City officials and labor types have been wrangling for years about a form of outsourcing called “managed competition” that allows the city to accept bids (from inside and outside) and potentially privatize its services. Now, a new audit finds that things didn’t go according to plan.
In fact, the “city’s publishing services division upped its rates by an average of 15 percent last year to ensure it could take in the annual $2 million laid out when city staffers won the bid.” In other words, one city department jacked up its rates so it wouldn’t spend less than allocated.
Little Italy, Big Dreams
We take a look back at a 1995 development in Little Italy that turned out to be a groundbreaking project that changed the face of San Diego: “It was often cited as the inspiration for other small, dense units in the city’s urban core.” But the people behind it say things have changed and they aren’t creating this kind of project anymore.
Public Records: Courts Edition
Want to force the state or local courts to cough up public records? You may run across this wordy and potentially quite pesky bit of verbiage: “Nothing in this rule requires a judicial branch entity to create a record or to compile or assemble data in response to a request for judicial administrative records if the judicial branch entity does not compile or assemble the data in the requested form for its own use or for provision to other agencies.”
What’s that mean? There are a couple translations. One of them means that the courts don’t have to provide a list of something — like copies of current contracts with vendors — if they don’t have them lying around. And that was exactly the issue in a state court case featuring a request for documents from … a judge.
“Everyone, including members of the media, should be concerned about the obfuscation and outright refusal by government officials to open their records to the light of day,” says the advocacy group that the judge runs.
The Day in the Mayor’s Race
• The four main candidates met for a KPBS/10news debate, and — finally! — things got slightly heated.
The U-T has the play-by-play. Councilman Kevin Faulconer took on former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher: “How can voters trust you to stand up and not change your mind when it’s politically convenient?”
Meanwhile, Councilman David Alvarez was the only one who definitively said he’d oppose public funding for a new stadium.
• The conservative Lincoln Club has spent tens of thousands on controversial mailers targeting Democratic mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher, the Reader reports. At least some of the mailers, seemingly targeted at Democratic voters, accuse Fletcher of making a $400,000 Qualcomm salary for doing little. The company denies the charge and Fletcher’s campaign has produced records indicating that the claim is false.
Governor Vetoes Medical Interpretation Bill
The governor has vetoed a bill that would have improved access to face-to-face interpretation at medical offices and hospitals.
We’ve been covering the major pitfalls facing local residents, like refugees, who don’t speak English but still need to communicate with doctors and nurses. The governor said he doesn’t want to add more complexity to health care reform.
• In a commentary, Michael Robertson — a local libertarian and founder of MP3.com — writes about his family’s insurance options under health care reform and declares that “Obamacare is a poor financial proposition for the healthy, semi-healthy or anyone, except for the chronically ill or poor who can receive free or highly discounted coverage.”
The commentary sparked a big discussion in the VOSD comments, with some readers questioning Robertson’s numbers and other supporting him.
U-T Columnist Blames Blackout Threat on Stadium
Back in 2011, the incoming CEO of the Union-Tribune (now U-T San Diego) told us that the paper would promote a new football stadium via and “call out those who don’t as obstructionists.”
Is the sports page still playing along? Absolutely. A new column by Kevin Acee warns that the Chargers may leave town, in part because they play “in one of the worst major-league stadiums in America … the only way the Chargers will stay is if they get a new place to play.”
Acee adds this eyebrow-raising tidbit: Bob Filner was the only one of the last four elected mayors “that the Chargers saw as moving momentum toward a solution” regarding a new stadium.
Quick News Hits
• Correction: Yesterday’s Morning Report inadvertently included a link to a 2011 U-T story about the city dismissing a pension-related lawsuit. We apologize for including the outdated story.
• Gary Kreep, the conservative activist and Obama “birther”-turned-elected-judge, has been banished to traffic court, the U-T reports.
• KPBS has an update on the battle over nine blocks in the Barrio Logan neighborhood that pits the maritime industry against some local residents.
• Nearly 370 San Diego Unified teachers whose jobs have been eliminated avoided layoffs and are instead waiting for the district to place them in new jobs thanks to an unusual budgeting gamble, the U-T reports.
• Local craft beer is making national news again, this time thanks to The Atlantic.
The San Diego craft beer trade has grown rapidly in the last couple years, spawning tons of positive press by a press that’s beer-positive. Makes you wonder: Could the local microbrewery business be a bubble?
It’ll all depend on the fate of growth of our hipster-industrial complex. You know what they say: As skinny jeans go, so goes the beer-conomy.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.