Monday, Sept. 26, 2011 - KPBS Evening Edition

Uploaded by KPBSSanDiego on 26.09.2011

>> JOANNE: Coming up on KPBS early edition. >> DWANE: We'll look at why our city is so
popular with candidates who need money. >> JOANNE: And did your wallet say "ouch"
the last time you went to an ATM? A new report puts San Diego near the top of
the list when it comes to fees for the cash machines.
>> DWANE: KPBS Evening Edition starts now. >> JOANNE: Hello thanks for joining us are
for this very first broadcast of KPBS Evening Edition, I'm Joanne Faryon.
>> DWANE: And I'm Dwane Brown. The city of San Diego paid out millions of
dollars in lawsuit settlements, one check went to a company it had fired for doing a
bad job. >> JOANNE: First, the president comes to San
Diego today. He was here to raise money for his reelection
campaign, Air Force One landed at Miramar this afternoon.
The flight was early so the president got to spend a few minutes shaking hands with
Marines and their families who were there to watch his arrival then he was whisked off
for a fundraiser in La Jolla with 150 guests. The president's visit to San Diego was less
than three hours. He's now in Los Angeles for a series of fund‑raising
events. KPBS reporter Marissa Cabrera has been following
this story. >>> The president attended a late lunch in
La Jolla at the home of May son and Elizabeth Phelp iss, an expensive lunch, $s 5,000 got
you in the door, 35 got you VIP seat and go this is part of a three‑day fund‑raising
tour that he's dog on the west coast. He was in Seattle yesterday, and now he's
up in L. Is S. Today. >> JOANNE: We want to show you some San Diego
numbers on fund‑raising between January and June.
If you look at this, it's Republican mitt Romney who raised the most money in San Diego,
between January and June of this year, at almost $75,000 and Obama is just behind him
at $64,000. Marissa, California is considered an ATM for
democratic candidates, with a tough economy and low polling numbers do analysts still
expect that to be the case? >> I spoke with local political consultant
Tom shepard and he says definitely. Obama has the potential of raising millions
of dollars here in San Diego county alone. The Obama administration says ‑‑ the
Obama campaign says that it plans to raise about $7 million in California and the campaign
plans to hit the $55 million mark by the end of the quarter which is September 30th.
>> JOANNE: KPBS reporter Marissa Cabrera. >> DWANE: Operating the landfill for trash
is the big story at San Diego city hall, the city is going to find a private operator for
the city's only public landfill. This is where the trash ends up the Miramar
landfill in Kearny Mesa, and this is where the Mayor Jerry Sanders wants to outsource
the work. Save money and maintain efficiency or keep
the status quo >>> We could cut costs at the landfill and
cutting there's costs could send money toward other place like rec services and other places.
>> DWANE: Mayor Jerry Sanders has the support of Lori Zaff and Kevin Faulconer.
>>> We have city employees who are ready to compete. >>> Managed competition will not compromise
the quality of operations at the landfill and the city will continue to have full authority
over environmental oversight. This process ensures that we are providing
essential city services, again, in the most cost effective way possible.
>> DWANE: Of course those are the Mayor's fellow Republicans, they say the landfill
runs efficiently, they say a private company would be hard to monitor and could lead to
environmental problems. The next step it to call private companies
to bid on the contract. They hope to have a decision by next year.
>> JOANNE: How much are you paying to take your money out of an ATM.
A new report says the ATM fees here in San Diego are the second highest in the nation.
The company says we are paying $2.70 per transaction and the national average is $2.40, bank rates
says Denver has the highest fees with an average of $2.75, go east where it's cheapest, Cleveland
had the lowest rate $2.06 per traction. >> DWANE: Grocery workers have approved a
new deal, $7 a week for individual health insurance and $15 a week for family coverage,
health insurance was a major point of contention putting workers on the verge of a strike.
