Morning Report: City Hall’s Stake in SeaWorld Success

Morning Report: City Hall’s Stake in SeaWorld Success

Photo by Sam Hodgson

An orca performs at SeaWorld San Diego's One Ocean show.

SeaWorld leases land from the city on Mission Bay. Lisa Halverstadt reveals the details of that lease and discovered that the city itself has a stake in SeaWorld’s success. The more money SeaWorld makes, the more the city gets.

Our story has some interesting tidbits. For one thing, SeaWorld can’t build a similar park in California, Arizona or Baja California. (Las Vegas, apparently, is A-OK.) Also: SeaWorld must submit attendance records to the city.

Where the Cop Videos Go

VOSD reporter Liam Dillon notices that the city expects to pay a lot — $346,000 — to store video from 400 body cameras that cops will carry around. We’re wondering about the level of this expense in light of questions regarding the higher cost of storing internal city emails, which would presumably take up less space.

Behind Faulconer’s High Jump

In his inauguration speech, Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he’s the first person to go from the City Council to the mayor’s office in 50 years, offering him a unique perspective. Is that true?

San Diego Fact Check finds that it is true — mostly. There’s a nuance that’s missing, although it seems to have only been inadvertently left out of the speech. Why fact check this? It provided an opportunity for a little history lesson.

And for any of you readers who’ve been burned by the Fact Check verdict in the past, you may be delighted to note that this Fact Check itself (written by your very own Morning Report scribe) got fact-checked and had to be corrected. Ahh! It burns!

Convention Center Shows: And Away They Go

Trade shows are bypassing the Convention Center, but not necessarily because it’s taking a while to expand it. City News Service says 14 have been scared off by high hotel prices here, while only 2 were worried about a delayed expansion.

• Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this before: A city spends a huge chunk of public money to expand a convention center because it’s afraid of being left out when others do the same thing, even though there’s a glut of space and business has slumped in recent years.

San Diego, No, try Anaheim. Voice of OC has the details. And check its story full of skepticism about whether it’s a good idea to expand a convention center now.

“I literally have never seen a study that says anything other than build it, expand it,” says a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. “Given the realities of the market, it’s astonishing to me, to say the least, that there isn’t a feasibility study that says demand is down, supply is up — don’t built it.”

Red Cross Mystery Remains

Three local Red Cross board members resigned in connection with an unexplained conflict that led to the departure of the chapter’s chief, former Councilman Tony Young. The U-T has the sparse details.

The board, by the way, is advisory, which explains why appears to have been left out of the loop of the national organization’s decision.

Labor Leader on a Big Loss

• CityBeat checks in with local labor leader Mickey Kasparian, whose political strategizing during the mayoral election turned out to be a massive fail. For background, check Scott Lewis’ perspective here and here.

Quick News Hits

• A new study offers many details about sex trafficking in San Diego and other cities. You can check the study here; we’re hoping to publish a summary of its local findings later this week.

• The San Diego Police Department’s new chief has appointed assistant chiefs. (NBC San Diego)

• A big project is in the works for Little Italy. (NBC San Diego)

• The San Diego school district is pushing a huge early retirement plan. Its goal is to push hundreds of teachers to quit, the U-T reports

• The NY Times profiles 1 Million Cups, “a two-year-old program that supports entrepreneurs, is run by entrepreneurs and is popping up in cities across the country,” and provides a San Diego angle.

• An energy trade journal reports that San Diego’s becoming a hub of electricity “microgrids” that are independent of major utilities and protected form blackouts. UC San Diego generates 92 percent of the power it uses each year.

• There’s been a baby boom lately among journalists at CityBeat and the Reader. We have a few employee babies on hand at VOSD too, including reporter Mario Koran’s 11-month-old girl, who sent me an email the other day.

Well, technically, her mother sent it. But I speak Baby, and I easily translated “Ababadababa” into “My daddy is a poopyhead.” This extremely high-level attempt at humor landed on Twitter and prompted a discussion of infants, insults and my computer auto-correct’s creation of the word “poppyhead.”

Ooo! Here’s another email from the little VOSD spawn.  I’m a what, now? Hey!

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.


Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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