What We Learned This Week

What We Learned This Week

Photo by Keegan Kyle

City Council District 1 residents pack a community room in the La Jolla Village Square, waiting to hear from the four candidates campaigning to represent them.

 

Hoteliers Allowed Someone Else to Pay for Their Convention Center: The votes are in: Hoteliers said “yes” to a tax increase on hotel guests to help fund the $520 million Convention Center expansion. The city attorney still isn’t sure if the plan, which went to lengths to avoid a public vote, is legal, so he wants a judge to sign off.

There’s a lot at stake, and not just for this project. “If it does work this will open up a world of possibility for raising revenue for specific purposes,” says the deputy city attorney in charge of the project, Brant Will.

So, with all that flying around, mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio continued insist that this is a privately financed project. We ran that through the fact check wringer and out popped a Huckster Propaganda.

Fletcher’s Not a Dead Lobster: Hold on, I’ll explain. When candidate Nathan Fletcher went indie, my pal Scott Lewis relied on one of his favorite new devices: finding a way to fit a person into the animal kingdom. Fletcher had become an outcast, he said, and there are two directions for lobsters to go when they get cast off — they either die or become the leader of their own group.

All that is a long way to say this: Fletcher’s independent movement got some followers this week. While many were already his fans, a group of business leaders announced this week that they too were leaving the Republican Party, as KPBS reported. Three of the group’s leaders said in a column for us that they want compromise and progress rather than gridlock.

• While he’s not a dead lobster, Fletcher is having to again answer for the midnight redevelopment deal he orchestrated (alternatively known as “porkfest,” “the Sacramento surprise” or “Fletcher’s folly”). The 2010 maneuver circumvented an ongoing public process and was supposed to divert billions of dollars more for downtown development subsidies. Lewis did a good job of revisiting the imbroglio that introduced Fletcher to the power players, but also left him to answer some important questions about public participation.

People Really Care About the Proposed Regents Road Bridge: We knew when it was time to embed in City Council District 1 that we were headed for an involved group. But one issue in particular has really riled people up: the proposed Regents Road Bridge at Rose Canyon. Keegan Kyle’s story on the controversy has attracted a litany of comment.

And at the district’s big debate this week, the crowd wanted to know how the four candidates stood on the bridge. Three of them opposed it. The fourth, Ray Ellis, danced around it. “We shouldn’t be thinking about new infrastructure,” he said. “Right now, it’s off the table.”

This Guy Is Basically Already a Councilman: Mark Kersey doesn’t have to worry about defining himself against any other candidates. He’s running unopposed for the seat that DeMaio’s leaving behind to run for mayor. But he does define himself well against DeMaio: On policy, he told us, there isn’t any difference. There is in style. While DeMaio can be a bomb-thrower, Kersey comes across as more diplomatic.

What the district coverage lacked in competitive campaigning it made up for in pleasant scenery for Rob Davis’ camera to capture. Check out his images from his week in District 5.

Walmart Won One: It wasn’t a great week for Walmart globally. Never is when your top executives get accused of covering up a Mexican bribery scandal. But hey, at least they won one locally. The company beat back challenges from activists who said they were destroying a historic building while construction a new store in the iconic Sherman Heights Farmers Market.

♦♦♦

‘Well, They Make No Sense’

Here are some of the sharpest things our commenters said this week:

• ” As for Carl (DeMaio)’s comments, well, they make no sense. There is nothing private about this.”

• “While I like Fletcher’s background and would otherwise find him acceptable to be the next mayor, that midnight deal was so outrageous that I cannot … vote for him.”

• “This peaceful valley is a classic diamond in the rough.”

Read the whole collection for more and to find out what on earth they were talking about.

Some Things to Read This Weekend

• Every week, truth pirate and all-around good gal Dagny Salas puts together a mixtape of things we’re reading. This week’s has a lot about Walmart, some about water and a little about stadiums. Got something to contribute to next week’s? Send it her way: dagny.salas@voiceofsandiego.org.

• Salas also puts together a roundup of all the best stories in the City Heights media collaborative known as Speak City Heights. This week’s looks at the effectiveness of curfew sweeps, how a bike activist got big and new construction at Hoover High.

• Perhaps this will become a trend: former City Councilwoman and still-rabble-rouser Donna Frye has another column for us, wondering if the city will get away with a transfer made as redevelopment was dying.

Number of the Week

Zero.

– Number of As handed out by the San Diego Labor Council in its San Diego City Council report card.

Quote of the Week

“I find it deeply demoralizing that these seals, who didn’t build that wall, have moved into the beach.”

Hugh Davies, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

I’m the editor of VOSD. You can reach me at andrew.donohue@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0526.

 

 

 

 

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Andrew Donohue

Andrew Donohue
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