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The race between Rep. Scott Peters and Carl DeMaio for the 52nd congressional district seat is in full swing, and both candidates were talking about pension reform this week. Unfortunately for them, Liam Dillon was hot on the fact-checking trail and concluded that both candidates were fudging the truth in a rare double fact check.
A DeMaio ad claims Peters “concocted” the under-funding scheme that led to San Diego’s pension crisis, a claim Dillon reported was misleading. Peters voted for a bad pension deal, but has never been shown to have been the originator of it. “Scott Peters wasn’t on the City Council when the pension problem began, but he was on the Council that ended it,” Peters’ spokesman said in response to DeMaio’s claim.
That statement by Peters’ spokesman is downright wrong, Dillon noted.
• The conservative Super PAC run by Karl Rove, Crossroads GPS, will start spending $705,000 next week on local TV ads opposing Rep. Scott Peters’ re-election, Politico reported.
Climate Plan Hinges On Community Choice
Andrew Keatts reported on a possible rift among progressives that might hurt the effort to change who buys the electricity delivered to San Diegans. “It would let the city, instead of San Diego Gas & Electric, buy energy for its 1.3 million residents on the private market — with a larger share of renewable sources,” Keatts wrote.
That’s called “community choice aggregation,” and state legislators are currently considering new rules for cities that want to use it. But labor and environmentalists aren’t exactly on the same page yet.
Police Chief: No Ferguson Here
With our country’s attention currently fixed on issues of brutal tactics taken by police against minority communities, San Diego Police Department Chief Zimmerman released a video this week claiming that she will “not tolerate any instances of racial profiling or even discourteous treatment to anyone in our community.”
VOSD’s Liam Dillon noted that the chief has already asked for changes in police officer behavior and is rolling out body cameras to the force. But the department still says they aren’t sure if officers are racially profiling people they stop and search.
Minimum Wage’s Uncertain Future: San Diego Explained
Last week, Mayor Faulconer vetoed a measure passed by the City Council which raises the minimum wage in stages through 2016. The City Council will consider whether to override the mayor’s veto on Monday. Scott Lewis appeared on NBC 7 San Diego to lay out what it means for San Diego if the veto is overridden, and what happens if opponents of the raise can launch a successful signature-gathering campaign against it.
Local Woman Inspires National Change
On Wednesday, we were pleased to see the work of our go-to photographer Sam Hodgson gracing the front page of The New York Times. Hodgson assisted with a report that demonstrated how erratic scheduling of employees in low wage jobs creates havoc in the lives and families of those workers. They profiled one Starbucks employee who struggled to make ends meet, largely due to her unpredictable work schedule.
On Thursday, the Times reported that, thanks to the coverage, Starbucks announced broad changes aimed at alleviating the problems caused by scheduling policies. NBC 7 San Diego has more on the woman at the center of the tale.
Loud Whistle Blown at Border Patrol
The former chief of internal affairs at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection gave an interview to the Center for Investigative Reporting in which he leveled scathing accusations at the agency, where he still serves in a senior role. Claiming the dozens of deaths the agency’s officers have caused since 2010 are “highly suspect,” James Tomsheck told CIR the Border Patrol suffers from “institutional narcissism,” and that “between 5 and 10 percent of border agents and officers are actively corrupt or were at some point in their career.”
SeaWorld’s Troubles Continue
The Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency on Thursday further lowered the rating on SeaWorld’s stock, which indicates the agency doesn’t consider the stock to be investment-grade, the L.A. Times reported. The company says it plans to launch a stock buy-back program in 2015 to boost its share price, according to Daily Press.
And breaking news this morning: SeaWorld is going to unveil plans to dramatically enlarge the orca enclosures.
• Californians will vote on a $7.5 billion water plan in November targeting drought relief and groundwater cleanup. (NBC 7)
• A wrong-way driver who plowed into a pack of bicyclists on Fiesta Island on Tuesday has left at least one of the cyclists in the hospital fighting for his life. (U-T)
• San Diego ranks fourth on a list of U.S. cities with the highest number of suspected terrorists. 10 News talked to one local man who lives under that suspicion.
• San Diego County’s pension system has decided to take big risks to cover some shortfalls. “Yes, we are an outlier, but that is not a bad thing,” said the fund manager. (WSJ)
• When it comes to consensual sex, California lawmakers want to go beyond “no means no.” They’re getting into the trickier business of defining when “yes means yes.” (KPBS)
• Due to a Coastal Commission decision on Thursday, the rope barrier at the seal-laden Children’s Pool in La Jolla will start being enforced from December to May, starting this year. (KPBS)
Mud + Sweat = Jobs
A study released this week highlighted the economic impact that local races and endurance events have on San Diego. “134,000 people competed in San Diego endurance events like marathons and triathlons in 2013, and those races created about $64 million in economic output and directly or indirectly supported 583 jobs,” KPBS reported. A lot of those competitors are coming from out of town.
The study compared the economic output of races like marathons and mud runs to that of Comic-Con, setting the stage for a competition between athletes and nerds to see which team can inject more value into the San Diego economy. I’d bet on the craft beer-drinking athlete-nerds, if I were you.