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Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
More fighting over big water deal, U-T CEO on lack of ally investigations, city probes funding and the Bolts make a ho-hum list.
When he ran for mayor, Rep. Bob Filner made a big deal out of his plan to use millions of dollars from taxes on hotel guests to boost the city’s police and fire services. Now, his plan is just about dead.
Whodunnit? Not Colonel Mustard in the conservatory. It’s the City Council in the City Hall chambers — the same folks who will need to work with Filner when he takes office. On Monday, the council approved instituting a 2 percent hotel tax for 40 years, with the money going to promote tourism and bring in more visitors to pay more taxes.
“Monday’s vote means the hotel industry now gets to decide how the money’s allocated and the city can’t change the spending rules without its approval,” our Liam Dillon reports.
Read into this what you will: The council members talked about the tax but didn’t mention Filner at all.
Fact Check: How Fixed Is the City Budget?
San Diego Explained: New Money for Schools
If you want to understand the state of education funding in California, take two minutes and watch San Diego Explained, our video series with NBC San Diego. We explore how Prop. 30, which won at the ballot box, will change the way schools are funded.
Fixing Those Broken Links
Yesterday’s Morning Report included a couple broken links that didn’t connect to the appropriate stories. We’ve got the correct links here for the New York Times story about the stink at La Jolla Cove and the Scott Lewis column about Filner’s new chief of staff, Vince Hall.
Water Dispute Heats Up
In a U-T commentary, a North County water district official says a water deal involving desalinated water is in danger, but Mayor Jerry Sanders can fix things.
This is a sign of more angst among smaller local water districts as the deal moves forward.
Want more? Check our grand overview of the issue.
Investigate Our Allies? Pshaw!
U-T CEO John Lynch spoke to the American Journalism Review for a story about “a handful of wealthy investors … (who) are willing if not eager to put their dollars into the struggling newspaper market.” One of them, of course, is Doug Manchester, the U-T publisher.
The reporter asked Lynch whether the paper had published an investigation of any allies of Manchester and Lynch. “Have we done an investigation of an ally?” Lynch responded. “No, I don’t have to think about it. Never.”
Lynch added that the editor of the paper has the power to decide what stories are covered. But far from being the subject of any investigations, Manchester’s allies have received glowing coverage, and the paper published several stories and commentaries about an anti-Obama documentary that — unknown to U-T editors — was financed by Manchester.
• The New York Times published a story about last week’s death of David Copley and the end of a San Diego newspaper publishing era.
The story doesn’t break new ground, but it does provide a handy look at the immense influence of individual newspaper families in regions across California, including places like the Central Valley and the East Bay. Many, if not all, of the families have given up their papers.
• Our stories about Copley’s death, including my commentary about its meaning for the future of San Diego, were among the most popular stories on our site over the past week. Also in the top three: a look at the debate over red-light cameras.
City Finds Signs of Trouble in Funding
• The city has discovered that $2 million has been misspent due to invoice errors and double payments. Now it wants the money back. (NBC San Diego)
• “A domestic violence program that Casey Gwinn launched as city attorney and carried on after he left office has entered into two illegal contracts and sought a third,” the city attorney says. (U-T)
Quick News Hits
• Mayor-Elect Bob Filner is trying to figure out how to legally hire former Councilwoman Donna Frye as director of open government. There may be a hitch because she draws a city pension. (San Diego 6)
For more on the plan to hire Frye, check our story.
• The New York Times Magazine helpfully publishes a “Meh List” of things that are, well, just sorta so-so.
This week’s edition includes a questionable entry (“photos of topless men”?) and a few that are right on the money: “podcasts,” “Cyber Monday” and “The San Diego Chargers.”
Reading the list is a rather uninspiring but not aggravating experience. If only there was a word for that.