Poway School Officials Want You to Empathize: A school board meeting in Poway was packed with folks looking for answers or a way out of the giant debt incurred recently with so-called capital appreciation bonds. In a deal that made it the poster child for this exotic financing, Poway borrowed $105 million and will be required to eventually pay back nearly $1 billion.
County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister has offered up a legislative fix to make the process for borrowing more transparent.
San Diego city’s school district, which is asking voters to raise their property taxes and support a new construction bond, vowed it would not use the exotic financing that became so well known recently.
The Taxpayers Association is unimpressed with the district’s planning and opposed the measure, which will be Proposition Z on the ballot. The association supported 2008’s Proposition S, a similar bond.
Filner Regrets Balboa Park Opposition Tenor: When the Balboa Park remodel proposed by Mayor Jerry Sanders and philanthropist Irwin Jacobs made its way to the City Council for final approval, mayoral candidate Bob Filner led a rally against it and mustered all his creative energy in a passionate performance at the meeting to denounce it.
But the council approved the plan and Filner said this week that he’s not going to try to stop it. And he said he would have opposed it differently if he could go back in time. “In retrospect, I wish the tenor of objections raised at the hearing had been different — less personal.”
— We threw together an explainer with NBC 7 San Diego on what’s going on at the park and how it fits into the history of the city’s grassy jewel.
— Filner’s rival in the race for the Mayor’s Office, has evolved in a similar fashion on a number of issues. Carl DeMaio used to oppose the city’s effort to establish the infrastructure to purify wastewater into potable water and feed it into the city’s supply.
— Andy Keatts at the Daily Transcript has a nice roundup of what’s been going on in the mayor’s race.
Your Comments of the Week
Dagny Salas has collected some of the best reader comments of the week.
Nonagenarian Launching Airline in Carlsbad
The LA Times wrote a profile of a 91-year-old man in Carlsbad who is “crazy enough” to want to launch a new airline that would fly out of the Carlsbad-Palomar Airport, or CLD (I recently took a flight out of there, pretty nice!). He’s already invested millions into the idea.
Stockton Creditors Challenging Public Employee Pension Guarantees
Stockton, Calif. is working its way through bankruptcy reorganization. And as in Vallejo, which also went through the process, it seemed that public employee pensions were largely going to remain unscathed. But The New York Times says insurance folks who might have to pay if Stockton defaults on its bonds are actively challenging employee pensions.
“They are arguing that Stockton, which has stopped paying interest and principal on its bonds, is not treating its bankruptcy creditors equitably as is required under federal law because it is still funding the pensions of its workers,” the Times writes.
This is a debate we’ve been following for years as San Diego has debated bankruptcy and officials have argued employee pensions are untouchable. California pension protections are rooted in three words.
• On a related note, Filner used to tout the need for the city to “refinance” the debt it owes to the city’s pension fund by borrowing money through pension obligation bonds. Stockton, which is going through bankruptcy, had done that same thing in 2007.
That city borrowed $125 million.
Now, Stockton wants to not pay that money back and an economist argues Wall Street bankers duped the city into thinking that this process was a simple refinance.
It’s not. You borrow the money to invest it in your pension system. But if the system loses it in the investment market, the city has to pay back both what it owes employees and what it borrowed. As the economist says: “It’s really like doubling down on risk.”
Quite a Way to Start a Story
KPBS: “San Diego County last week saw tens of thousands of backcountry acres burn as a result of wildfires. Did Al Qaeda have anything to do with it?”
No, but the terrorist group is offering ideas to troublemakers.
Quote of the Week
“If he entered a plea, there’s a reason he entered a plea.”
— Loudoun County, Va. Prosecutor Ryan Perry on Bob Filner’s 2007 Dulles Airport incident.
Disclosure: Irwin Jacobs is a major supporter of Voice of San Diego.