The Morning Report
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It is redevelopment week, apparently, for the news team. Interesting stuff. Let’s do a drive by:
- This story about City Councilman Ben Hueso. Sure, I understand the guy has a huge and powerful family in San Diego centered mostly in the Southern neighborhoods of the city. I get that. And yes, of course, they are going to have properties in his district.
What’s interesting about the story is that because of his financial interest in the area, Hueso can’t participate in discussions about what is probably one of the biggest deals for his district in coming years: Whether this vast section of Logan Heights should become a redevelopment area.
So regardless of any conflict or perception of a conflict, Hueso is out of discussions about this vital decision. And that’s too bad for a contentious issue that needs leadership and for a guy, Hueso, looking to become a big-shot leader.
An informal poll of insiders would undoubtedly reveal that Hueso is the leading contender for president of the City Council. And the struggle for that post, as I pointed out earlier, is going to be something to watch over coming months.
And that, to wrap things up, is also why Hueso’s endorsement of city attorney candidate Jan Goldsmith, coming when it did, was more interesting than, say, where Angelina’s babies will be born.
Hueso’s got some wind in his sails. The next six months will be pretty big for him.
- This story about CCDC head Nancy Graham was equally interesting. I have to disagree with the letter that popped up today. This is a big deal. It is debatable whether Graham has a conflict of interest with the company that is putting together an iconic downtown project. And it is debatable whether she should have had to recuse herself.
But she did recuse herself and said she’d have nothing to do with the project. So that could have been the end of the discussion. But when you say you are not going to have anything to do with a project, you kind of have to not have anything to do with the project.
And that’s why the story is interesting. She didn’t just sign a document that needed her signature, it didn’t even have a place for her to put a signature. She was relaying directions on it.
From the story (emphasis mine):
It is unclear why Graham signed off on the memo. The agreement to extend negotiations had already been approved by Janice Weinrick, the city Redevelopment Agency’s deputy executive director. She said she was told to sign it by Murray Kane, a CCDC attorney. “I’m a document signer,” she said. “I only did what I was told, to sign off.”
If she was told to sign it or it was important to be a part of the discussions, then her note had some kind of effect. Yet Fred Maas, CCDC’s chairman, said there’s been an “absolute Chinese Wall” between Graham and the project.
Either it’s a wall or it’s not. That’s the issue.
- Andrew Donohue made note today of Nick Canepa’s column. Canepa’s point is to get people to understand the very basic facts that the logic appears to be pointing to the Chargers leaving town. The cost of the stadium they dream of is now well above $1 billion. And nobody seems to be talking about big numbers like that.
And finally, there’s only one site being discussed: The Chula Vista bay front, which has a big power plant in the way.
The U-T columnist was most moved by the Chargers’ contention that the team can’t be competitive without a new stadium. But Canepa should be careful lumping his alarm about this with mentions of the Padres. After all, the Padres used the same argument in the past.
Look how competitive their new stadium has made them.
- And finally, if you somehow missed Ashley’s latest, take a look. It was classic, in my opinion. Yeah, I’m hopelessly biased.
— SCOTT LEWIS