In 2012, as he was making the case for a new tax increase and construction bond for the San Diego Unified School District, Scott Barnett, a board trustee at the time, told us the new money would eviscerate the deferred maintenance backlog the agency had built up.
“What Proposition Z is going to do for the first time in history is it’s going to eliminate all the deferred maintenance down to about 4 percent down from about 18 percent now,” he said.
Four years and $1 billion of spending later and that’s not exactly how it played out, at all.
For this week’s podcast, Andrew Keatts and I dug up tape of advocates of a school construction bond and tax hike making promises about how it would fix deteriorating schools. We compared them to the news this week was that facilities have deteriorated more. The number Barnett was referencing — that 18 percent — is a measurement called the Facilities Condition Index. It’s now at 22.7 percent.
The only way the district projects it going down is with more money coming from either another bond or cash infusion from somewhere else.
Jason Roe, a local political consultant, joined the show to talk about new entrants in the mayor’s race, his take on the downtown convadium plan (he says the mayor is open to it) and why he and allies don’t know whether they’re going to campaign much against a measure to increase the minimum wage in June.
Roe is also an adviser to Sen. Marco Rubio, who is trying to stay alive in the GOP presidential nomination fight. We asked him if Donald Trump’s possible takeover of the Republican Party would hurt Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s re-election campaign (no) or if Roe would ever support Trump (no).
No Convention Center on June Ballot
Faulconer has decided not to push a ballot measure for the June election that would expand the Convention Center on its current footprint with a tax increase, reports KPBS’s Claire Trageser.
“Expanding the convention center is crucial for growing our local economy and creating more jobs, so it’s important that it’s done right. We want this measure to pass at the polls and we believe a future ballot gives us a better path to success than June,” the mayor’s spokesman, Matt Awbrey, told Trageser in an email.
In his January State of the City speech, the mayor pledged to put an expanded Convention Center on the ballot. It would have required an increase to the hotel-room tax and support from two-thirds of voters.
But then the Chargers announced they were staying in San Diego and aiming for a different convention center plan.
So if the mayor isn’t trying for the June election, would he try November to compete directly the the Chargers plan? Or 2018? Or a special election?
We’ll have to wait and see.
• The Reader offers an update on the big Tourism Marketing District lawsuit filed by San Diegans for Open Government and its attorney, Cory Briggs. It’s that lawsuit that provides something of a stick Briggs hopes gets the mayor and hotel owners to come around to support his and the Chargers’ plans.
Sacramento Report: A Big Health Insurance Levy Deal
In this week’s Sacramento Report, Anita Chabria rounds up how San Diego representatives took to a major Medi-Cal deal hashed out by Gov. Jerry Brown, Speaker Toni Atkins and some Republicans.
“This may be one of the most difficult aye votes I have ever casted,” Assemblyman Brian Jones told Capitol Public Radio.
Chabria also explains how Atkins is spending her final days as speaker.
Hassled by a Trolley Cop
Our recent look into Metropolitan Transit System security officers manhandling an employee on site was actually spurred by the experience of our intern, Lina Chankar.
Chankar was riding the trolley recently when she had an unpleasant encounter with an angry security officer named Bill Buck. After reporters heard her story and looked him up, they drove to the story we eventually published.
She recounted the incident in a commentary for us.
“My experience with Buck was infuriating, but it was also an opportunity to learn about investigative journalism and realize that a story can flourish from simple daily encounters,” she wrote.
Quick News Hits
• The son of Mexican businessman Jose Susamo Azano Matsura, the Mexican national charged in a local campaign finance scandal, is now being charged in connection with the case, reports the U-T. Check out our in-depth investigation of what Azano was trying to accomplish with his donations to local pols.
• Denise Gitsham, one of the Republicans running to unseat Democrat U.S. Rep. Scott Peters, had an interesting moment in her speech to CPAC, the conservative convention. As the U-T’s Josh Stewart notes, Gitsham described her time with the George W. Bush campaign strangely: “I’m just ambiguously ethnic enough to pass for almost anything, and as a result ended up as a Hispanic coalitions coordinator,” Gitsham said. But she is the daughter of a Chinese immigrant and a Canadian man.
• The city of San Diego is still not fixing streets very well. (KPBS)
• The chief financial officer of major county contractor Mental Health Systems has accused the nonprofit of improperly billing for expenses before they were incurred. County officials are now investigating. (U-T).
• Bruce Lightner, the new entrant to the City Council District 1 race, by coincidence seems to have put up the exact same website as rival candidate Ray Ellis, but with different text and pictures. As one observer put it “he’s an engineer. Reverse engineering quicker than creation from zero.” Here’s the U-T on Lightner’s entry into the race.
Top Stories of Week
Well look at that, yours truly wrote the most-read piece of the week. Here’s the whole list and below are the Top 5:
1. For a Stadium, the Chargers Will Have to Beat Hoteliers, Then Win Them Over
The team and its motley alliance hope to kill a decade’s worth of visitor industry policy. If successful, they will also somehow have to win hotel hearts. (Scott Lewis)
2. Several Years and $1 Billion Later, San Diego Schools Are Actually in Worse Shape
After two ballot propositions and $1 billion in spending, San Diego’s schools are in worse condition than they were eight years ago, according to new data. (Ashly McGlone)
3. Why the Chargers Can’t Avoid a Two-Thirds Vote
The plan being pushed by the Chargers claims to require only a simple majority rather than two-thirds voter approval. (April Boling)
4. North Park Had One Density Makeover, it Doesn’t Need Another
North Park became dramatically more dense with the demolition of single-family homes and the construction of Huffman-style apartments decades ago. The neighborhood doesn’t need a second round of increased density and further loss of irreplaceable historic resources. (Stephen Hon)
5. Fact Check: Desal Pro May Want to Acknowledge San Diego’s Weird Water Excess
A Poseidon official told Orange County residents that San Diego’s desalination deal hasn’t resulted in the county having too much water. (Ry Rivard)