The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
A big moment’s coming Monday. A judge is set to issue the tentative ruling on whether the tax hike that will fund a new Convention Center expansion is legal.
Remember this is different from the separate hotel-room tax hike causing a row between hotel owners and Mayor Bob Filner (who refuses to release the funds it is pulling in).
This is a hike of 1-3 percent on top of the city’s 10.5 percent and on top of the 2 percent the hoteliers want to keep spending on tourism marketing. But can it raise the tax without a vote of the people?
Voters twice rejected hotel room tax hikes in 2004.
The Chargers have joined Filner in eagerly waiting for the court to strike it down. The team has long said the tax hike is illegal and they’re hoping the plan to expand the Convention Center will die, allowing them to propose a stadium that will serve the needs of a larger Convention Center as well.
NBC 7 San Diego has an update on the Filner/Chargers dream.
• Sara Libby and I were on KPBS’ Midday Roundtable Friday. I broke down, as best I can, the politics and policy behind the Convention Center expansion, how the tax was passed and why the mayor this week tried to unravel it all.
On the show, I said that Convention Center Corp. CEO Carol Wallace had resigned after the spat about who would market the Convention Center. She did not. She asked the board to consider terminating her contract but has remained in her position.
Libby discussed her recent column on U-T-TV.
D4’s Changing Demographics
The big political contest in the city of San Diego is in the southeastern neighborhoods that make up District 4.
A black man or woman is likely to get elected to the City Council seat. But the demographics there are changing rapidly. Black residents currently make up less than one-fifth of District 4’s population. More Asians and Latino residents live there.
The community is grappling with this change and what it means for future political contests.
Filner Promise Report: Solar Power
During his campaign for mayor, Filner offered a lot of big promises about what he’d do for solar power but he never explained how he’d pull it off.
We checked in Friday on those promises and find he’s “working on it” — but still short on specifics.
San Onofre Finger Pointing
A high-stakes blame game continues over who was responsible for the design flaws that led to a shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. A new report from the manufacturer of steam generators at the plant, Mitsubishi, claims Southern California Edison was aware of the problems but went forward with installation anyway.
Here’s the KPBS story on the latest.
To really understand what we’re talking about here, go back to our San Diego Explained with NBC 7 San Diego. There’s even drawings! (Full disclosure: The drawings are by my wife.)
The Week of Cindy Marten, New Superintendent
Ed Week has a lengthy profile of Cindy Marten, the principal who will ascend to superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District in June.
We ran a Q-and-A with Marten this week that generated a lot of chatter.
Will Carless’ earlier Q-and-A with the district’s chief financial officer led to an apology this week unlike anything we’ve seen before.
What We Learned This Week
HUD Screws San Diego: Only two other cities have more homeless people than San Diego but 17 cities get more federal homeless funding than San Diego. This fact that we revealed Monday seems to not be settling well with local members of Congress and Mayor Filner.
Local Tourism Jobs Aren’t Middle Class: A local tourism booster claimed that the majority of tourism jobs (he didn’t say locally) were “middle class.” We rated the claim misleading.
Quick News Hits
• County supervisors will consider later this month a “top-to-bottom review of the county’s mental-health safety net and how Laura’s Law, “which establishes a legal means of pressing the dangerously mentally ill into treatment,” might have an impact. U-T columnist Logan Jenkins said on Twitter he’ll “keep banging on the Laura’s Law drum until the drum breaks.”
• North County’s Sprinter may go offline for a few months.
• The city’s independent budget analyst has endorsed Mayor Bob Filner’s downtown restroom plan, but urges the council to hold off on extra tent shelter funding, etc.
• Scripps super doctor and author Eric Topol will be appearing on the Colbert Report.
Quote of the Week
“I am taking this job because I want to save public education in America.”
— Cindy Marten, in a profile in the U-T.
Quote of the Week II
“I have put interview controls in place to ensure no such issues occur again.”
— Stan Dobbs, CFO of San Diego Unified School District, apologizing to the teachers union for his recent interview to Voice of San Diego.
I’m Scott Lewis, the CEO of Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you’d like at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!).