The new contract covers 62,000 members, and the chains have been negotiating separate
deals with the union. >> JOANNE: There will be early morning excitement
on the shores of camp Pendleton tomorrow, the Marines are staging dawn blitz, this is
a look at last year's dawn blitz, the Marine Corp says this exercise helps to enhance its
amphibious operations, and it's scheduled to run through October 3rd.
>> DWANE: San Diego could have about 10 fewer public schools next fall, school district
officials are getting feedback now. Hallie has been covering this story.
Why is the district looking to close schools now?
>> Well, they are looking to cut money from the budget and the district officials are saying
every option has to be on the table and they're hoping by closing 10 schools they will be
able to save about $5 million a year. And in the context of a $1 billion annual
budget that may not seem like a lot, that could pay enough teacher salaries to keep
them low across the district >> DWANE: How and when will the district decide
the fate of these schools? >> A district committee has been meeting since
is January to find ten neighborhoods with schools that meet the criteria for closure
and that had to do with enrollment and student test scores over the last 5 years and several
other factors. They have made recommendations for 10 neighborhoods
and they're now getting feedback on those recommendations and the communities can reject
those recommendations, make their own suggestions, accept what the committee's proposing and
the committee will bring its final recommendations to the board in November and the board will
vote on them in December. >> DWANE: That's KPBS education reporter,
Kyla Calvert. >> JOANNE: Many of us are used to storing
information and photos through the computer. Now we are seeing something similar to scientists
who want to share their research on line they call it SDSC cloud and officials say it's
the largest of its kind, they say it can handle all sizes of files from small document collections
to trillions of pages of text. The service is being used by departments at
UC San Diego. >> DWANE: Pacific Beach has long been a place
in San Diego to relax, soak in the atmosphere and have a few drinks but should there be
restrictions on the number of places where you can get those drinks?
Coming up the debate over liquor licenses in Pacific Beach.
>> JOANNE: What if you got fired for doing a bad job, Sued your former employer and settled
for nearly $2 million? That's what happened earlier in year when
a software company called Axon reached a $1.9 million settlement with the city of San Diego.
We will speak with one of the reporters who broke that story and the assistant city attorney
next. But first here is the set up.
>>> In 2007 the city awarded an 18.8 million contract to Axon to replace their outdated
financial computer system, a year later they were fired over delays and cost overruns,
in 2009 Axon filed a $6 million suit against the city, and this year the city settled for
$1.9 million. >> JOANNE: Kelly, why did they decide to settle
instead of litigate? >> I think the judge decided it was going
to trial and the city wasn't successful in getting it dismissed so the city had to weigh
whether it wanted to site or go ahead and settle it and not take the risk that a jury
would come back with a higher verdict. >> JOANNE: The work that this company was
hired to do, that work hasn't been completed.
They were on for about a year and then the city fired them because they felt that they
weren't meeting deadlines and they were over budget so basically Axon was fired and then
ultimately it filed a lawsuit against the city.
>> JOANNE: You looked at all settlements so far this year, reached by the city.
And you totaled that amount.
What did
you find? >> The total was
>>> We didn't agree, they filed a lawsuit against us, we proceeded in court to the try
to get that lawsuit dismissed, and we were not successful.
The Court determined that we were going to go to trial in that case.
So Joe Coleone who is the city attorney, practicing law for 35 years did an analysis of that case,
forget the risk and determined that we should have a settlement
>> JOANNE: So it was cheaper to settle the case?
>> Could have been. >> JOANNE: You don't know?
>> We don't know, the risk was involved, it was high, and we would certainly have extra
expenses associated with that, we could also have had a settlement that was much larger
than $1.9 million. >> JOANNE: There were probably people at home
right now thinking isn't it a matter of principle, isn't this a company that did taxpayers wrong,
they can walk away with $2 million of our money.
They're going to ask the city attorney, there is something wrong with that.
>>> Certainly that's one way to look at it it it but as attorneys we have to look at
things objectively, we don't make decisions in a vacuum, we look at it, Jan goldsmith
has set high stands for our office and we have followed those standards, the Mayor looks
at it, the risk adjuster looks at it and the city council makes the decision on whether
to go forward or is settle. >> JOANNE: I want to touch briefly on other
numbers that Kelly's report talked about, more than $13 million in settlements, a high
number, already you've reached last year's amount, why?
