A judge’s tentative ruling yesterday means a new tax on hotel rooms will likely stand. An expansion of the Convention Center took another step forward.

Our Scott Lewis says the ruling is a precedent. A group of businesses, in this case hotels, have managed to raise the tax their consumers pay without a vote of the people. Why does that matter?

Well, for instance, on one hand, the Chargers aren’t happy. They wanted the judge to rule the tax illegal. That would give the team a chance to put together a new deal that might include a new stadium.

But, Lewis writes, “the judge might have opened a window for the Chargers — one that would forever flip our understanding of taxes and government on its head. Business groups of all kinds could now conceivably impose their own sales taxes on consumers and use the money to build whatever they want.”

Indeed, this has crossed the Chargers mind as well, as NBC 7 reports.

Here’s the U-T San Diego story on the ruling.

• More sports: John Gennaro urges locals to stop blaming the great weather for our lousy sports morale.

Alleged Killer Returns as Anti-Gang Activist

A man named Stacy Butler is back in southeastern San Diego rallying for peace and against guns and gangs. It’s familiar territory for this man who spent years in prison on disputed charges of voluntary manslaughter involving the death of a San Diego police officer.

In a new story, we check in with Butler, whose influence on the anti-gang front is seemingly waning. At the same time, this region of the city has changed for the better.  

Celebrating the Opening of Homeless Center

The city’s permanent and year-round homeless center is opening, offering 223 beds, a health clinic, social services and more. Meanwhile, the City Council yesterday approved spending $400,000 for two public restrooms in East Village and $300,000 to keep the downtown winter tent shelter open for three months after its scheduled closure in April.

Our Kelly Bennett recaps a busy day on the homeless front, including a big celebration of the new center. The 1920s building cost $38 million to rehab.

“For too long, we’ve decided that two tents in the wintertime was enough,” Councilman Todd Gloria said, “that caring for 16 weeks out of the year was sufficient.” But the city will still need to find money to put up tents to house the homeless in the winter.

VOSD Radio: Mayor’s First 100 Days

From the doomed queen known as Anne of the Thousand Days to those 40 days and nights, people love to use nifty numbers to signify the passage of time. That brings us to one of the topics on VOSD Radio: the first 100 days of Mayor Bob Filner’s administration. He is, to put it mildly, a different kind of mayor, just like many people predicted. (Including me. Thanks crystal ball! Or is it cubic zirconia?)

Our Sara Libby’s bristling commentary about the sexism and essential dumbness of U-T TV was the most popular story on our site last week. Don’t miss the 30+ comments from readers who are variously annoyed by the U-T or by Libby’s take on its anti-woman vapidity.

Explaining the School District’s Lease-Leaseback

We’ve produced a San Diego Explained video feature with NBC San Diego that will help you understand what “lease-leaseback” means and why it’s spawned plenty of debate over how school districts build with borrowed money that taxpayers pay off.  

• Also on NBC San Diego: watch the latest edition of Fact Check TV, which explores a claim about how much tourism jobs pay. A local tourism booster says many provide middle-class salaries, but the actual numbers tell a different story.

Quick News Hits

Fingers are pointing over how the last mayor failed to sign off on a now-messy tourism funding deal. (U-T) Go here for background from us.

• With a focus on Tijuana and San Diego, the Wall Street Journal reports that the risk of exposure to tuberculosis is growing along the border. Meanwhile, the LA Times offers an extensive report on the state of border security, especially in the San Diego area.  

• The U-T finds that executive salaries and benefits kept rising at the stricken San Diego Hospice even as a federal audit descended. The hospice is now shutting down and its dying patients are transferring elsewhere.

In conjunction with Kaiser Health News, we recently explored the roots of the once-respected hospice’s collapse.      

• “A former official with the La Posta Band of Mission Indians in San Diego County pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to embezzling $57,000 from the tribe,” the LA Times reports.

• The only cool local political bumper sticker I can recall is “New stadium? Already got one. But a library I could use.” Now another one is making its way into at least a couple hands: It says “Bob Filner for City Attorney?!”

Catchy it’s not. The U-T explains what it means.

• Didja feel it? I didn’t (boo). But yes, that was a little earthquake yesterday morning, the largest in three years. (LA Times)

As we reported in 2010 when things really shook on Easter Sunday, earthquakes don’t tend to rattle San Diego very much.

Meanwhile, a playful U-T offered a playlist of shake-related tunes. (Songs in the Key of Quake?)

I’ve got another one: The nifty 1940s number “It Must Be Jelly (‘Cause Jam Don’t Shake Like That).”

It’s not about toast, but it sure might set off your smoke alarm.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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