A company that’s been in hot water is planning to rebuild a railroad along the border and inject new life into both the U.S. and Mexican economies. It’s renting the line from San Diego’s transit agency. But good luck if you want to peruse its business plan. The transit agency is keeping it secret.
As members of congress and the media ask questions about the deal, the Metropolitan Transit System is mum, refusing to provide basic details. Why? Because of concerns about terrorism and privacy.
A local elected official said she can’t understand why the records would be secret.
Surprise: More Businesses Incoming than Outgoing
A VOSD analysis finds that the region actually gained more companies over a recent four-year period than it lost — at least when we looked at Phoenix and Las Vegas specifically. The numbers go up to 2011.
“Fewer San Diego companies headed to Dallas or Austin, two places that have made headlines for luring several Southern California companies in more recent years,” writes VOSD reporter Lisa Halverstadt.
Still, the numbers aren’t entirely rosy for those who think San Diego’s regulations and taxes are just fine. San Diego has lost more businesses than it’s gained over 20 years, although it’s not clear why that is.
VOSD Radio: Meet the New Top Taxpayer Advocate
Mark Leslie, the new president of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, wasn’t happy to find himself booed at a City Council meeting. To his mind, as he tells the VOSD Radio Show & Expanded Podcast in the latest edition, the association isn’t ideologically biased.
This will come to news to many people who think the taxpayers association is by definition friendly to business and the GOP (although it’s hardly a sworn enemy of Democrats). “Facts and information are not political,” Leslie says.
DA’s Untrustable Cop List Won’t Go Public
“DA keeps secret list of bad cops,” says the headline on a U-T story this weekend. And the article, stunningly, reports just what the headline says.
“The so-called Brady Index is a closely guarded secret that includes officers and deputies with a track record of lying or other misconduct that could undermine credibility on the witness stand,” the U-T reports.
This news is head-shaking enough, but the paper says these kinds of lists are common, and this one has fewer than 11 names on it. Still, if the prosecutors think officers are unreliable, shouldn’t they do more than put their names on a list?
SD to State Water Regulators: Get Lost
The LA Times finds that water officials in San Diego County refused to fully cooperate with a state survey of water use during the drought, saying the approach is “misleading and technically inappropriate.”
You’ve probably heard about the survey results. They’re the ones that dinged Southern California for using more water while the rest of the state saved. But, the newspaper finds, the survey results are very incomplete.
The newspaper also uncovers an apparent discrepancy between the reality of water use here and a claim by a local water official.
• State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, a San Diegan, tells the U-T in a Q&A that she’s a fan of the San Diego County Water Authority: “We have a very effective water authority agency here who I’m really proud of and as speaker, I’m convening groups to talk about what we need to do on water, I get to brag a little bit about San Diego.”
Quick News Hits: Sharknado Edition
• Grantville may be one of the most obscure neighborhoods in all of the city of San Diego, but our story about an upcoming land-use fight in the community was anything but neglected by readers. It was the most popular article on the VOSD site last week.
• “A former civilian employee of the Department of Defense was sentenced Friday to two years in federal prison for accepting more than $100,000 in bribes from contractors seeking work at Camp Pendleton,” the LA Times reports.
• I drove into downtown on Saturday and spotted a young man walk across Broadway dressed in black and carrying an assault rifle. This would normally be cause for alarm, but I didn’t worry (mostly) because I was down there to pick up a friend at Comic-Con, and the rifle-toting guy seemed to be another nerdling.
Aren’t all the fake weapons at Comic-Con a bit distracting? The NY Times discovers that attendees go through a “weapons check.” The paper also notes that “nowhere is violence in entertainment more prominently on display than at Comic-Con. And yet, historically, all of the attendees have been strikingly well behaved.” (Well, duh!)
Comic-Con, by the way, is over, after producing zillions of blog posts and this most-excellent “Game of Thrones” photo.
So we can all sigh a relief because we’re free from alien invasions and attacks from freakish creatures… Oh wait. This week brings “Sharkado 2: The Second One” to cable TV. Yes, the sharks borne by tornado are back.
Could San Diego ever be struck by a real sharknado? A weather blogger (yes, there are weather bloggers) explores the possibility and finds that it could happen in the U.S., but San Diego’s not a potential hot spot for this sort of thing.
But we were to get hit by a sharknado in late July, at least we’d have plenty of superheroes on hand to fight them off. Well, if we could get them away from the cameras that is.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.