The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
The city’s in the middle of negotiations with its police officer union, and it’s not clear what’s happening behind closed doors. But it does appear that cops will get more pay, more benefits or both.
What’s most likely? VOSD reporter Lisa Halverstadt examines the situation and notes that some restrictions may tie the mayor’s hands. “This means the mayor, the city’s chief dealmaker in labor talks, may not be willing to dole out straight pay raises until the five-year freeze expires. Whatever the city opts to do, its best bet may be to throw much of the money at veteran officers.”
• A Washington Post blogger explores how San Diego avoided chaos after the 1992 Rodney King riots despite an unhappy history of racial problems in the 1980s, including the notorious Sagon Penn case: “the police and the city made a concerted effort to shift to more community-oriented policing.” For more, check out this piece in which Keegan Kyle chronicled SDPD’s policing approach in this great 2011 piece.
DeMaio Weirdness Gets Weirder-er
Will the real second DeMaio accuser please stand up? And so he did.
Justin Harper, the former campaign aide who shook up the 52nd District race at the last minute by accusing candidate Carl DeMaio of sexual harassment came forward Wednesday to say that he’s no imposter. At a journalism forum Tuesday night before, a spokesman for DeMaio declared that the person who claimed to be Harper and made his allegations to KPBS was not the real Justin Harper.
“I’m confused by (their response),” Harper told KPBS Wednesday. “I don’t know why they’d go that way.” Harper, a 25-year-old Navy veteran, spoke via Skype from Cincinnati and showed KPBS his driver’s licenses from California and Ohio. He also confirmed his identity to VOSD’s Scott Lewis.
Dave McCulloch, the DeMaio spokesman, didn’t respond Wednesday. You can watch the remarkable video of the forum where he made his imposter claims.
Legislator: Labor Rules Deserve Respect
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a former local labor leader, responds to our story about the worker rules that annoy employers with a commentary defending them: “It’s a balancing act for all of us to protect these rights without creating unfair burdens on the vast majority of businesses that function 100 percent in compliance with the law. That means constant review of existing laws, but it doesn’t mean sacrificing basic rights in the name of expediency. Responsible policy demands both.”
Olympics Bid Might Be Possible After All
Former Mayor Bob Filner found himself the subject of mockery when he proclaimed that the city could host the Olympics alongside Tijuana in a few years. With the stadium issue far from resolved, it seemed like the longest of long shots. But now, there’s a ghost of a chance, since the Olympics people have gotten desperate and seem ready to accept two-country bids — like from San Diego and Tijuana, say.
The New York Times has the details. But don’t get too excited. As the newspaper notes, this isn’t free. “You say you can afford only part of the Olympic price tag, and you’d like to share the cost with the city — or even the country — next door? Have at it!”
Quick News Hits: Tuition Tiff
• It looks like tuition hikes are on their way to the University of California system despite student protests and opposition from top politicians. (AP) The Bay Area News Group says the tuition fight reveals “a growing rift between the University of California and Gov. Jerry Brown over tuition increases has exposed a broader struggle over who controls the powerhouse university system and who should pay for it.” A major voice in the fight has been San Diego’s Toni Atkins, the Assembly speaker.
• “Imperial Valley water officials are pressuring the state to take action on restoring the Salton Sea to avert what they say is “an emerging environment and public-health crisis.” (KPBS)
• The city is in hot water over public records again: “Presidio Soccer League, San Diego County’s largest competitive youth soccer league (with over 15,000 members), accuses the city of ignoring the records law by refusing to turn over copies of a lease agreement it entered into with the San Diego Polo Club in Carmel Valley.” The league wants to nab some more fields for its teams to play in; it says the city gave it an expired lease. The city isn’t talking. We examined the mayor’s transparency failings earlier this week. (Reader)
• Also in sports, the AP says San Diego State basketball coach Steve Fisher will stick around.
• CityBeat has details on a Housing Commission plan to get 1,500 transients off the streets: “With San Diego’s unsheltered homeless population currently at around 2,500, that plan, called Housing First San Diego, has the potential to make a significant impact in a city where ending homelessness has been a stated goal for the last decade.”
• CityBeat looks at how taxi reform came about and says “United Taxi Workers won a huge grassroots victory.” It’s not clear what people who use taxis won, especially the poor.
A Tie for Two: What to Do?
As of yesterday evening’s election count, two candidates for a seat on the Chula Vista City Council were tied at 18,450 votes each. One is Steve Padilla, the former mayor, and the other is John McCann, a Sweetwater school district trustee.
What happens if there’s a tie when the counting is done? It all comes down to chance. As we noted in 2010, there were only a few tied elections between 1992 and that time, “and all were decided by random games of chance — flipping a coin, drawing a slip of paper out of a box or whatever else the deadlocked candidates could agree on.”
Mikel Haas, the then-registrar of voters, told me that he likes the idea of the game “when you put a card on your forehead, and the high card wins. But I haven’t heard of anybody doing that.”
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.