San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s pollster has written that a tax increase for a downtown stadium/convention center combination would have no chance to pass with a required two-thirds vote. But Faulconer believes a tax hike for just the expansion of the existing Convention Center could pass and he’s going to go for it.

Our Scott Lewis analyzed the big decision and talked to some of the players.

In short, not only will the mayor have to overcome the two-thirds voter threshold but the city will have to beat back a lawsuit aimed at protecting access to the bayfront. That’s because Faulconer decided not to pursue a split convention center campus and build a facility across the street from the current one. It would also be a smaller and cheaper expansion than what was previously planned.

The City Council, of course, would have to put the measure on the ballot.

It’s not clear how much of an increase to the hotel-room tax the mayor will seek or if it will affect all hotels in the city or just those near the facility. In 2004, two efforts to increase the hotel-room tax from 10.5 percent to 13 percent failed. One of them had broad support of most hoteliers, police officers, firefighters and a variety of civic groups but it only got 64 percent support — not the required two-thirds of voters.

The current hotel-room tax is effectively 12.5 percent now.

The mayor made his decision after getting the results of a new study about what the people who organize conventions want. You can read it here.

Lawsuit over Police Invasion of Home

“San Diego police officers acted ‘without warrants, probable cause, or reasonable belief’ when they roughed up a mother and her two sons inside their own business, according to a lawsuit filed by the family,” VOSD contributor H.G. Reza reports. “The officers say they mistook the two brothers, who entered the store using their own keys, for burglars.”

We told you about the unusual case earlier this year.

The lawsuit accuses officers of lying about what happened, and it says surveillance video reveals the truth. The officers are still on the job, and the police department didn’t seek prosecution of them.

Politics Roundup: Roberts Gets a Foe

• Kristin Gaspar, the mayor of Encinitas, is launching a Republican bid to replace embattled County Supervisor Dave Roberts, a Democrat. (CNS)

• If the San Diego school district doesn’t get rid of the name of Robert E. Lee Elementary, the state may step in. There’s a bid to ban Confederate names. (NBC 7)

Inside a Peculiar Religious Sect

• Pacific Standard magazine is out with an investigation of the Twelve Tribes end-times sect, which has a major — and controversial — presence in the North County city of Vista.

The Reader examined the faith in 2013, reporting that “the group follows three basic tenets: ‘leave, enter, become.’ Before becoming a member, applicants must quit their job and give up all possessions, including houses, cars, and any cash in the bank. After being stripped of earthly possessions, they enter into a sacred covenant, similar to marriage, dedicating their lives to the entire community.”

• Earlier this summer, authorities arrested three suspects in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a Vista sect member, apparently because they thought he was being brainwashed.

Quick News Hits: Wrong Direction, SeaWorld

• California lost a net of more than 1 million people from 2004-2013 to other states. Where’d they go? Texas, Arizona, West Coast states and Nevada gained more than lost California residents. But several Northeast and Midwest states lost more people to California than they gained. (Sacramento Bee)

We’ve explored how San Diego in particular is facing an exodus of people, not businesses.

• Fill in the blank: San Diego should be more like _____.

Boston? San Francisco? Minneapolis? Try Naperville, Ill., which once — writes Mark Riedy in the Daily Transcript — was a sleepy suburb, “somewhat like San Diego in 2015, which increasingly is being viewed less as a major city and more as a southern suburb of Los Angeles.” What’s needed here, he writes, is more vision and the help of retired civic leaders, including someone from Naperville.

• Riedy bids farewell to the Transcript as does columnist Larry Stirling, the former judge, City Council member and legislator. Stirling praises the paper’s reporters and, in particular, himself: “Did the spattering of all that Daily Transcript ‘ink bought by the barrel’ do any good? The answer is a resounding yes.”

• A member of the band One Direction is getting credit for hurting the troubled SeaWorld company by telling fans to not go to its theme parks.

Wow. Celebrities have power. Now if we can just get Justin Bieber to put in a word for the VOSD Morning Report. You can never have too many groupies. That’s not true, of course, but just let me dream here for a minute if you don’t mind.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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