum Friday, “In 2004, we stood together in opposing the TOT tax increases that politicians designed to try to do a money grab,” DeMaio said.
Actually, the hotel industry widely supported the first proposed hotel room tax sent to voters in 2004. One notable hotelier, however, did not: Doug Manchester. His last-minute expenditures in that race were credited with helping keep the vote from hitting its required 66.6 percent for approval.
• Related: The region’s official business leaders wrote a commentary about how important it was to move the sales and marketing functions of the Convention Center from the Convention Center Corp. to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. The move “is a critical step in making sure the promised jobs and economic benefit are realized and that the revenue projections associated with the proposed convention center expansion will occur,” they said.
At the same time, Congressman Bob Filner, who’s running for mayor, decried the decision as a privatization of the facility. “When I’m Mayor my focus will be on building community centers, not Convention Centers,” he said.
All Mayoral Candidates Support the ‘Parent Trigger:’ This includes Filner, who, to be sure, did not know what it was. But when it was explained to him, he said he loved it at a forum this week on education issues hosted by the University of San Diego Center for Education Policy and Law.
The parent trigger allows parents at low-performing schools to vote to impose major changes. It’s controversial. That and many other discussions came up in my Twitter feed this week. I pulled together a recap of my week on Twitter for those of you who don’t stay glued to it.
There Are Two Interesting Candidates to Replace Shelia Jackson: We’ve recently featured both Marne Foster and Bill Ponder, who have both articulated very different visions for San Diego Unified School District. There are three other candidates we’re working to get a hold of. Remember, they will first square off in June in their area, which mostly encompasses southeastern San Diego. After that, voters from across the school district, which includes most of the city of San Diego, will have to choose in November. So it’s important to learn not only about your neighborhood’s school board representative, but all the candidates.
It’s Horrible to Be Homeless: The U-T San Diego has done some of its best work with this series and accompanying photos on chronic homelessness. It’s worth a look.
Places Other Than Downtown Need Attention: Our Andrew Donohue spent this week in District 9, which includes City Heights, Talmadge, Kensington and areas of Southeastern San Diego. He met Ernestina Diaz, a longtime resident who hopes to vote for the first time later this year. And he described key issues he found that residents are concerned about: something he calls “non-car, street-level infrastructure,” as well as development and undergrounding power lines.
Donohue also broke down the makeup of the new district, introduced the candidates and provided links to their answers on different issues. Look for pieces on the candidates in the district’s City Council race next week, starting with Marti Emerald on Monday.
Your Top Comments of the Week
Dagny Salas has gathered our users’ Top 5 comments of the week. Did yours make it? My favorite is the city attorney’s on why he can’t hand over information on who gets to decide whether hotel-room rates will go up.
• Salas has also posted our weekly reading list of compelling stories worth your time.
• Morgan Spurlock has done a movie about San Diego’s Comic-Con. Spurlock is the one who did “Supersize Me,” the tale of him eating nothing but McDonald’s for a month and tracking his health. The Atlantic explains why he felt Comic-Con deserved a feature-length film.
• Harold Tuck, who engineered the outsourcing of San Diego County’s technology infrastructure, is retiring from his job as chief information officer there, according to the site Government Technology.
Quote of the Week
“I think the city is running out of reasons not to give you the votes,” said Felix Tinkov, a partner at Lounsbery Ferguson Altona & Peak, on our public records quest.