If you missed the Union-Tribune's Best of San Diego issue last Friday, don't feel left out—we couldn't even find the thing online and the print version was—yawn. Amid the business-friendly picks, this caught our attention: “Best Mortgage Loan Company: Countrywide.” Seriously? Apparently, U-T readers have picked Countrywide as No. 1 for the last five years because, “as America's leading home loan lenders, Countrywide has helped millions of families find ways to accomplish their home ownership needs.” We don't even know where to start with this one. San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre is suing the company for its predatory lending practices on the heels of a lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Jerry Brown, and the FBI is investigating Countrywide as part of its “Operation Malicious Mortgage.”
The San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau's new marketing campaign, called “The Road to Happiness” and paid for by the newly created Tourism Marketing District (a hotel-room tax that funds marketing campaigns), is all about getting folks who live in nearby counties to spend their money in ours. Live in Orange County? Come to San Diego! San Bernardinians—come to San Diego! L.A.? It takes less than a tank of gas to come to San Diego! As ConVis puts it: “San Diego believes that nothing should get in the way of a good vacation, not even a lackluster economy.” But what if you already live here? How about a “staycation”? ConVis is also behind the “Stay Happy” campaign, which is all about getting locals to stay at local hotels, which have recently seen a 7-percent drop in occupancy.
For its third go-round on the ballot, backers of a proposed parental-notification law for minors seeking an abortion called it Sarah's Law. Sarah, they said, was a 15-year-old who died after a botched abortion. If her parents had known about the abortion, backers argue, she wouldn't have died. But, according to a lawsuit filed last week by Planned Parenthood, Sarah's real name was Jammie Garcia Yanez-Villegas. She lived in Texas and, at the time of her death, had a common-law husband and one child. The lawsuit argues that the proposed law wouldn't have applied to Jammie and asks that the inaccurate version of the Sarah story be removed from state-published voter guides. Sarah's Law backers, which include Reader publisher Jim Holman, who's contributed $1.4 million to the campaign so far this year, say that they're sticking to their story because, as a spokesperson put it in letter to the media, “it's up to the voters to decide whether the fact that Sarah's story happened out of state is relevant or not.”