Just a few hundred million dollars to support other city services.

That’s what Mayor Bob Filner told Scott Lewis in a classic exchange about what he is demanding from hotel owners as they furiously wait for him to sign off on the Tourism Marketing District and tens of millions of dollars already being collected from a 2 percent tax on hotel-room bills.

The exchange with Lewis should make U-T San Diego happy as the editorial board said that it was time for Filner to “come clean” and explain why he wasn’t releasing the funds.

Phoning in Border Innovations

Bob Filner has offered a laundry list of ideas to improve relations between San Diego and Tijuana. But some of the mayor’s big plans to unite the two cities might have sounded more innovative a few decades ago.

The mayor still envisions a “mayoral bat phone” that connects him with Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante, though the men have already swapped cell phone numbers. And he’s moving forward with a San Diego office in Tijuana that might be more symbolic than useful, giving video-conferencing and other technologies. Still, border experts say any ideas are helpful.

A Speaker of the Assembly from San Diego?

The LA Daily News and others have been talking about the possibility that California Assembly Speaker John Perez may be the next U.S. secretary of labor, filling Hilda Solis vacated spot.

What’s potentially interesting for San Diego is that Toni Atkins, the one-time City Council member is the current majority leader in the Assembly. This ostensibly makes her a candidate for the speakers seat.

What We Learned This Week

Managed Competition Is Slowly Getting Back on Track: Mayor Bob Filner appeared to call a timeout on managed competition early in his tenure. His staff obeyed, and some City Council members fumed. But Filner cleared the air recently: He didn’t mean to halt any in-progress contracts, just the ones that haven’t gone out for bid yet. Lisa Halverstadt got a breakdown on where four completed contracts currently stand.

Community Plans Aren’t Contracts, But They’re Treated That Way: Mayor Bob Filner recently referred to community plans as contracts. He was mostly right, Lisa Halverstadt and Andy Keatts determined in a Fact Check. The plan itself isn’t a formal, legal contract, but officials tend to treat it like one, making it a contract in effect.

“It’s more of an ethical thing and a moral thing than a legal thing,” former city planning director Michael Stepner told us.

Barrio Logan’s community plan update may be the first new one finished in years but we also explained why life there won’t change much for a long time.

San Diego Unified Has More Financial Untangling to Do: The San Diego Unified school board outlined three new approaches it plans to take on some key issues, all of which will affect the district’s bottom line.

The district wants to rework the way special education is funded at charter schools; merge its two big bond programs and start shoring up its reserves fund.

Sherman Tipped His Hand: Councilman Scott Sherman came pretty close to expressing his support for a proposed senior affordable housing complex in his district — a move that could disqualify him from voting on the project when it comes before the City Council.

Homeless Court Flips the System on Its Head: By the time a defendant reaches his or her court date in homeless court — a special system pioneered by San Diego — most of the community service, treatment programs and other work involved in contributing restitution is already complete. That makes homeless court an upside-down version of the traditional justice system, writes Kelly Bennett, who spent a day observing proceedings this week.

Quick News Hits

• Lani Lutar, the CEO of the Taxpayers Association announced Friday that she was leaving to take over operations of the Equinox Center, which was founded by Voice of San Diego member Aaron Contorer and others to advocate for a healthy environment, strong economy and vibrant communities.

• The dolphins are moving troops to the border.

Quote of the Week

“Unless a court stops us, we’re going to implement Prop. B.” — City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, brushing off a recent Public Employment Relations Board ruling against Prop. B.

Sara Libby is VOSD’s managing editor. She oversees VOSD’s newsroom and its content. You can reach her at sara.libby@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0526.

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Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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