Attorney Lee Burdick became one of former Mayor Bob Filner’s top defenders while serving as his chief of staff. Now, she’s written a self-exonerating (and self-published) memoir plus VOSD commentary.
While some will call her a “horrible villain,” she writes in the commentary, she chose to “fight for the hopes and ideals of those who elected him…my hopes and ideals…and for his (then my) staff, most of whom had themselves been terrorized by the man. ”
Now she says she can’t find a job — even after a successful legal career — and has exhausted unemployment benefits.
“The book is filled with moment after jaw-dropping moment of [Filner’s] villainy from the abominable way he treated his staff, to the abhorrent and criminal way he treated women to the extreme delusions of grandeur and self-aggrandizement,” VOSD’s Liam Dillon says in a book review of sorts. “Burdick’s tale is worse than your wildest imagination of how Filner behaved — which is hard to believe.”
Keep in mind that Burdick told this to the U-T during the Filner debacle: “I would never characterize the mayor as a monster and anybody who does is engaging in the worst form of hyperbole.” The title of her book, however, is “Bob Filner’s Monster.”
Perhaps he owns a monster but isn’t one?
Tourism Money Showdown
inewsource is out with an update to the legal challenge to the Tourism Marketing District — the 2 percent levy San Diego hotels put on guest bills. It functions like the city’s own hotel room tax and some hotels refer to it as a tax. Yet it was implemented without a vote of the people as taxes require. San Diegans for Open Government, and its lawyer Cory Briggs are challenging it on those grounds.
As inewsource points out, they haven’t even gotten to that argument yet, though. The city and the visitor industry group that oversees the money argue that Briggs and his nonprofit simply have no standing to sue.
But if they lose, the consequences could be enormous. Not only would a giant source of revenue currently funding tourism promotion be cut off but it’s unclear what if anything would have to be paid back to consumers who did pay what would be deemed an illegal tax.
John Kratzer, the CEO of JMI Realty, and manager of the Omni Hotel, cited this risk as one of the reasons his company supported Briggs’ ballot initiative that offered a different route to funding tourism promotion. That route is the most clever, but perhaps most problematic part of Briggs’ plan.
North County Report: Sand Wanted
This week’s VOSD North County Report has disappearing beaches on its mind. Erosion endlessly threatens to shrink beaches, and higher sea levels could become permanent, literally swamping short-term fixes. Now, communities are seeking fixes and “sand opportunities.”
Also in the North County Report: A shrinking Coast Highway, a video editorial from the U-T about big local projects (it likes one and doesn’t like the other), and changes in store for Restaurant Row in San Marcos.
Opinion: Fix Poway School Leadership Now
In a VOSD commentary, Cameron Curry — executive director of The Classical Academies charter school — criticizes the Poway Unified School District’s ethically iffy policy that gives the superintendent a raise when he negotiates one for other employees.
The district, Curry writes, is “in desperate need for an infusion of common sense, good judgment and solid leadership. If we really want to change the landscape and reputation of public education it is time to stand, speak up with good purpose and demand something better.”
Attorney General Sets Rules on Bond Advice
California Attorney General Kamala Harris declared this week that school districts and community colleges cannot obtain pre-election school bond measure services from bond underwriters, financial advisers or bond counsels in exchange for exclusive bond sale service contracts.
Harris’ opinion — issued in response to a 2013 request from the state treasurer’s office — also says districts cannot use bond proceeds to reimburse firms for any pre-election services, even impartial opinion surveys and workshops.
The opinions are especially interesting here because of the cozy relationships that developed as local districts launched school bonds. (These bonds typically require property owners to pay back big school district loans through higher taxes).
Chargers OMG of the Day
Chargers fans had another bit of news to freak out about Tuesday. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is meeting to decide whether it can host two NFL teams (not just the Rams as is planned). Meanwhile another U-T writer joined with a sports talk host to stoke the fires of desire for the Raiders to move here if the Chargers don’t.
Quick News Hits: Bolt Begone!
• News on the environmental activism front: The Center for Sustainable Energy is merging with Equinox Center. The center will run a new organization called the Equinox Project.
• There’s more weirdness revolving around the long-delayed binational railroad project. (S.D. Reader)
• A new report says a San Diego debt collection firm draws more complaints from consumers to the feds than any other in the nation. The company, Encore Capital Group, tells the U-T that it’s been improving.
• Goodbye, city seal. Hello, new city logo, and scads of minutiae about said city logo. CityBeat has the story, noting that San Diego’s new 82-page “city style guide and correspondence manual” is full of “mind-numbing details on the genesis of the new logo, which features two orange and green swooshes meant to resemble sails, its proper use and accepted variations…”
In case you were wondering, the “O” “represents a central point of origin, a rally point for all residents to share in common.”
We can start by all coming together to declare, as snarky types say on the Internet, “O RLY?”
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 (asja.org). Please contact him directly at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.