How did last week’s secret and seemingly last-minute legislative deal come together, the one that paves the way for downtown — and possibly a new football stadium — to get a bigger chunk of taxpayer money? Well, it wasn’t so last-minute.

Secret negotiations began with conversations in August, a full two months before a state legislator introduced and passed the bill in the middle of all-night budget negotiations. “Those in the know kept quiet about the bill so others, including the politically powerful developers of two different NFL stadium projects in Los Angeles, wouldn’t scuttle the deal.”

We heard this from a councilwoman who told us after learning this herself and added: “we just can’t seem to follow a basic process and keep our word, and when we don’t do that the public suffers.

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• Jerry Sanders had been a big proponent of openness when it came to changing the way redevelopment works in downtown. But he didn’t make a stink when the secret deal got through the legislature last week. Why? Because “there were a lot of people in other cities who didn’t want this to happen. And my fear was that the wider this got out the harder it would be to get done,” he told KPBS.

In other words: openness is for chumps.

• Opinion columnist Scott Lewis takes a look at the various City Hall players who had roles in the redevelopment drama, including a royally miffed councilwoman, and a councilman who literally ran away when things got sticky.

• Why are so many local politicians steamed about that secret last-minute deal in Sacramento over redevelopment in downtown? This issue may sound arcane to newcomers but it has ramifications for everything from the new football stadium to property tax revenue that local governments get. We explain what’s at stake and what it might mean for your own neighborhood.

Be sure to read all four stories about the secret stadium deal for the full picture:

In Other News:

• These chickens taste, well, chicken-y. Just more so. After all, they get to run around outside at a ranch in the teeny East County burg called Boulevard and they don’t take hormones or antibiotics. This all helps them to grow more slowly and develop more texture, says poultry guru Curtis Womach, whose pricey chickens have become the toast of local upscale eateries.

In this weekend’s Q&A, we hear from Womach about his favorite way to eat chicken, the complicated world of sustainable food, and the fine lives his chicken get to live (at least to a point).


• With the election looming, the city is out with even more gloom-and-doom budget scenarios, including the closures of “two libraries, 12 of the city’s 13 public pools, nine recreation centers, two visitor centers and two gymnasiums.” (U-T)

• UCSD’s chancellor, an organic chemist, has won the ultra-prestigious National Medal of Science. (U-T)

• Local fans of political satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are trying to find a location for a satellite rally on Oct. 30 in conjunction with their rally/march scheduled that day in Washington D.C.

It’s still unknown how political the event in the nation’s capital will be (as compared to, say, pure mockery). The broadcast and cable networks all plan to cover it, and hundreds of thousands of people say they’re going to attend to see jokesters carry on in the nation’s capital.

Don’t they know that’s what C-SPAN is for?


What We Learned This Week:

Will No One Rid Me of This Meddlesome Board? A coalition that’s appalled by the state of San Diego schools has launched its effort to convince voters to overhaul how board members are chosen. The idea is to add four appointed members, possibly helping to stack the board in the coalition’s favor.

Arid in Aria-Land: Lyric Opera San Diego’s budget has dried up, and it’s issuing a desperate mayday. It’s housed at the North Park Theater, which many think has been crucial to that neighborhood’s renaissance.

Replay Turns into Groundhog Day: Sports broadcaster Chris Ello apologized for his radio rant against BYU. Those comments were just one small part of the chatter fallout in what is being called Replaygate. Football replay reviewers, including a BYU athletics employee, failed to overturn an obvious missed fumble call, leading to BYU’s 24-21 win over SDSU. A blog at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution asks, Does a blown call reaffirm the need for a replay?

Blowing Smoke: KPBS made a lot of calls to find out if San Diego has elected officials in favor of Proposition 19, the bill that more or less legitimizes the sale of marijuana. Also, the LA Times examines the money in support of the proposition.


The Coffee Collection (engaging stories to savor over a cup of Folger’s coffee with hazelnut-flavored non-dairy creamer):

At Long Last, Language: The young refugee came to the U.S. as a deaf man with no comprehension of the intricacies of sign language. Now, he’s discovered a brand new world. Come along on his journey: Read our handy PDF of the series or check out part one, part two and a follow-up post about how we came across this inspiring story.


Quote of the Week: “They had a shotgun pointed at me as they walked me in.” — George Marhoefer, recalling his involuntary visit to Tijuana’s jail back in 1974. The hoosegow is now being retired.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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