San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria announced Monday that he will press ahead with the plan to overhaul Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama. He pushed the city attorney to outline a route, soon, for how the Council might waive the law that tripped the project up.
This prompted our Scott Lewis to say that the ball is really in Mayor Bob Filner’s court. Lewis writes that the mayor probably knows that he can save the plan or crush it and he should decide and let us all know what he decides.
KPBS posted the memo Gloria sent to reporters, which also claims “the city won’t be able to make any beneficial changes to Balboa Park until the laws are changed.”
• NBC San Diego featured our Kelly Bennett along with two preservationists in a chat about the future of the park now that a judge has killed a mammoth plan to a makeover.
A representative of the Committee of One Hundred, which works to preserve the park’s buildings, said his group supports an idea that hasn’t gotten much attention: closing the Cabrillo Bridge to traffic (turning it into a pedestrian promenade) and using a shuttle system to bring visitors into the park.
The museums aren’t on board. They don’t want to block cars from entering the main part of the park from the west.
MTS: Existing Public Transit to Airport Superior than Easy Idea
In his first “What’s the Deal?” piece, Lewis explained why the San Diego Trolley doesn’t actually connect to the airport despite seeming to pass right by it.
And he laid out the short-term plan making its way through the San Diego Association of Governments that would allow riders to get to the airport from the Washington Street Trolley Station.
But, this idea didn’t sit well with the spokesman of the Metropolitan Transit System, who claimed in a follow-up that the link would be an inferior public transit route to the airport than what already exists: a bus.
In fact, you can take the trolley to the bus and get to the airport that way, although finding long-term parking near a trolley stop might be a challenge. Lewis also finds that there appears to be a divergence of opinions between local agencies on exactly what needs to come next.
The Manchester LA Times
Patch’s associate regional editor reported on Twitter that U-T Publisher Doug Manchester told a group of Republican women that he is “in negotiations” to purchase the Tribune Co., whose holdings, of course, include the Los Angeles Times.
Hotel Owners to Filner: Cough It Up
In 2004, the city tried twice, and failed, to persuade voters to raise the hotel room tax. For years, we’ve been following the drama about the city’s multiple attempts to raise the tax without a vote.
A renewal of a 2 percent increase to the tax, first implemented five years ago, went through Council last year. The money is earmarked for control by hotel owners in the Tourism Marketing District.
But the mayor is refusing to let the funds leave the city. And now, the U-T reports that hoteliers have given him an ultimatum.
Fact Check TV: The CFO’s Wrong Number
A few days ago, we published a Q&A-style interview with the chief financial officer of the San Diego school district.
As we reported later in two Fact Checks (here and here), he got important things wrong.
For all you visual learners out there, Fact Check TV has a roundup, focusing on a completely incorrect claim about teacher salaries.
• Our belated Fact Check about teacher salaries was the most popular story on our site over the past week, followed by two other stories about the interview and the errors. Here’s the full Top 10 list.
Council Doesn’t Stand Up to Mayor
As some observers expected, the City Council refused to override the mayor’s veto of appointments to the port commission. This power struggle, the first major one of Mayor Bob Filner’s administration, appears to be over.
For details, check KPBS and the U-T. For background, check our explainer about what the port does and why this all matters.
Council President Gloria wasn’t impressed.
• Filner has been touting a better cross-border relationship and promised an office in Tijuana. Well, that last part is not happening fast, if at all, despite his promise about timing.
KPBS dropped by the building where the office is supposed to open as of Feb. 1 and found “few people there even knew who Filner was, much less that he was supposed to have an office in the building.”
And there’s more: “Eventually we were told Filner would have access to the building, but wouldn’t have a physical office there.”
• Filner is joining the governor in piling on the governor of Texas and his push to poach California businesses by slamming our state.
• Filner dropped by the VOSD office last week. We think that’s among the biggest news stories of the week: VOSD Radio has the details.
Quick News Hits
• Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican, says he’s open to immigrant-friendly immigration reform. (U-T)
• Worst Valentine’s Day gift ever? (U-T)
• Two people are suing the U-T, “looking to recoup medical expenses and other costs they racked up after run-ins with poorly maintained newspaper racks,” the Reader reports.
OK, so whom do I sue about what’s in the racks?
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.
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