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SeaWorld acknowledged for the first time Wednesday that the film “Blackfish” and the subsequent furor over SeaWorld’s treatment of killer whales is hitting the company in the bottom line. A bad earnings report sent the company’s stock price down 33 percent Wednesday.
SeaWorld also announced yesterday that its parks (including the one here in San Diego) have suffered an overall slump in attendance.
Meet ‘Mr. Lambo’
The Mexican businessman at the center of the sprawling campaign finance scandal doesn’t just go by his name of Jose Susumo Azano Matsura. In that new indictment that came out this week, he’s called “Mr. A” (no, he doesn’t have a Bankers Hill restaurant) and “Mr. Lambo.”
That’s apparently a reference to his car. And it’s not the Buggati that we discovered he was caught driving 123 mph by Coronado police.
Yup, Chula Vista Ranks Low on Cops
“We unfortunately are among the lowest-staffed police departments in the county,” Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox said the other day. Is she right? San Diego Fact Check’s ruling: She is indeed.
The city, the second-largest in the county, has the lowest cop-per-capita rate of any local police agency. It doesn’t even have one officer per 1,000 residents, significantly lower than the national and local average.
“If we found 16 qualified candidates, we’d hire them tomorrow,” a police captain tells us, pointing out that several officers have left recently. Still, the crime rate in Chula Vista remains low — it’s dipped by a huge amount over the past several years — raising the question of whether the city needs more cops.
Huge I-5 Expansion Gets Crucial Approval
The state Coastal Commission has approved a mammoth project to expand Interstate 5 in North County and boost rail services. The commission rejected concerns from environmentalists about the project. (U-T)
Commentary: Big Brother on the Loose
In a commentary for VOSD, MP3.com founder Michael Robertson warns that “the government is invisibly collecting data on Bluetooth-equipped smartphones along roadways,” potentially leading to invasions of privacy as the authorities track the whereabouts of citizens via their phones.
State Under Fire over English Learners
• A judge has ordered the state to do a better job of educating kids who don’t speak English, the AP reports. “You have a report that 20,000 aren’t getting their instructional services,” the judge told the state. “That’s not good enough.”
An earlier report found that 251 districts in the state said they were deficient in the education of non-English-speakers. They include districts in San Diego, East County, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido, Borrego Springs, Julian and Carlsbad, although some reported only a handful of students not getting full services.
For background on how schools teach English to kids who speak other languages, check our previous story here.
Quick News Hits
• State legislation “would make it harder for franchisor companies such as the McDonald’s Corporation to end licensing agreements with franchisees. The proposed law has polarized the business community, and become a flashpoint in organized labor’s efforts to transform the franchising business model,” MSNBC reports.
• Politico takes a look at how cities like San Diego are giving taxpayer-funded subsidies to craft beer breweries. Is this another form of corporate welfare? Politico wonders: “While the tax breaks flow, there is little evidence that these incentives are driving where craft brewers set up their businesses.”
For background on the subsidies, check our previous story here.
Don’t be surprised if the little girl running the lemonade stand down the street starts wondering where her subsidy is. If she asks, try my favorite approach: “Hey! Is that Justin Bieber?” Then run.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.