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Morning Report: Tax-Hike Proposal Hazy on Details by Design

San Diego Convention Center / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

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Signature gatherers are about to fan out to support proposed ballot initiative to increase hotel taxes is expected to pull in more than $6 billion over four decades.

We’ve learned that, if it passes in November, city leaders will have a lot of freedom on how exactly to spend it.

Language in the proposal spells out what the money should fund – a Convention Center expansion, homeless services and road repairs – but keeps the details vague in terms of how exactly the money should be spent.

The Yes! for a Better San Diego coalition behind the pitch tells our Lisa Halverstadt that the ambiguity is by design.

We’ve also made a correction to the story since it was first published: An initial version of mischaracterized the Yes! for a Better San Diego coalition’s reliance on projections in Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s failed bid last year for a hotel-tax hike. The business and labor coalition on Tuesday released its own projections detailing how much money the measure will generate for the city.

What the group hasn’t tackled is the cost of a Convention Center expansion and other needs. It relied on expansion and other Convention Center-related cost estimates aired last year by Faulconer’s team and structured its measure to accommodate that plus a spike in costs.

Feds: California’s Graduation Rates Are Off

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General says the California Department of Education’s graduation rate numbers are off.

VOSD’s Mario Koran explains that the federal audit released Wednesday found that the state doesn’t calculate graduation rates in accordance with federal requirements and lacks sufficient controls to ensure graduation rates are accurate.

The audit focused on the 2013-2014 and used sample data from schools in Los Angeles. It found that California inflated its high school graduation rate by 2 percentage points for the class of 2014. (Education Week)

The audit doesn’t shed a lot of light on San Diego graduation rates since the data came from Los Angeles, but you can catch up on Koran’s reporting about local graduation rates.

Made It in SD: Moving Made Better

In a new episode of I Made it in San Diego, a podcast about the people behind the region’s businesses, I talk to Mike Glanz about how much moving sucks.

The backbreaking loading and unloading, the inevitable fights with life partners about what actually merits a move and what’s junk that should be tossed – it’s all pretty terrible.

But what if moving didn’t have to be so bad? That’s what inspired Glanz and his roommate Pete Johnson to build HireAHelper, an online moving marketplace that allows people to easily and affordably hire people to help them move.

Despite a lawsuit from U-Haul that nearly brought the company down, the website has succeeded and now pulls in about $8 million in annual revenue.

The Region’s Rising Rent

Rent across the San Diego is high, and keeps getting higher.

In his latest North County Report, Ruarri Serpa looks at the findings from a new report released by the national apartment listing website RentCafe and puts up-to-date figures behind the housing crunch folks are feeling.

In the North County, Carlsbad came in with the highest average rent at $2,185 — marking a 4.7 percent increase. Escondido was one of the cheapest markets with an average rent around $1,500, but that figure grew 5 percent from the previous year.

Also in the roundup of news from the north: A high-density neighborhood built around farmland could be the answer to Encinitas’ needed housing plan, the people of Oceanside will decide how to handle the mayor’s vacancy and more.

SANDAG’s Public Search for Its New Leader

The San Diego Association of Governments kicked off a series of events Wednesday night that seeks to gather public input about what people want to see in the next executive director of the regional transportation agency. (City News Service)

SANDAG’s former leader resigned last year amid a scandal revealed by Voice of San Diego.

For those who don’t do public meetings, there’s also an online survey in Spanish and English.

In Other News

• San Diego is experiencing its deadliest flu season since the county began collecting records. (KPBS)

• The first-ever full map of the cannabis genome was revealed at a conference in San Diego Wednesday. People are stoked because the information could help pin down which part of the plant does what, exactly. (Bloomberg) 

• The undocumented UC Berkley student who was arrested by Border Patrol last month will be released on bond from the Otay Mesa Detention Facility. Here’s an in-depth profile of the student and how he ended up detained. (Union-Tribune, Washington Post)

• Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher makes an appearance in a Frontline documentary investigating the sexual abuse of immigrant women. Here’s what she says.

• The San Diego State University professor who the California Department of Justice recently found to have discriminated against a student because of her race has been removed from his post this semester. A university spokesperson declined to say whether the professor was suspended or let go. (Daily Aztec)

• Local ladies are stepping up to learn more about running for office. (KPBS)

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