>> There is no way to compare from year‑to‑year, obviously cases happen at different times
and this year we had $1.9 for Axon and another $1.5 settlement at the beginning of the year,
that's not typical. We don't expect there to be a doubling of
that over the year, as a matter of fact, we did a quick analysis last Friday and we project
that may bail out $21 million and if you take out the two settlements, it's about $million
which is about what ‑‑ $17 million, which is about what we paid out last year
>> JOANNE: Thank you for being here. >>> My pleasure.
>> JOANNE: Thanking consumer confidence is make it go tough for San Diego stores to make
sales, shoppers are holding on to their money hoping to ride out the economic pinch.
In our series on the economy and you, KPBS reporter Eric Andrews finds some stores are
benefit and go that's helping to create jobs. >>> Vera loves to find a bargain and she is
doing what she can to stretch the budget. >>> You have to cut back these days, it's
between groceries going up, gas going up, people losing jobs, you can never be comfortable
so you have to be prepared and learn how to cut back and budget yourself.
This is one way to do it. >>> The struggling economy is flattening sales
numbers at most stores but not at the goodwill in Santee, it racked up more than $1 million
last year, it's organized and designed to look like a typical retailer.
>>> We try to keep everything separated, the shorts, skirts, pants, so it.
>>> Cathy McDaniel has worked here for a year now.
>>> This past year things have boomed in this year and for goodwill in general.
We have unbelievable amounts of customers some days, people can't find places to park,
it's unbelievable. >>> Sales are up 9% over last year, goodwill's
Sharon Corrigan says it's helping. >>> It's been good for us, when people are
down sizing or retiring and getting rid of things that's beneficial to us because there
are good things that they just don't have room for anymore so they'll bring 'em to us.
>>> One of the keys here is to turn this kind of economic activity into jobs, another thing
that's valuable during this economic downturn. >>> At every step of our process there are
people that are working as a result of those donations so we're like the circle of life,
you give us the things you no longer want and need we transport them, sort them, all
of that requires labor. >>> Corrigan says jobs is what goodwill is
about. They three more than 60,000 people in San
Diego county alone. She says they are looking to open more stores
and that means more jobs. The rescue mission runs three secondhand stores
in San Diego, manager James Pope says sales are up 30% and there is increased traffic
>>> People want to make the dollar stretch so they're start to go find our stores and
not just ours but thrift stores in general. >>> A sluggish economy cuts into donations
and the thrift stores rely on donations to fill their shelves.
>> JOANNE: It's not uncommon tore the sea side neighborhood of Pacific Beach to be called
a "party town" but how much is too much? My next guests are at odds over how many liquor
licenses should be issued. Scott Chippen is a 35‑year are not, Todd
brown is the other than of a bar in downtown P.B.
Scott, you helped author a planning group report on the number of liquor licenses in
the community, what do you find? >> Well, for years people have wondered why
Pacific Beach is the way it is, you described it as a party town, everyone likes to have
fun and everybody wants to have fun in their community but the question is, is drunken
behavior, and DUIs and crime related to alcohol and other types of crime, are those appropriate
and is that really the only way to party? >> JOANNE: So your report said there were
something like more than 60 liquor licenses issued, according to zoning laws should be
10 and you've link that had to higher crime rates?
>> You can look at Pacific Beach as a whole or just the business district.
If you look at the concentrated business area a few blocks represent the vast majority of
the alcohol‑related crime and a couple of residential blocks next to those.
If you can 5, 10 blocks away from the central business district the crime is incredibly
low but right in that district we have 18 times city wide average crime, 5 times the
general crime and in the community of Pacific Beach we typically have between 600 and 650
DUIs a year >> JOANNE: Todd, you own a bar in Pacific
Beach, how do you respond? >> I think it's important for everyone to
remember that statistics can be ripped in whatever way you want them to, right?
