Morning Report: Darth Vader Doesn't Stay at His Hotels - Voice of San Diego

Morning Report

Morning Report: Darth Vader Doesn't Stay at His Hotels

The rogue hotelier talks, and we break down what we learned this
week.

 

Longtime San Diego hotelier Bill Evans tells us he has no problem helping out with the proposed $550 million San Diego Convention Center expansion, just not at the expense of fairness.

The current plan relies primarily on taxing hotel guests depending on their distance from the center. Hotels in the downtown area would be asked to add 3 percent onto their hotel bills; Mission Valley, Mission Bay and Harbor Island properties would be assessed 2 percent; and all others 1 percent.

“The current plan has massive problems of inequity by way of benefit in comparison to cost. The Marriott hotel not only shares a wall with the Convention Center, its parking is in the basement of the Convention Center and its tennis courts are on the roof of the Convention Center,” Evans told Liam Dillon in a lengthy interview.

He added: “If it was water, their water is boiling, Mission Bay is an ice cube and Rancho Bernardo is absolute zero.”

Hoteliers aren’t the only ones being asked to pitch in on the expansion project. Mayor Jerry Sanders asked the Port District to put up $60 million, and he’d like the commission to provide a response before the City Council’s final meeting of the year on Dec. 6.

Schools Fall Short for Special Education Students

In San Diego Unified, schools are falling far short in helping special education students plan for what happens after high school, according to a new report paid for by the school district.

Among the problems: more than 95 percent of students didn’t have an appropriate, measurable goal for independent living; most students lacked a clear course of study to help them reach their goals; and 40 students had no written plan for how they would transition into adulthood at all, in apparent violation of federal law.

Hello, Mr. President

San Diego may not boast a winning sporting team, but that doesn’t mean we can’t host a basketball game amazing enough to attract President Obama.

The president and Michelle Obama were Air Force One’d (can we please make that a verb?) into town for the first-ever Carrier Classic. The couple watched the University of North Carolina defeat Michigan State in one of the more unique environments you’ll see a sporting event — aboard the Coronado-based Carl Vinson Navy Aircraft Carrier. (Union-Tribune)

“I can tell you that every day when I interact with our military, every day when I interact with the men and women in uniform, I could not be prouder to be an American,” the president told the exclusive crowd, made up mostly of military personnel.

The president also called it “especially appropriate that we do it here,” noting carrier’s role in “that critical mission to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.” (ESPN)

It might not have been a close game, but the ambiance was a hit around the country.

“This might be the most beautiful sporting event I can ever remember watching. Can’t stop staring at that sky,” said sportswriter Jonah Keri.

To get an idea of what he meant, check out the U-T’s photo gallery.

Vista’s Theater Icon Retires

The latest Behind the Scenes TV spotlights Moonlight Amphitheater’s Kathy Brombacher as she’s set to retire after next summer’s season.

More than 30 years ago, Brombacher had a meeting with the city of Vista’s parks director, who asked her to produce a couple of summer plays on a shoestring in the city’s amphitheater. That started a long tradition of plays and musicals in the city.

Watch our story and read more about Vista’s scaled-back financial relationship with the amphitheater.

Closed, But Not Over

• Plans are underway to demolish the South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista, which shut down its operations earlier this year. But some environmental groups are concerned about how much space will be reclaimed for natural habitat. (KPBS)

“There’s still a lot of discussion about what is that South Bay going to look like post-demolition,” said environmental attorney Marco Gonzalez.

Offense Taken

Students filed a civil rights complaint against Cal State San Marcos, claiming that graphic sexual and violent content in the Koala newspaper creates a hostile learning environment that the university hasn’t addressed.

The tabloid, which describes itself as comedic, publishes sexually explicit and sometimes violent content, including articles extolling rape, assault and sex with underage girls. (NC Times)

Voice Event: Food Access in City Heights

Don’t forget to join us today for a discussion on the barriers and solutions to healthy food access in City Heights.

The event is the first of three that we’re hosting with local media partners as part of our Speak City Heights initiative, which explores the challenge of improving quality of life and community health in the immigrant and refugee neighborhood.

Find us at Scripps Rady City Heights Wellness Center beginning at 4 p.m. See here for additional information and to RSVP.

What We Learned This Week

Doug Manchester Could Be a Newspaper Baron: Developer and political lighting rod Doug Manchester told us he’s looking at buying the Union-Tribune. That set off a steady stream of reaction. The guy who makes you call him “Papa Doug” later said he’d partner with John Lynch, a former local radio executive.

The Search for Solutions on Schools Insolvency Is On: As we continue to put more attention and resources towards education coverage, Scott Lewis took a look at trustee Scott Barnett’s desire to push two tax increases and how they’ll simply keep the status quo. Then, he showed how that task is complicated by the fact that so many engaged parents are already paying more.

The answers aren’t just coming from school board members. See our roundup of 10 reader comments on insolvency solutions. Add your own.

‘Bunny Ears’ Are for Furry Animals, Not Waterfronts: The Unified Port of San Diego is weighing a proposal to build a 500-foot sculpture resembling sails or wings on the downtown waterfront. The sculpture, which some say looks more like bunny ears than sails, has prompted strong reactions like “Oh, San Diego, don’t. Just…don’t.”

Chargers Continue to Melt Down: The Chargers lost their fourth game in a row, but we have some excellent photos for those who want to relive Thursday’s latest debacle.

Birch North Park Theatre Gets a New Boss: Lyric Opera San Diego, which is in bankruptcy and no longer holding performances, has hired an executive director to run and rent out the landmark Birch North Park Theatre. The hire signals that the theater will be open for other events while the opera tries to get its house in order.

Beer, Explained: In honor of San Diego Beer Week, Andrew Donohue and NBC 7 San Diego’s Catherine Garcia explain how San Diego became an international beer capital. Donohue claims he was losing his voice, but we suspect too much sampling, perhaps?

Number of the Week: 500, which is how many feet those waterfront sail sculptures would be.

Quote of the Week: “We cannot afford to close schools and we cannot afford to tax people and we cannot afford a state takeover,” mayoral candidate Bonnie Dumanis, weighs in on the San Diego Unified budget crisis.

Please contact Nina Garin at ngarin@hotmail.com.

 

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