As newspaper readers and cable news viewers across the country have learned, Poway taxpayers owe $1 billion in future decades so the local school district could borrow $105 million last year.

Except that’s not the whole picture. While the district says it’s borrowing $105 million, the actual total is $126 million. And that extra $21 million will cost almost $190 million alone.

Our Will Carless has the details about “the extraordinary tactics the district used in search of extra cash.” What’s it all mean? “While Poway voters in 2008 approved the district selling $179 million in bonds, the district found a way to get $210 million.”

The state attorney general’s office said the plan was illegal but never officially challenged it.

The decision to get that upfront money is a key reason why Poway’s borrowing plan ended up costing so much money.

Another Secret Hotel Vote Looms

Remember when local hotels got to vote on whether to boost their tax rates through an additional tax on guests to raise money for a Convention Center expansion? Hoteliers got to vote on the tax in secret.

Now the City Council is about to let hotel owners vote on another $1 billion tax hike on visitors. And it could be a secret vote too. We’ve been pushing for more openness and more understanding of how much influence certain hotel chains will hold over the results.

“If this election does remain secret, the council and mayor will have chosen to make it that way,” our Liam Dillon reports.

The funds would support tourism. Of course, the risk is that some visitors might decide not to stay here because of the extra taxes they’ll need to pay to get a room.

Quick News Hits

• Neal Obermeyer, an editorial cartoonist with the San Diego Reader, imagines how North County Times newsroom employees are preparing for their interviews with their soon-to-be bosses at the U-T.

• And away they go! has a list of four reporters who are departing the U-T. That’s potentially good news for NCT journalists who hope to stick around and not get let go after the U-T’s purchase becomes final next month.

Two of the reporters are heading into public relations, including East County reporter Steve Schmidt, who will work for County Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

The Patch story also has details about VOSD’s new hires.

Meanwhile, a longtime contributor of commentaries to the NCT editorial page named Richard Riehl quit because of the purchase by the U-T. The paper declined to publish his last column, in which he wrote he’ll “be rooting from the sidelines for the survival of NCT’s journalistic integrity, but I’m not holding my breath.”

• The Census Bureau is out with a bunch of fresh and fascinating statistics about San Diego County.

Based on 2011 numbers, we outpace the rest of country in terms of household income ($60,797 vs. $50,502), lacking health insurance (17.7 percent vs. 15.1 percent), college education, rent and utilities, owner-occupied home cost ($429,200 vs. $173,600) and percentage of foreign-born residents (26.4 percent vs. 13 percent).

• The U-T has more details about how the DeMaio mayoral campaign incorrectly stated former Rep. Lynn Schenk had endorsed its candidate. While Schenk has a long history of bad blood with DeMaio’s rival, Rep. Bob Filner, she remains a Democrat. It would be a big surprise — and a coup for DeMaio — if the endorsement report had been true.

So whom is Schenk supporting, in case voters are interested in the opinions of a person who last served in Congress in the mid-1990s? “I was and continue to be a strong supporter of Bonnie Dumanis,” she told the U-T. Dumanis, however, lost in the June primary.

• Roger Hedgecock, the former San Diego mayor who’s now a nationally distributed radio talk-show host, appeared on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” show on Friday night to talk politics. Liberals have been crowing that he wilted when challenged by another guest, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, while conservatives call it a win for the U-T TV personality. Judge for yourself: Here’s the video.  

Hip to Be North of the Park

If you’re like me, Forbes Magazine comes immediately to mind when you think of hip.

OK, maybe not. Even so, the bible for the business class has still come out with a list of “America’s Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods,” automatically making every one of them less cool. But I digress.

You’ll see much over-trendy, look-at-me-me-me attire on the denizens of San Diego’s North Park neighborhood. Still, it landed in 13th place on the hippest hood list. (L.A.’s Silver Lake and S.F.’s Mission District are at the top.)

“Culturally diverse North Park is home to Craftsman cottages, cafes and diners, coffee shops, several microbreweries, boutiques, and the North Park Farmers Market,” Forbes writes. “The North Park Theater and the Ray Street Arts District are also bastions of creativity in the area.”

Great. Now I’ll need to buy some skinny jeans just to walk down the street in North Park without being mocked as a non-hipster. Do you think it’s OK to just carry the pants?

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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