Morning Report: Fletcher's Education Plan Is Philanthropy

Morning Report

Morning Report: Fletcher's Education Plan Is Philanthropy

Fact-checking claims on Fletcher’s tax record, checking in on the fallout of an Xmas nightmare, CityBeat’s endorsement struggle and more.

 

Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher has eagerly embraced the idea that the city’s top boss should have a plan to fix local schools.

He’s touted his education plan and has lots of ideas. “He wants to increase job training programs, promote greater access to the internet and create two specialized high schools,” our City Hall reporter Liam Dillon writes.

Who’ll pay for it all? Do-gooders, mostly, through a private foundation.

But Fletcher doesn’t know how much his plan will cost.

We’re taking a look this week at the education plans of the top mayoral candidates. We’ve already examined the plans of Councilman Carl DeMaio and Rep. Bob Filner. Next up is District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who supports the most radical changes of all. Look for that analysis later this morning.

Checking Fletcher’s Tax Record

Fletcher’s supporters like to point out that he pushed for a $1 billion tax cut in the state Assembly; foes say he wanted to hike taxes by $1 billion. San Diego Fact Check finds there’s some truth in the claims, but there’s plenty of context that is left out. That’s only enough to get them a Barely True verdict.

TV: Explaining the District 7 Race

San Diego Explained heads to District 7, which includes neighborhoods like Tierrasanta, Mission Valley and Linda Vista, for a look at the issues in the contested City Council race.

Three men are vying for the spot on the council, including two whose first names are missing consonants. (Maybe that’s a sign of how willing they are to cut things?) The rivals are Scott Sherman, Mat Kostrinsky and Rik Hauptfeld.

The winner — either in the June primary or the November general election — could shake up the council’s political balance.

Few Good Tidings for Victims of Xmas Mess

Some of the performers who contracted to perform at a Christmas festival and then failed to get paid have gotten small checks, our arts editor Kelly Bennett reports. The organizer of A Christmas Tabernacle had expected 30,000 attendees, but apparently only about 5,000 showed up. As we earlier reported, many of the performers were out thousands of dollars.   

Letter: City Seems to Have Fat to Cut

In letters, Bill Bradshaw of Mission Beach compares city budgets in San Jose and San Diego, whose populations aren’t too far from each other. “Perhaps I’m jumping to conclusions, but it’s apparent to this reader that, despite the belt-tightening efforts in San Diego, with the constant self-congratulations that accompany them, there are plenty of opportunities for more cuts by our next ‘strong’ mayor.”

Quick News Hits

• My money was on alternative weekly CityBeat endorsing Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher for mayor. After all, CityBeat had been accused (probably by me) of having a massive man-crush on the guy. And now Fletcher is independent, an even better bet for lefties who aren’t enamored by the sole major Democratic candidate.

But CityBeat has endorsed the Dem, Rep. Bob Filner. The editorial doesn’t spend much time talking him up, however. Instead, shows the progressives’ struggle in coming to grips with the pros and cons of a Fletcher, the former Republican.

They’re excited about his thoughts on the environment, water and bikes. And think he’s got substance. “There’s a high-functioning brain in that good-lookin’ noggin,” the editorial says. But they’re still troubled by his right-wing connections. “We surely do enjoy talking to the guy, but we really don’t know what we’re getting into with him.”

They like Filner’s politics and the new voices he’d bring to the table. But they’re worried about the sloppy campaign he’s run and if he’d manage City Hall similarly. Plus, the threat level for scandal would be “at least orange.”

• CityBeat asked Filner why he wasn’t buddy-buddy with the Occupy movement. After all, he was arrested at the Freedom Rider protests during the civil rights era.

Filner said he met with the Occupy folks in Washington D.C., but they blew him off. “It was disastrous. I came away so depressed,” he said. “They didn’t want any help. They didn’t have any historical understanding of what people have done in this regard. They had no interest in working with us.”

• The Reader has been tracking how the San Diego school district wants to sell several properties to bring in about $21 million to help plug a hole in its budget.

Selling land just to plug a one-time budget gap is never considered a smart idea. And there’s concern that the district is selling the land at a discount.

In one case, a Mission Beach property might be sold for for $4.7 million less than the appraised $12.5 million. There’s already a dispute brewing over the planned sale of the Barnard Elementary property in Point Loma.

• Someone, somewhere, deserves a big fat F in math.

Thanks to a number error, San Marcos High School incorrectly got named one of the best high schools in the country — 11th to be exact — by U.S. News & World Report. The snafu is a major embarrassment for the school (whose fans were thrilled, temporarily), the magazine and the National Center for Education Statistics. (U-T)

• The shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant has drawn the attention of Congress, the AP reports, with representatives expressing concern about the problems that led to its closure.

The LA Times, meanwhile, says it’s still unclear what caused the crucial problems at the plant in the first place. The plant is considered unlikely to restart at full power.

• Remember KLSD, the local liberal radio talk station? It got snuffed several years ago, and some left-wingers say it was the victim of a right-wing conspiracy. A new documentary, co-hosted by former star TV newswoman Bree Walker, hints that the charges might be true. In a column for the North County Times, I call baloney.

• There won’t be any booze for sale at a Starbucks in Coronado, the U-T reports. The city complained to the coffeehouse company about its application for a beer and wine license, so Starbucks withdrew its application to be the first one in the county to serve alcohol.

Too bad. I was really looking forward to a grande soy skinny pinot noir. With cinnamon.

Correction: The Morning Report incorrectly described the price of a Mission Beach property that the San Diego school district is considering whether to sell. It might be sold for $4.7 million less than the appraised $12.5 million, not $4.7 million. We regret the error.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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