San Diego A bill by San Diego assemblywoman Christine Kehoe to allow the San Diego Unified School District and the city to tear down hundreds of houses in City Heights is facing tougher than expected sledding in Sacramento. The measure would permit the creation of a so-called Joint Powers of Authority with sweeping authority and generous public funding to condemn private property, ostensibly to replace housing lost by new school construction in the aging urban neighborhood. The proposal is strongly backed by San Diego Unified superintendent Alan Bersin and San Diego mayor Dick Murphy as well as the Union-Tribune. But critics like the Reverend Jim Gilbert of Fairmount Baptist Church say that the bill's language is suspiciously fuzzy about how much middle- and lower-income replacement housing would actually be built, and it makes no provisions at all for those who want to continue to own and rehab their own homes. In a report to the state Senate's Local Government Committee, which has scheduled a hearing on the matter next Wednesday, committee consultant Peter Detwiler points out that the measure "is the result of three separate gut-and-amend changes. As introduced on February 25, AB 2867 addressed the land-use planning problems of siting schools. When it passed the Assembly in late May, AB 2867 would have changed the criteria for picking projects to be funded by the State Department of Housing and Community Development's Multifamily Housing Program. On June 6, AB 2867 was amended to allow a JPA to avoid state guidelines on siting schools. The June 24 amendments create the bill's fourth incarnation, prompting the Legislative Counsel to warn the author about a possible violation of the legislative rules requiring amendments to be germane. The Committee may wish to consider whether the bill's current contents have enjoyed sufficient public and legislative review."
One for the money Wasting no time, members of San Diego's housing commission are using public money in an effort to get themselves exempted from the "revolving door" provision of the city's new ethics law. Under that clause, officials who collect a fee for services rendered are banned from lobbying city hall for a year after they leave office. It turns out housing commissioners are entitled to receive a $50 "stipend" for each commission meeting they attend and therefore are supposed to have their lobbying activities restricted by law. But in a July 25 letter to ethics commission executive director Charles Walker, attorney Charles Christensen of the firm Christensen Schwerdtfeger & Spath, the housing commission's attorney, seeks to keep the ban from being applied to members of the housing board. "Because the revolving-door provisions of the Ethics Ordinance became effective on July 1, 2002, I have advised all Commissioners to not collect any stipend after July 1, 2002, until such time as we have an opinion from the Ethics Commission concerning the application of the revolving-door provisions of the Ethics Ordinance to Commissioners who do not receive any such stipend after July 1, 2002," Christensen wrote. He added that "if this opinion is not legally possible, perhaps it would be appropriate to process an amendment to the Ethics Ordinance" lifting the revolving-door prohibitions for housing commissioners.
Junketeer, Inc. Millionaire North County Republican congressman Darrell Issa has filed an annual personal financial disclosure, showing that he made five separate excursions during 2001 courtesy of various special-interest groups. From January 4 through 7, he was in Las Vegas to attend the board meeting of his car-alarm company, Directed Electronics, Inc. On January 26 and 27, he traveled to Michigan's Siena Heights University, where he serves on the board of trustees. From February 21 to 27, he went to Manila and on to Kuwait, sponsored by "Philippines United Against Crime and Kuwait FOTN." From March 9 to 11, he headed to the exclusive Greenbriar Resort in North Carolina to attend a meeting of the Aspen Institute. Finally, from October 5 through 10 he headed back to the Middle East to attend a meeting of the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation in Beirut and Bahrain ... San Diego's Photon Research Associates has just bagged a $55 million Navy contract to produce the "Battlespace Environment and Signature Toolkit" (BEST), to be used by engineers designing America's next Star Wars missile defense system, reports Navy News Week.