Mayor Bob Filner knew about the controversial Sunroad deal, Filner’s departed deputy chief of staff, Allen Jones, told Scott Lewis in a lengthy interview Friday – though Jones and Filner have different versions of how it ultimately came together.
Jones, himself a former developer, stands by the deal despite all the outcry: “This is exactly what a business would do if it were asked to give away something of value,” he said.
Jones also confirmed that he left his job because of the way Filner was treating staffers. Irene McCormack, Filner’s communications director, left alongside Jones.
About That $20 Million …
Not helping things for Filner: The city’s pension board voted Friday not to change the city’s pension payment, meaning those $20 million in savings Filner and others have touted lately as a result of five-year labor deals won’t happen next year. The move was a shock and a big discussion erupted on Twitter about the way the vote went down. While it got a majority of votes, it didn’t get the necessary seven, including one apparently from a representative of the mayor himself.
This decision was at the heart of most of the savings first envisioned by the 2012 pension reform initiative and then by the five-year labor deal the mayor and City Council hammered out. By capping pensionable pay, the city was supposed to provoke a recalculation of its annual pension bill. That’s what didn’t happen. And it may force big and unplanned budget cuts.
One More Day to Submit an Idea Tournament Proposal
Community groups have until this Sunday to submit a proposal for the Idea Tournament taking place at this year’s Politifest on Saturday, Aug. 3. The winning proposal will be awarded a $5,000 grant from the Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement to put toward their project.
You can find out more details and submit a proposal here.
So far, we’ve received submissions from the City Heights Town Council, City Heights Seniors, Lakeside River Park Conservancy, North Park Branch Library, Groundwork San Diego Chollas Creek and San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy.
If you think you’ve submitted a proposal and you don’t see your project listed here, please email your proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’ll soon have the opportunity to vote for the top finalists when we open secure electronic voting provided by our partners at Everyone Counts from July 5 through July 19. Stay tuned for details.
Craft Beer and Community: a Pairing
Andy Keatts has a solid rundown of our Thursday night Crafting Beer Policy event, which featured several local brewers, a beer scientist and a beer media expert.
The takeaway: The craft beer community thinks the city should be doing more to promote an important sector of the economy that has the ability to create jobs and lure tourists year-round.
America’s Window to Gen Y
San Diego State’s Jean Twenge makes national headlines with virtually every new piece on research she published on Generation Y. Lately, she’s turned the microscope on herself, including with a high-profile story in The Atlantic about how the science suggesting it’s harder to get pregnant after 35 is incredibly old and mostly wrong.
I talked with Twenge in this Q-and-A about the article, and how her research has shaped her parenting style.
What We Learned This Week
Clouds on the horizon for algae and solar: Biotech companies using algae and solar to wean the world off fossil fuels have to navigate the “valley of death” – that period where start-up money starts to wane, but before a company is bringing in money.
Carl DeMaio still doesn’t want to talk about social issues: National Republicans are excited for a “new generation” Republican candidate who is more liberal on social issues. But DeMaio appears to be using the same playbook he used in the mayoral election: Stay focused on the budget.
• In the meantime, another Republican challenger has emerged in the 52nd District race.
San Diego has a ton of new leaders: Meet them all here.
2015 organizers don’t know what the event will cost: The group organizing the big celebration in Balboa Park in 2015 have been vague about how much money they have, and how much they plan to spend.
Quick News Hits
• John Gennaro has details on injured Padres returning to the lineup (no, they weren’t injured in last week’s zombie attack on field) and how the Chargers are gearing up for training camp in this week’s Sports Report.
• The huge uptick in meth seizures at the San Ysidro border crossing “reflects a shift in production to Mexico after a U.S. crackdown on domestic labs and the Sinaloa cartel’s new hold on the prized Tijuana-San Diego smuggling corridor,” writes the AP.
• Our shoddy sidewalk post of the day takes us to La Jolla.
Quote of the Week
“When I see mayor’s staff treated in that demeaning of a manner so often, if I remained, I believed I was being complicit in sustaining that abusive environment and I can’t do that” — Allen Jones, former deputy chief of staff to Mayor Bob Filner.