Some of the biggest, most impactful debates about San Diego’s future have recently been hashed out in the courtroom, and they all seem to have one thing in common: They were decided by Superior Court Judge Timothy B. Taylor.
Our profile reveals more about the man weighing the fate of the TMD deal, the Balboa Park makeover and SANDAG’s transportation blueprint: For one, he is a Bob Marley fan, but he’s far from laid back in the courtroom. Lawyers and colleagues weigh in on Taylor’s stern demeanor and his consideration for the historical impacts of his rulings.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith backed Mayor Bob Filner up when he wanted to (and ultimately did) veto the City Council’s picks for the port commission. Now Goldsmith has reversed course — he thinks state law trumps city rules and that Filner’s veto shouldn’t count.
Filling in the Data Holes
An audit released Friday found the city still makes too many mistakes when it tracks pothole repairs, and the city has already agreed to make some changes based on the report.
A Reader Rescue Mission
In an op-ed for our Big Read Project series, Ross Porter marvels at some impassioned responses he got when asking people what book they’d save from being burned.
$25 Million in Savings for Five-Year Deals
Mayor Bob Filner wants to put some public pressure on City Council members and union negotiators to warm to the idea of hashing out five-year agreements to freeze pensionable pay, as part of the Prop. B initiative passed last year. Failure to reach the deals, the mayor said, would cause the city to lose out on $25 million in savings for both the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years.
Lisa Halverstadt crunched the numbers in a new fact check: The city would indeed save $25.2 million in the fiscal year that begins in July and $26.9 million in the 2015 fiscal year, earning Filner a “true” rating.
What We Learned This Week
Project 25 Is Saving Money: Project 25, an effort to house the most frequent users of costly emergency services, more than cut in half the bills participants racked up with the city. The program’s boosters tout those savings when trying to persuade various agencies to fund it on a permanent basis.
Reports Mostly Clear City Auditors: The long-delayed reports into the conduct of the city auditor and his top deputy are finally out, and they clear both of the most serious allegations made against them.
Time Is Running Out on City Leases: The city’s new real estate negotiator is going to have to scramble to address three soon-to-expire city leases downtown.
Community Plan Updates Are Costly and Complicated: Andy Keatts wrote this incredibly useful explanation of the city’s costly, years-long process that attempts to align local interests with the city’s blueprint for the future. Here’s the video version.
• In our Comments of the Week, readers debate how quickly the city should update each community plan. Every five years? Every 20?
Quick News Hits
• John Gennaro examines the Padres’ first week in town, the Chargers’ draft prospects and more in our new weekly Sports Report. We sent it to all our subscribers Friday but only those who sign up will keep getting it.
• The Sentencing Law and Policy Blog throws cold water on a recent report of an uptick in crime. “Perhaps the right ‘story’ and reaction thereto is celebration of government improvements, not finger-pointing and government blame. As the chart above reveals, crime rates in San Diego, even after the SCOTUS Plata ruling and the realignment plan, remain a historically low level.”
• The county’s pension system OK’d a $550,000 bonus to an outside consultant. (U-T San Diego)
• Bob Filner vetoed the City Council order directing him to sign the agreement that would release Tourism Marketing District funds to hoteliers, setting up yet another stage in the showdown at Monday’s City Council meeting. (UT-San Diego)
Quote of the Week
“There’s no good solution. It’s a condemnation to homelessness. That’s what zero tolerance is.” — retired attorney Joni Halpern, on the zero-tolerance policy that kicks families out of Section 8 housing if a family member or friend commits a crime on the property.
Sara Libby is VOSD’s managing editor. She oversees VOSD’s newsroom and its content. You can reach her at email@example.com or 619.325.0526.
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