Morning Report: Battle Royale Over Linkage Fees

Morning Report

Morning Report: Battle Royale Over Linkage Fees

A big fight over a tiny slice of Barrio Logan, crunching the numbers on the city’s ambulance contract and one San Diego congressman near the line of fire at the Capitol.

A battle that has long been brewing over fees San Diego charges to construction projects in order to subsidize low-income workers might soon bubble over. Andrew Keatts reported that the San Diego City Council might soon approve a hike in the fees, after many years of charging discounted rates. “If it does, there’s also a good chance the measure’s opponents will take the fight to a courtroom,” Keatts reports.

Many cities in California use a similar system to subsidize their affordable housing, so a court decision against San Diego could have far-reaching ripple effects. “If they’re challenged legally, and you lose that challenge, not only does San Diego’s [linkage fee] go down, they all go down,” said a spokesman for the group opposing the fee increase.

Emergency Cash

“Lots of people want to run San Diego’s ambulances.  There’s money in medical emergencies,” writes Liam Dillon. As San Diego prepares to put its ambulance services out to bid, Dillon broke down what the expected revenues might be for the company that gets the gig. But don’t forget to factor in discounted rates and people who can’t pay the bill. One party interested in bidding on the job estimated the collection rate is only only about 33 percent. What do you call one-third of a stack of cash?

Port Claims Need Perspective

An ongoing disagreement over how to zone land in Barrio Logan makes it seem like the consequences of the situation could be catastrophic. Councilman Kevin Faulconer said on Thursday the community plan passed by the City Council last month “threatens 46,000 workers.” Keatts reports the plan’s impact is much more narrow than the existential threat to the entire San Diego maritime industry Faulconer claimed. The disagreement is really only over just nine blocks of real estate in Barrio Logan.

No Cake Walk for Dumanis

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has typically skated to re-election, but next year’s race is shaping up to be a whole different ball game, Lisa Halverstadt reports. One deputy district attorney is running, as is Bob Brewer, a former prosecutor. “There are signs the political newcomers, particularly Brewer, could give Dumanis a serious challenge,” Halverstadt writes. Dumanis may have been weakened politically by her poor showing in the last mayoral election, and Brewer has shown strong early support and fundraising.

Promising Futures

After-school programs. Computer labs. Connections to social services. These are some of the things that one Chula Vista neighborhood is benefiting from due to their participation in what’s called the Promise Neighborhood program. “Last year, a partnership of almost 30 organizations in Castle Park received a $28 million, five-year grant to provide what’s being called ‘cradle-to-career’ support for the neighborhood’s children and families,” KPBS reports. Part of the program is focusing on early education to prepare even the youngest students for college.

Federal Shutdown Comes Home

KPBS also rounds up the impact on San Diegans from the ongoinggovernment shutdown. Military tuition assistance is stalled, for one. And the Miramar Air Show is now canceled. On top of all that, Treasury and Internal Revenue Service workers are furloughed and are making their displeasure known. “If you’re a tax cheat, rejoice, we’re not out there,” said the president of a union that represents Treasury workers.

I’ll be making note of anyone I catch rejoicing.

News Nibbles

• A new research paper shows that Republicans might do a lot better in the next mayoral election than in the last one.

• A grand jury is hearing evidence against former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner that could lead to criminal charges.

• A shooting at the U.S. Capitol Thursday was witnessed by San Diego Rep. Juan Vargas. Rep. Darrell Issa, also from San Diego, was apparently undeterred by the ensuing police lock-down.

• The number of Mexicans seeking asylum from their country’s drug war is rising, and many are landing in San Diego.

• Another seriously injured San Diegan has sued the city, claiming the injuries she sustained from a falling tree branch were caused by the city’s lack of upkeep on its trees. A similar suit against the city last year was successful.

• San Diego’s poorly maintained roads are akin to a de facto $758 yearly tax on each San Diego motorist.

• Smoking is now banned in most public places in Coronado.

Meet Slomo

If you’ve spent much time walking the boardwalk in Pacific Beach, you’ve probably seen him. Always in slow motion he approaches, gliding carefully down the sidewalk on inline skates. The man once known Dr. John Kitchin is now known to residents only as Slomo, and there’s now a short documentary film out about his life.

Turns out the man who spends his time chasing the feeling of flying and living in a studio apartment was once a successful mansion-dwelling neurologist who spent more time flying in sports cars than on rollerblades. One day he asked himself,  “Why don’t I just cash it in and start a whole new life?” And Slomo was born. The documentary has already won a prize at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival. San Diegans can see it this weekend at the San Diego Film Festival.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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