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Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
Filner meetings down to one, hospice in critical condition, vanishing public records law.
San Diego Unified School District will take a two-pronged approach to solving its projected $86 million deficit next year. First, as we’ve mentioned recently, they’ll sell off land. That idea’s been controversial enough. But Will Carless explains how they’ll also save money by not filling positions left open when teachers retire, quit, move or die this year.
The district needs to eliminate 300 full-time positions from its budget this way.
• Cindy Marten, the newly named superintendent of the district, went on KPBS to talk about her sudden and giant promotion. U-T San Diego offers a slideshow of the day after the big news dropped when she returned to the City Heights Elementary School she has been running. While applauding the choice, the U-T also hints at some concern about whether the district honored its requirements to provide public notice about things like whether its about to decide on a new chief right after the old one retired.
Airport Trolley Blues: San Diego Explained
Step off the trolley at the Washington Street trolley station and you might get an up-close view of an airplane at Lindbergh Field taxing out to the runway. If the airport is that close, it must be simple to just walk to the airport’s ticketing counters and check your bag, right? Wrong. Our Scott Lewis teamed up with NBC San Diego’s Catherine Garcia to show you why the dream of catching a trolley car to the airport is fraught with complexity in our newest San Diego Explained.
This was a follow up to Lewis’ first edition of “What’s the Deal?“
Filner Meetings Down to One
In a July 2012 questionnaire, then-candidate Bob Filner committed to being “available three Saturday mornings a month for any walk-in, one-on-one meetings with the Mayor,” if he was elected.
Elected he was, and our Lisa Halverstadt checked in on that promise. She found that Bob Filner has walked back his weekend meeting schedule from three-per-month to one-per-month. “”We’re starting with one and we’ll see if we need more,” Filner said.
Voices: Making the Monkey Dance
Make sure you catch up on the week in sports with our new sports writer Beau Lynott, who’s got the San Diego connection to everything from the Daytona 500 to Bill Walton socks and Stone Temple Pilots.
We recently reported about how construction companies who donate money to school bond campaigns ultimately end up being awarded the contracts to build the same bond-approved construction projects they had donated for. Our story got dueling responses yesterday, both from lawyers. Judge for yourself if the so-called “lease-leaseback” model of school construction ensures “taxpayers lose on both ends of the bond/construction process” or if the model adds “much needed flexibility for public school construction.”
• We also heard from Olin Hyde, vice president of business development for a company called ai-one. He wrote in to tell us “Why Baja Will Be the Next Big Thing In High-Tech,” and announced that his artificial intelligence company will use Tijuana “as the location of the first program dedicated to building companies to produce software that can learn like humans.”
Big Blue Sky
Downtown’s largest-ever apartment project won final approval from Civic San Diego, the successor agency to the euthanized Centre City Development corporation. The complex will have two towers, one 23 stories high and the other 25 stories high, the U-T reported. They will be located at 8th and B.
“The project will contain 223 studios, averaging 455 square feet; 549 one-bedrooms of about 700 square feet; and just 167 two-bedrooms of about 957 square feet,” wrote the U-T. “The rental rates will be decided later but noted that the current market rate starts at about $2.25 per square foot or about $1,000 per month for the Blue Sky units if they were available today.”
Hospice in Critical Condition
Early in February, San Diego Hospice, which normally treats as many as 1,000 patients at a time, filed for bankruptcy. Now, KPBS reports that if they can’t come up with $2 million immediately, San Diego Hospice won’t be able to buy basic medical equipment or make payroll next week.
“The bottom line is that without funds to pay for medical supplies, equipment and payroll, the patient will have less than quality care,” said Chief Operating Officer William Parker. Medicare has been investigating San Diego Hospice for two years.
• In San Diego County, 11 men who were released under California’s new “prison realignment” program have been charged with violent crimes, Santee Patch reported.
• Chicano Park in Barrio Logan has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, NBC San Diego reported.
• Bridgepoint Education has been put “on notice” that it’s present course “could lead it to be out of compliance with one or more criteria for accreditation,” reported San Diego Reader.
• The New York Times cast its long gaze to Carlsbad yesterday looking at the solutions to Southern California’s water woes being offered by a new desalination plant in Carlsbad. They highlighted the high-cost of desalinating water, which is a topic we’ve covered before.
Vanishing Public Records Law
Last year, Governor Jerry Brown freed up around $20 million in the state budgent by telling municipal governments that the state would no longer reimburse them for the costs related to notifying the public about government meetings. Governments are required to notify the public of such meetings under the Brown Act.
This year, the budget hammer falls on the Public Records Act, the U-T reported. The state will no longer reimburse local governments for assisting the public with records requests.
“The danger seems to me that certain organizations that would just as soon have no records act can escape much of the nuisance factor that it causes by simply ignoring the requests,” said Terry Francke, general councel for Californians Aware, an open government group.
The Important Stuff: Baseball on TV
Having solved all of San Diego’s other pressing problems, Mayor Bob Filner has now turned his attention to the 183rd most important issue in San Diego: watching baseball on TV.
“I strongly urge you to reconsider your current decision not to provide your customers with Padres baseball this season, and act in a manner deserving of your customers’ trust and continued business,” Filner wrote in a letter to Time Warner Cable. “Rest assured, I will continue to monitor this situation and am prepared to take the steps necessary to bring about a resolution prior to the 2013 baseball season.”
Unfortunately, the U-T reporter who wrote about the letter had to obtain it “by other means” after his public records request to the city requesting a copy of the letter went unanswered. “In fact, a Filner spokeswoman responded to my Feb. 20 request… by dancing around it,” he wrote.
With no issue too small to warrant his direct attention, you can email a list of all of your personal problems to BobFilner@sandiego.gov.