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Back when city attorneys were crafting a plan to expand the Convention Center that didn’t include a public vote, they invited someone from the public to sue over the scheme. They wanted a court to validate it.
Someone did sue — and on Friday, an appellate court ruled that the city’s clever idea to raise the hotel-room tax to finance the expansion, sans voters, was not legal. Scott Lewis explains everything that led to the big fail.
Here’s how the court shot down hotel owners’ logic: “It is far from clear that the incidence of the special tax will actually fall only on (hotel owners) and not on those individuals who pay for hotel rooms and generate the room revenue on which the tax is based. … giving (hotel owners) the unilateral right to determine how to apportion the benefits that would flow from a tax whose burdens may well fall on others would be contrary to both the Constitution and ordinary principles of taxation.”
The city can appeal to the Supreme Court but it’s not clear whether it would even take the case.
Rockstar Planning Director Quits the Band
The rumors that Bill Fulton would leave San Diego began almost as soon as Mayor Kevin Faulconer took office.
It finally happened about five months later. Fulton announced Friday that he’s taking a job as director of an urban planning institute at Rice University.
Fulton told Andy Keatts he would’ve liked to stick around and work with David Graham, the man Faulconer tapped to be Fulton’s boss, but the Rice gig was too good to pass up.
It does look like the writing was on the wall, though: Fulton was hired to implement the vision of a man no longer in charge, Faulconer had made moves to diminish Fulton’s influence and cut the Civic Innovation Lab, which Fulton oversaw.
La Jolla Parent: Stop Calling Us Elitist
Christie Ritter, our education blogger whose daughter attends high school in La Jolla, says the latest elitism charge thrown at parents there is way off the mark.
The La Jolla cluster of schools struck a new agreement with San Diego Unified this week that gives them more autonomy.
“If parents get together and decide they’d like to have a new course offered or they want to alter the time school gets out, they will now have the process in place to do it,” Ritter writes in an op-ed. “Local control and less bureaucracy – that’s also a goal California has embraced in education recently, too.”
What We Learned This Week
• MTS refuses to release documents that would answer some of the most basic questions about the Desert Line.
• That big investigation of San Diego police isn’t actually an investigation at all.
• Most businesses that leave San Diego don’t go very far.
• The man at the center of the campaign finance scandal thinks Sempra’s out to get him.
• San Diego Unified knocked a charter school’s plan for English-learning students while cutting resources for its own English learners.
Quick News Hits
• In this week’s San Diego Explained video, we break down why Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s honeymoon period might be over.
• Al Jazeera America does a close look (with cool photos!) at startups with operations in San Diego and Tijuana.
Quote of the Week
“Relocation data is a pimple on the state of California economy” –Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, on the impact of businesses moves.