The Morning Report
Subscribe now. Get smarter tomorrow.
Oops. When city staffers told the council about a deal to allow a company to continue managing Belmont Park in Mission Beach, they forgot to mention a detail. And not a little one but a major one.
VOSD reporter Andrew Keatts explains what happened: The council — which ultimately sent the lease back to the drawing board — wasn’t told, at least publicly, about a switch in how much the company managing the amusement park would have to pay for renovations and improvements.
The city says it wasn’t trying to be sneaky and calls the omission an “oversight.” Reps for three council members (but not a fourth) say they still knew about the change. Regardless of what happened, “It’s simply not possible to determine whether the city was getting a good deal without considering that change.”
‘Transit First’ Gets Bum’s Rush
• “Despite a chorus of requests to change San Diego County’s transportation priorities, regional leaders… rejected the idea of a ‘transit first’ approach that seeks to delay billions of dollars in freeway expansion projects.” (U-T)
• The U-T finds that cyclists were found at fault more than drivers in 2,515 recent accident reports of local collisions between cars and bikes. All the accidents injured or killed cyclists. A police lieutenant says this is a pattern based on his experience: “Many of those cases were violations of right of way, where the bicyclist cut in front of a car or decided not to stop at a stop sign or a red light — just rode right through it.”
As the article explains, there’s dispute over what this all means about cycling safety and the responsibilities of cyclists and society itself.
Military Troubles: Ship Captain Out
“The captain of one of the Navy’s premier warships has been relieved of command after an investigation found that he routinely used foul and abusive language toward crew members and engaged in inappropriate touching and questioning of women,” the L.A. Times reports. The ship, Boxer, is based in San Diego.
Quick News Hits: Top Off
• SeaWorld employees are apparently being harassed in the field as they try to rescue sea animals. For background on SeaWorld’s work to return animals to the wild instead of to captivity, check our previous story.
• The county’s unemployment rate has dipped to 5.8 percent.
• “Horton Plaza’s historic fountain lost its top Friday,” the U-T reports. Don’t worry, it’ll be back.
• The weirdness in South Bay continues: “Two long-time rivals from the embattled Sweetwater Union High School district got into [a] disturbance… in a Chula Vista mall parking lot.” (NBC 7)
• The NY Times takes a look at how an advocacy group has helped Los Angeles hotel workers gain influence — and higher pay — during a time when unions are in decline. The key to success: “having unions join forces with advocates for immigrants, women, African-Americans and the environment — and using their combined power to influence local lawmakers.”
• The baseball stadium wants to host the All-Star Game. (U-T)
Give It a Rest, Room!
A new study of germs examines four restrooms at San Diego State and, NPR reports, finds “genetic traces of more than 77,000 distinct types of bacteria and viruses,” even though the restrooms underwent a deep clean before the research.
Should you be worried about public restrooms, especially those at SDSU? Not really. Some of the bacteria, as a study co-author put it, were “skin bugs that happened to have lost their skin.” But the floor was home to nastier bugs like MRSA, whose deadly renaissance has roots in San Diego. (Something else that has roots here: Proper restroom etiquette.)
As for bleach-bombing every bathroom in sight, the co-author doesn’t recommend it. “Bacteria come back right away, and they might come back perturbed,” he said.
Disgruntled people are annoying enough. Now we have to worry about grumpy germs? On the bright side, most of us can follow the researcher’s advice about protecting ourselves: “Don’t lick the bathroom floor.” Thanks, science!
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.