A local redevelopment honcho thinks there’s a very good reason why the mayor supported a secret deal to shovel taxpayer money into downtown redevelopment: because downtown isn’t rundown anymore.
Redevelopment funds are only supposed to be used to support neighborhoods that are blighted — in poor shape and in need of fixing up. Is downtown still like that? Good question, and now it’s one the city possibly may not need to answer.
“I know what everyone in southeastern is going to say,” Brian Trotier, interim head of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. is quoted as saying. “It’s the haves getting what they want again and the have-nots getting screwed again.”
In Other News:
• We’ve created a special section where all of our election coverage will live through next Tuesday and beyond. Drop by to catch up before you figure out how to vote.
• Is there a brand-new chief of redevelopment in southeastern San Diego or isn’t there? There are conflicting reports. One thing that’s clear: the guy who’s currently got the job — we quote him above — wants to keep it and hasn’t heard he’s on his way out.
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• As we’ve told you, a bunch of potentially dangerous junk is showing up on Mission Beach thanks to sand dredging. Now we’re looking at the big picture and explaining why this project isn’t about beautifying the beach with new sand.
• So what was the secret last-minute downtown deal about? A state assemblyman says it was about jobs. But an analysis from the Republican party caucus in the state assembly put things somewhat differently. As we report, “it gave a blunt assessment of what the money would be used for: San Diego’s downtown redevelopment agency needed to sequester $6 billion more in property tax revenues, the analysis said, to expand the city’s Convention Center, build parks, make improvements to a transit corridor and build a new football stadium for the Chargers.”
Phooey on that, said one GOP assemblyman who voted no: “I’m looking at this going, ‘For God’s sakes.’”
• The opponents of Prop. J, the ballot measure that would impose a per-parcel tax on property owners, seem to have unleashed a pretty strong argument: they say “District employees will soon see a 7% salary increase plus additional perks that amount to an over 14% compensation increase in one year!”
Those details could definitely swing voters. But are they true? We’ve fact-checked this statement, dipping into the complicated world of school district pay — salaries, furloughs, automatic raises known as “step increases” and more. And we’ve reached a verdict that will make some people unhappy.
• The school district’s top attorney is leaving.
• If you’re near Kearny Mesa today, watch our City Hall reporter moderate a debate over Prop. D featuring leading lights from both sides of the issue. That’s not all: we’re cosponsoring a school board debate on Wednesday in La Jolla, and our education reporter will moderate.
• Speaking of Prop. D, our editorial cartoonist provides a guide to the ballot and suggests we’re getting a publicly funded football stadium no matter what happens.
• In arts, we’ve posted a Behind the Scene video from our partners at NBC San Diego about an unusual partnership of two dance troupes.
• Remember when a fundraiser for a congressional candidate in North County went gonzo as a sheriff’s deputy faced off against local residents? The county is paying $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit, the NCT says. “The settlement also includes a provision that the Sheriff’s Department develop a training manual that instructs deputies on when they can and cannot enter a person’s home and how to treat people involved in misdemeanor offenses.”
• A bizarre death case has come to an end: the U-T reports that “the parents of a man who was fatally shot by Harbor Police after jumping off a chartered cruise ship two years ago has settled a wrongful-death lawsuit against the Unified Port of San Diego for $2.5 million.”
• Finally, few things will make you feel more ancient than a whippersnapper colleague asking “Who’s Lamb Chop?” This happened to me about a year ago while writing a bizarre story about an epic “Mr. Rogers” fraud that ensnarled the daughter of Shari “Lamb Chop” Lewis. Now, a KPBS staffer has recently posted a remembrance of her stint in a Lamb Chop costume back in 1995.
If I hear anymore about that woolly little puppet, I’m going to need a frying pan and some mint jelly.
Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.