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Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
San Diego’s missing mayor, the nonexistent binational Olympics bid and more.
It was two simple questions our Liam Dillon put to city leaders Thursday: Where is the mayor and when will he return? He asked Filner’s press office. He asked Filner’s chief of staff. He even called Filner’s lawyers. Nobody would answer, except interim Chief Operating Officer Walt Ekard. “I don’t have an answer to either question,” Ekard wrote.
Wherever the mayor is, he signed off on $120,000 worth of small business grants this week, Dillon noted.
The realization that San Diego’s mayor is not only missing but not expected to return at any particular time came on the same day that two other women, one a city staffer and the other an attorney, came forward with more allegations of sexual harassment against Filner.
• Members of the San Diego City Council are sick of not having lobbyists for San Diego in state and federal capitols, and they’re thinking about taking that responsibility away from Filner.
• Add the “misuse of funds” to the growing list of charges against Filner. Improper use of city credit cards are coming into the spotlight, including failing to pay a credit card bill and some odd charges at the Westgate Hotel that reporters are looking into.
• Filner could be thrown out of office through a court proceeding under Section 108 of the City Charter, but only if he “allowed unauthorized payments from the city treasury.”
• Filner claimed the city only picked up the tab for three people when he took a trip to France. But it might have been four.
• Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi firmed up her position on Filner via a tweet: “Mayor Filner is out of rehab, he should be out of the Mayor’s Office.”
• There will be a “Freedom From Filner March” on Sunday at 2 p.m. at City Hall, which “will provide a good barometer” for the recall effort, according to its spokeswoman.
When Filner wrote his official response to the organized effort to recall him, he mentioned that San Diego was “developing a proposal for the first binational Summer Olympics in world history for 2024!” This idea has been around for a while now, but once the International Olympic Committee said “no” in July, it was thought the idea had been abandoned. Is the effort still going forward, as Filner claimed? “Huckster propaganda,” found our Alex Corey.
• Second Chance is a nonprofit that focuses on helping people find work after they’ve been released from jail or prison. One novel program they’ve launched recently gives at-risk youths a springboard into jobs in the local food industry. And they’re doing it in part with urban gardening.
• Food blogger Clare Leschin-Hoar noted a national conversation popping up around former San Diego restaurateur Jay Porter’s blog posts about voluntary tipping (he prefers the mandatory kind). She’s also got the goods on using store-bought plants to support bee colonies (bad), efforts to get a permanent seafood market in San Diego (fishy) and, for those of us who prefer imbibing over consuming, an event this weekend for lovers of rum.
The San Diego Film Commission’s closure and a commentary that advocated for its revival got some of our most insightful commenters fired up. Many expressed their disappointment that such a revenue-generating organization was put out to pasture.
But even more mixed was the reception to Scott Lewis’ urging that San Diegans be proud of ourselves over the way we’ve handled the Filner scandal. “Hmmmm … Well not buying this one Scott,” wrote Erik Bruvold. “The election of 2012 stands as stark testament to a really bad development in our politics — the win-at-any-cost view by committed partisans.”
• You’ll see at least three statewide ballot measures in 2014.
• For that football fan who dabbles in finance, Forbes profiled what the San Diego Chargers are worth (in dollars, anyway).
• Prominent artist Wyland isn’t very happy with a unanimous decision by the Coastal Commission that will result in the partial destruction of one of his iconic orca murals.
• A recent article that dubbed San Diego to have the best pizza in the nation is still frosting the cookies of East-Coasters.
• Expanded free wi-fi is coming to Balboa Park.
There’s a lot happening this weekend, from the rum festival to TwainFest and the aforementioned Freedom from Filner March. But if none of that tickles your fancy, U-T San Diego notes that it may be a good weekend to take advantage of temporarily shorter wait times at the San Ysidro border crossing. “All 25 northbound lanes, most with double inspection booths” will be open this weekend, resulting in a rare test-period where motorists can expect shorter lines.