The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
A two-vote margin is too close for former Chula Vista Mayor Steve Padilla. He’s asking for a recount of the vote totals in the race for a seat on the City Council after he apparently lost to local school board member John McCann. Padilla will have to pay himself or give someone the bill of up to $40,000.
Will Padilla succeed at his goal of finding the votes actually go his way? Probably not, San Diego Fact Check finds when it checks a claim by McCann that about 90 percent of recounts don’t change the initial result. His claim is Mostly True since there are some nuances to consider, especially a big — well, little — one: He’s ahead by just two votes, not dozens or hundreds like in the races analyzed by a nonprofit group. Then again, those races were all statewide: A tiny gap in a Chula Vista Council race could be the equivalent of a bigger gap in a statewide race.
Convention Center: Repairs? Who Needs Repairs?
A few months ago, San Diego Convention Center spokesman Steven Johnson told the U-T that the facility is falling apart: “The Sails Pavilion is 25 years old, and its useful life is 20 years, so it’s rotting and likely to fail anytime soon.”
So the Convention Center is in disrepair, right? No, says a spokesman: “The suggestion that this facility is in disrepair is inaccurate,” he now tells KPBS.
At least one major critic isn’t buying it and points to signs of concerns about the safety of the facility. Whatever the truth is, the Convention Center isn’t rolling in money for repairs, and it has quite a backlog of needed fixes.
Politics Roundup: Standing By Gloria
• In an editorial, the leftie alternative weekly CityBeat urges Councilwoman Sherri Lightner to “stand down” and not make a bid to replace Todd Gloria as president of the City Council. Rumors have been swirling that the Council’s Republicans might support Lightner for the position, giving her enough votes to grab the spot.
Lighter is a Democrat like Gloria but she’s been more independent — aggravating some would-be allies who prefer lock-step agreement — and she doesn’t seem to have Gloria’s wide political aspirations. While being president of the Council isn’t a huge deal, the position does have some power and potential for media exposure, and the Council’s Republicans might prefer to lower Gloria’s profile. “Lightner would be the best option for them as a bridge to outright Republican control,” CityBeat says.
• Local animal-rights activist, attorney, La Jolla seal defender and onetime City Council candidate Bryan Pease got some flak from potential allies when he successfully called for the shutdown of “Death for Food,” an attempt to draw attention to the slaughtering of animals that’s required for people to eat meat. CityBeat profiles Pease and finds that people are intimidated by the guy: Several didn’t want to talk unless lawyers vetted their comments.
One critic says he “is able to rouse a very extreme, dangerous faction of American society — hardcore animal-rights activists — and then step away and watch the melée that ensues from a distance.”
Teachers Union Wants Major Pay Boost
The San Diego Unified teachers union is shooting for a 10.25 percent salary raise over two years, the U-T reports. That would be on top of the automatic raises that many teachers get as they gain experience and get more education.
“San Diego Unified teacher salaries are lower than some other districts in the county, but the district offers a more generous benefits package,” the U-T reports. “The union also wants teachers to earn more money for participating in professional development sessions and district committees.”
Scholarships for the Upscale May Be Chopped
One possible strategy to prevent the University of California system from jacking up tuition: Eliminating a scholarship for families making $80,000-$150,000 a year. Local state Sen. Marty Block is co-sponsoring the legislation to halt the program for new students. (L.A. Times)
Proposed tuition hikes have become a major political controversy, with local legislator Toni Atkins, speaker of the Assembly, one of the leading voices against raising tuition.
• “In a more fair universe, the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego would be dead and buried by now,” reports Slate, which calls the troubled law school “one of the more wretched citizens of legal academy.”
O (Drought-Stricken) Christmas Tree …
• California’s Christmas tree farms are struggling during the drought, although it might be years before any customers notice because it takes several years before Christmas trees are ready to be sold. (L.A. Times)
• No, all the rain this week won’t end the drought. “Even if a biblical deluge were to roll over the horizon tomorrow, splashing the land with 20-plus inches of rain, it still probably wouldn’t give the state the moisture it craves,” CityLab reports.
But the drenching has unleashed the creative writerly minds at CityLab, describes “a massive tentacle of moisture … reaching out of the Pacific and slobbering all over California like a lashing tongue.”
Please, don’t get fresh, storm. We’re very refined and delicate around here. No tongue, lashing or otherwise!
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.