Think about the fact that saying the number of licenses are overconcentrated there are
more in La Jolla than there are in Pacific Beach and they only have 2,000 more residents
than we do, we have a tremendous amount of people coming into the community to enjoy
the community and the beach and you can't pair us to a place like Santee because 100,000
people don't go there to enjoy the beach for the weekend and I think it's important to
realize. Do we have problems?
Absolutely but our industry down there I've never seen it operate better, I think the
operators that we have down there and the efforts that we put forth to move forward
with the community and the police department are better than they've ever been
>> JOANNE: Isn't one of the issues that you have restaurants that have a liquor license
for 30 years they were restaurants, new owner buys it and extends the hours, keeps the license,
it morphs into a bar, isn't that what happened with your business?
>> Scott utilizes me and my business as an example of that but the fact is we didn't
increase the number of licenses in that area when I came in, that license has been longstanding
for fifty years and we change the aspects of the license itself but I'll tell you right
now we have a full kitchen staff with full healthcare benefits and we do ten times the
amount of food service that the last operators did for the ten years previous to my business
so we are absolutely a restaurant. Do we sell more alcohol than those businesses
did? Absolutely, but we operate responsibly as
many places do and the alcohol and food service is part of both.
>> JOANNE: Scott didn't you lead the booze ban on the beach?
Is this part of an overall mission that you don't like the drinking at Pacific Beach?
>> No and some people do think that's what we're trying to do, San Diego is the last
city in the United States with an urban beach that still allowed alcohol and most got rid
of their alcohol in the beach in the 70s, but the issue is 18 times city wide average
alcohol crime. Has the crime gone down near the beach as
a result of an alcohol‑free beach policy? Absolutely, but 18 times is still not a good
number to consider the baseline, we should be moving that number down, too
>> JOANNE: Scott, I know that your group wanted your recommendation which was to limit licenses,
recommendations about how late you can offer alcohol and you wanted your city council member
to bring this up before the council and your council member is Kevin Foulkner and he sent
us a statement. He said a vast majority of Pacific Beach restaurants
and bars act responsibly and are good neighbors. I'm committed to crack down on establishments
that are causing safety problems requiring conditional use permits from all establishments
does not incentive good favor, but creates more red tape.
I'm going to leave the last word with you, Todd.
If the city decides in the end to bring in tighter restrictions, quickly, what would
that do for business in P.B.? >> It would make it tougher and the reason
he's not doing it is it wouldn't be effective and it would be a government overlay zone
that would create a tremendous amount of stagnant business in the district.
The business owners down there want the same thing that Scott wants, it's just that this
is not the answer. >> JOANNE: Todd brown you are the owner of
Bubb's dive bar in Pacific Beach and Scott, you're the member of the Pacific Beach planning
group, thank you so much for being here. >>> Thanks.
>> JOANNE: We will come to the public square. Here on evening edition.
We invite you to weigh in on what you see and hear on KPBS and in your community.
We follow up on our coverage and share your feedback.
We'll also be working with other organizations around town like the media arts center and
voice of San Diego. We want to kick off tonight's public square
with a question about politics and your pocketbook. We saw earlier the president was in San Diego
to raise money for his campaign. California is often thought of as a cash cow
for political donations. We want to ask you, do you plan to contribute
to a political campaign this election season? How do you think high unemployment and economic
worries will affect campaign contributions? There are several ways you can join the conversation.
You can follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and of course you can email us at
We would love to here from you. >> DWANE: Here is a recap of tonight's top
stories as Joanne mentioned, president Obama made a quick stop in San Diego today he attended
a fund racing event in La Jolla. A dubious honor from, they
say we have the second highest ATM transaction fees in the nation.
$2.75. And the city is council will move ahead with
bidding, critics say a private company would be hard to monitor and could lead to environmental
and financial problems. You can watch and comment on any of the stories
you saw tonight on our web site >> JOANNE: Thank you for joining us, we leave
you with a look at the forecast. >> DWANE: Good night.