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San Diego city workers haven’t received across-the-board pay raises in years if they are part of the public employees’ union. Pay freezes have long been in place and were prescribed for union workers as part of the Proposition B pension initiative passed in June.
Workers can still get experience increases or promotions.
But in the waning days of his administration, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders is increasing the salaries of some of his non-unionized staff, reported our Liam Dillon.
“At least four San Diego management-level employees received raises in the last two months, even as the city has attempted to hold salaries steady in negotiations with employee groups and after voters approved a pensionable pay freeze for city workers in June,” Dillon wrote.
“This latest personnel move actually saves the city money,” said Sanders’ top deputy Jay Goldstone.
New Player in Poway
The ongoing saga of the billion-dollar bond in the Poway Unified School District came to an end for one member of that district’s Board on Tuesday. Our Will Carless reports that the school board’s president, Linda Vanderveen, was voted off the board.
Kimberley Beatty won almost 39 percent of the vote, close to 6 percent more than either of the other two candidates.
Carless’ requests for information from Poway have been stonewalled. “Hopefully, this might change as Beatty takes office,” he wrote.
Convention Center Pact = “A Big Big Deal”
That’s what our Liam Dillon tweeted about a deal struck Thursday between Mayor Sanders and labor groups to move forward on efforts to expand the Convention Center. The deal means labor will drop its opposition to the project and pull out of a lawsuit against the city over a hotel-room tax to finance the project.
“By dropping out of a lawsuit against the hotel-room tax increase, labor has left that effort without its most well-funded opponent,” wrote Dillon. “Two separate open-government advocates are still challenging the tax hike.”
• Another surprise came in the form of an agreement between labor and the private contractor who will build the expansion to use a project labor agreement. Voters banned the city from using project labor agreements recently when they passed Proposition A. But private contractors can still use them.
“That’s exactly what has now happened with the Convention Center expansion: Labor and the contractor made a deal,” reported Dillon.
At the Intersection of Art and Science
“The process of making something new often looks the same, whether you’re readying a new theater production or coming up with new ideas to combat cancer,” wrote our Kelly Bennett. She’s got suggestions for your weekend if you’re interested in the overlap between art and science. “There’s a lot of room to explore in the idea that medicine and research is about discovery and creativity, and how that translates to theater and stagecraft,” she wrote.
• You can also listen to Kelly’s discussion about the events when she appeared on KPBS Midday Edition.
San Diego Top Prosecutors Stood Against Filner
Our Scott Lewis noted that all of San Diego’s top prosecutors tried to keep the new mayor from winning.
“In what will prove to be awkward should they feel the need to investigate Mayor Bob Filner, all three top local prosecutors pushed for his rival, Carl DeMaio, and failed to help him win. All had maintained they would not endorse,” Lewis wrote.
With “hundreds of thousands of ballots” still left to count in San Diego County, the election may be decided but it is far from over. In case you forgot how you voted, KPBS/I-Newsource broke down the mayoral votes by precinct in an interactive map. Questions remain in key races such as in the 52nd congressional district where Scott Peters has a small lead over Brian Bilbray. While those candidates wait for the final results, others are already moving on to the next steps.
• Filner announced that a long time lobbyist for a local real estate company would head his transition team. Allen Jones works for H.G. Fenton, a company that has a sordid history with campaign finance laws, including violations that have resulted in fines, reported San Diego Reader.
• Former City Councilmember Donna Frye, herself a mayoral candidate twice-upon-a-time was interviewed by KPBS about her role in the upcoming Filner administration as the head of a department focused on open government.
• Finally, Matt Hall (no relation to this author) asks the question that you hear a lot around this time of year: is the citizen initiative process broken?
• The Salk Institute is trying to raise a cool $300 million and it’s already nearly half way there. Some economic pressures have spooked Salk leaders and they want to make sure all their 35 main researchers have endowed professorships.
• In an effort to clear the way to implement Proposition B, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith filed a lawsuit against California seeking to overturn a law passed in September that requires San Diego city employees to be covered under Social Security if they aren’t covered under a pension plan. (NBC San Diego)
• The Nuclear Regulatory Commission denied a petition seeking a license amendment for the nuclear power plant at San Onofre. Such an amendment would have further complicated the ongoing efforts to restart power generation at the facility. (LA Times)
• The Utility Consumers Action Network, or UCAN, was back in the news on Thursday for allegedly misdirecting $1 million in trust money to an out of state hedge fund that subsequently lost all the money playing the stock market. (NC Times)
• In the San Diego Daily Transcript, a local attorney makes a case for why Ralph Inzunza, the former San Diego City Councilman, should not be in federal prison right now. That was Part 1, here’s Part 2. The analysis also ran in the LA Daily Journal.
What started off as an innocent fundraising drive to raise funds for an East County wildlife sanctuary may have landed the owners of the organization in hot water. Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine was raising money to complete a habitat for a recently captured bear nicknamed “Meatball.” The wildlife organization setup an online auction where Meatball’s ear tag, paw print and lock of hair was to be sold for the cause. But the auction was taken down.
“The sale of bear parts is illegal in California and DFG is investigating,” said a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game.
Turns out, you can’t sell bear hair on the internet. Add that to the list of odd California laws, right up there with not being allowed to eat oranges in bathtubs.