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Redevelopment is the reason the city of San Diego can consider building a new Convention Center, football stadium and other enhancements downtown at a time when rec centers, libraries and swimming pools are in danger of closing elsewhere.

Cities all across the state use the mechanism for their blighted neighborhoods. But unlike most of them, San Diego does things differently. For one, it allows two nonprofits, fully funded by the city, to manage its redevelopment efforts downtown and in southeastern San Diego: CCDC and SEDC respectively.

And, also unlike other areas, San Diego made its elected mayor the executive director of the Redevelopment Agency — the entity that oversees not only CCDC and SEDC but the other areas considered blighted in town.

Now, that may change. The City Council is considering ousting him as San Diego’s redevelopment leader and hiring a professional manager wake of the mayor’s efforts to extend the lifespan of downtown redevelopment without involving the public or City Council.

U-T: We Want Maas

The Union-Tribune made its case for downtown redevelopment this weekend featuring an editorial about, and a Q&A with, the outgoing chairman of CCDC, Fred Maas.

If that didn’t give you enough Maas, the man himself penned an op-ed of his own with a now common claim that visionaries like him are only held back by shortsighted “small-town undertakers.”

In the Q&A, Maas blasts the proposal supported now by five City Council members that the downtown redevelopment agency take over from the city’s ailing general fund, the duty to pay back bonds on the last expansion of the Convention Center — a move that would free up $9.2 million a year

“We run the risk of bankrupting ultimately over the next 20 years the redevelopment agency. This is not that different from underfunding pensions or from granting benefits without a way to pay for them by raiding our coffers to pay for things that were never contemplated.”

Moral: If you don’t like something that’s happening in the city, compare it to the pension system! But question: Aren’t redevelopment efforts eventually supposed to run out of money?

The new City Council president is considering your thoughts on those questions and others as he proposes a new ad hoc committee for redevelopment. And he has set up an email address to collect them: budgetandfinance@sandiego.gov.

Snow? Ha!

The U-T drew a direct line from the major snowfall and incredible collapse of the roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis to the Chargers search for a new stadium (did you see the video of the roof collapse?). Presumably, this adds urgency to the stadium debate there — the Minnesota Vikings are often mentioned in the same breath as the Chargers as possible teams that could relocate to Los Angeles. 

Back in San Diego, it was a pretty nice day at the stadium yesterday, as Sam Hodgson’s photos prove

No Snow in LA Either

There’s more on this to contemplate: A story in the OC Register highlights the battle between two competing stadium proposals in the LA area and, in particular, John Semcken, who represents billionaire Ed Roski and his push to build a stadium in the city of Industry. It makes an interesting point: “Semcken said his group was confident of attracting an NFL team to the City of Industry before Goodell placed a ban on franchises moving until a Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached between NFL owners and the NFL Players Association.”

That’s right. Remember, the NFL might not even play football next year if that labor strife heats up.

Finally, yet another commenter makes the point that LA is more valuable to the NFL for now without a football team.

A Family Disagreement with Statewide Implications

• In education today, we have a story up featuring a young Ramona woman who is criticizing her mother for how she home-schools her siblings and has turned it into a public cause.

Emily Alpert summarizes what the angry daughter found: “Unlike several other states, California imposes no tests to check how home-schoolers are faring. It does not examine student work or ask teachers to vouch for how home-schoolers are doing. And parents don’t have to show the state their lessons.”

A Sick Planet

• Two scientists at Scripps Institute of Oceanography are following their colleague Richard Sommerville’s call for new emphasis on educating the public about climate change with this editorial in the Los Angeles Times attempting to push oceans to the forefront of climate change talks.

“Our stubborn addiction to burning coal, oil and natural gas is changing not only the composition of the atmosphere but the composition of the ocean as well,” they write.

Speaking of the ocean, many people are working to keep plastic bags out of it. KPBS profiles the now region-wide effort to celebrate “A Day Without a Bag.”

• KPBS has also begun posting its long investigation of the whooping cough “epidemic” spreading here and elsewhere. Thursday it will air its television special “When Immunity Fails: The Whooping Cough Epidemic.”

Sulking in San Diego

• Last week, we mentioned a video provoking guffaws across San Diego’s political twitterati the last few days. It portrays San Diego as an insecure teenage girl uncomfortable that “the boys” keep making fun of her big pension. It’s clearly trying to chide the media for begin so negative while making the case that we shouldn’t worry so much about the city’s problems, and we should support a new stadium and other projects championed by downtown redevelopment officials and the mayor.

As the U-T summarized, nobody wants to take credit for the flick. 

I actually agree with another anonymous commenter, though, who said that the city is better represented by the mother figure in the video — always trying to convince people who are worried here that everything is fantastic. And she does that, even though she regularly admits (even trumpets) how bad things are going to get if we don’t deal with our big pension.

You can contact me directly at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!): twitter.com/vosdscott.

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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