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Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
Council orders mayor around, UCSD smokers get the shaft and SDSU contest misses biggie.
Myrtle Cole and Dwayne Crenshaw will meet for a runoff in District 4.
They were the top two vote-getters in a low-turnout affair (about 17 percent turnout) to replace former Councilman Tony Young.
The two-way battle was already getting under way as votes rolled in Tuesday night, when Crenshaw took a shot at Cole in his victory speech.
“We know there are deep-pocketed special interests who want to buy this seat,” Crenshaw told his supporters, referring to Cole’s support from the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council.
Council Orders Filner to Sign, But…
The City Council voted yesterday to force the mayor to sign an agreement that would cough up tax money from hotel guests to fund tourism promotion efforts. But what exactly happens now? How do you force someone to sign something? Can the mayor veto what the Council just did?
This are all part of the five big questions remaining that Lisa Halverstadt took a stab at answering.
Meanwhile, our Scott Lewis offers his perspective, and tries to explain what the Tourism Authority actually does and what would be lost if 85 of its employees do lose their jobs.
• U-T San Diego ran a story this week about how the head of the tourism agency thinks the mayor’s refusal to free up money for a marketing campaign has zapped local hotels in recent weeks. Hotel occupancy was down 1 percent from last year in February, the U-T says, while other major West Coast cities saw increases.
It’s apparently impossible to figure out if the lack of ads made a difference (the ad campaign is actually for the spring and summer) and the story says other factors may play a role.
The Reader digs deeper and finds evidence of statistical cherry-picking: several statistics for the year so far (up until March 19) show local hotels are doing better than last year up to this time. Room revenues, for example, are up almost 7 percent, and occupancy rates are up by two percentage points.
Arts: Trumpets, Amnesia, and Our Scribe Reviews a ‘Hardbody’
• Colin Weatherby, a New York City-based contributor to VOSD who pinch-hits here at the Morning Report, reviews the Broadway musical “Hands on a Hardbody,” which got its start at the La Jolla Playhouse, for theatermania.com. A North County native, he writes this about the documentary that inspired the play: “It came out when I was 14, and it’s basically everything that a mid-’90s teenager living in some boring suburb dreams about: absurd comedy, rednecks, and free trucks.”
It’s not exactly what I recall dreaming about in an earlier era, but then again I didn’t even know my San Diego suburb was boring.
Learn What You Can from Charters
Education writer Oscar Ramos recently wrote that school districts should see charter schools for what they can be: labs that help education systems test ideas and innovations that make learning easier.
And school districts can share those innovations with the rest of their students. Ramos says he found another reason why we need to
Quick News Hits
• Jay Goldstone, the former chief operating officer of San Diego, was the top finalist for the position of county administrator in Orange County but didn’t get it because of concerns that he’s trying to officially retire from the city: “According to sources close to the negotiations, board members were adamant about not want to be seen as contributing to pension abuses by hiring a top executive who was drawing a large pension from another jurisdiction,” reports Voice of OC.
• Federal budget cuts due to the sequestration mess are threatening to close Friendship Park at the border, a place where people in the U.S. and Mexico can talk through a fence, NBC San Diego reports. For background on the park, check our story here.
• “Universal Protection Service, which receives $9 million a year to provide security officers for passengers traveling throughout San Diego County, was on the hot seat during back-to-back meetings last Thursday as the boards of San Diego’s two transit districts questioned whether the company was meeting the safety and training requirements laid out in their contract,” reports Investigative Newsource.
• The website of the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank, recaps the DeMaio smear campaign scandal and quotes a pre-election story by our Liam Dillon.
• It’s one thing when smokers light up in a place where non-smokers (like me) would like to be. The cozy patios of local coffeehouses, for instance. But it’s another thing when smokers light up where non-smokers (like me) don’t want to be, like those seventh-circle-of-hell designated smoking rooms in airports or smoking patios at bars.
KPBS reports, UCSD will soon ban all smoking on campus, joining Mesa community college. San Diego State, however, continues to provide places for people to smoke.
• Speaking of San Diego State, the U-T has finished its nifty bracket-style competition to name the university’s coolest alum. The winner, who faced off against screenwriter and producer David McKenna in the final round (I didn’t know who he is either but he has an awesome birthday), is former Padre and all-around nice guy Tony Gwynn.
But while people like Kathy Najimy, the San Diego Chicken guy and Fred Dryer made the “March Radness” list one name is conspicuously missing: that of SDSU graduate Cleavon Little, star of the classic Mel Brooks movie “Blazing Saddles.”
Get out. Could that possibly be?
To borrow a phrase: It’s twue, it’s twue! I demand a recount.