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Morning Report: Mayor Wins Round in Tourism Standoff

 

The most interesting man in San Diego politics these days may not be the new mayor.

The one who really seems to be making his mark in 2012 is Judge Timothy Taylor. He killed the plan [1] to remake Balboa Park. He put a giant roadblock [2] in the way of a 40-year transportation plan for the entire region.

And on Friday, he finalized his ruling [3] that Mayor Bob Filner did not have to sign an operating agreement with the Tourism Marketing District.

With that, the mayor received an infusion of leverage in his standoff with hotel owners over a 2 percent surcharge on hotel rooms that funds promotion of the city as a tourist destination. The legality of the tax, another contested issue, is separate.

Presumably, the Tourism Authority, the main beneficiary of the tax and the marketer of San Diego to the world is still on track to lay off dozens and cancel marketing campaigns. The judge did say that the City Council could pass a resolution forcing the mayor’s hand, but, yes, the mayor could veto that as well.

The council would need six votes to override him. Here’s the most simple possible explanation [4] of the standoff you could find in a short video.

Here’s NBC 7 San Diego on the final ruling [3].

Here’s U-T San Diego on the City Council’s decision whether to force the mayor to sign [5]. The paper also compared the compensation of the CEO of the Tourism Authority [6] ($435,000) to counterparts at other places around the country.

Fact Check of the Police Union

City of San Diego police officers and their union are making a strong push for investment both in the department and in their own ranks. They will be negotiating a new contract with city leaders soon.

They’re pushing for a 10 percent across-the-board pay increase, among other investments and have distributed a packet [7] of information to the City Council. We decided to put four of its claims through a fact check [8].

We labeled their claim that a single officer required a $190,000 investment the first year misleading. The statement that 30 percent of officers hired after 2005 are gone was mostly true. That one study showed SDPD ranking 68th of 75 agencies in California was true and that 320 officers are eligible for retirement was mostly true.

Why the Sprinter Is Laid Up

Would you like to understand why North County’s Sprinter service is shut down through May? Andrew Keatts has your back with this simple explainer [9].

Comments of the Week

This week’s top five comments [10] leads with one in response to our article about how the very urban, central and accessible neighborhoods of Uptown are actually on a path not toward higher density of homes but quite the opposite [11]. David Kissling points out that the reason neighbors cite for opposing development — the lack of infrastructure — is puzzling because so much infrastructure is paid for with new development.

• Speaking of density: The controversial One Paseo project in Carmel Valley is trying to assuage community distrust of its plans for a gigantic new development with plans for a new theater [12].

• And speaking of readers, this one [13] thinks that local transit schedules are hurting Clairemont residents.

Quick News Hits

• Is SANDAG testing the waters [14] on a new tax?

• Adrian Florido, on KPBS, has an interesting piece [15] about how refugees have transformed El Cajon.

• Earlier this week, the community newspaper Voice and Viewpoint ran an editorial endorsing Barry Pollard for City Council and opposing Dwayne Crenshaw specifically because he was gay [16]. Pressure began to mount on other candidates to denounce the editorial and Myrtle Cole did [17]. Here’s all you need to know [18] about the race. The election’s Tuesday.

• With federal budget cuts, two airport control towers will close [19] in San Diego. Supervisors aren’t happy that one of them is the Ramona airport, which they say is needed for fire protection.

• Friends of La Jolla Children’s Pool will sue the mayor [20] for closing access to the beach at night where seals were attacked. NBC 7 has more background on what went into the decision [21].

• The New York Times did a case study [22] on how one local business is dealing with the implementation of the president’s health care reform.

Quote of the Week

“I turned lemons into lemonade. Very sweet lemonade.”

— District 4 candidate Dwayne Crenshaw, on the aftermath [23] of his tenure with the Coalition of Neighborhood Councils.

I’m Scott Lewis, the CEO of Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you’d like at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org [24] or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter [25] (it’s a blast!).

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Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate [28] to keep the service strong. Click here [29] to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.