On Monday, the City Council agreed to allocate $4 billion on redevelopment projects in an attempt to keep the money away from a governor who’s itching to kill the state’s urban-renewal agencies. That’s four times as much as any other city in the state has gone after.

The San Diego Unified School District is watching with great interest and a big request: $64 million, please. With everyone eyeing the redevelopment bounty, it wants its share too.

City Hall reporter Liam Dillon writes that the district’s bid highlights the “rapaciousness” of government bodies that want — need, must have, demand — the previously untouchable redevelopment cash. (Dillon must have gotten a raise to be able to afford that $10 word.)

Meanwhile, the district now has a new opinion about how it can spend money passed through downtown redevelopment to schools: it can, it thinks, use the dough to lessen layoffs and not just throw it at buildings and repairs downtown.

That raises the question: If money previously dedicated to thinks like the construction of the downtown library can be used to avoid teacher layoffs, should it be?

The 49ers, a Mermaid Bar and Redevelopment

While the names and locations are different, a Bay Area newspaper columnist’s arguments against redevelopment sound mighty similar to those spouted by critics in our neck of the woods.

We’ve got unlikely cities — posh Coronado and upscale Solana Beach — with redevelopment agencies designed to blot out urban blight. So does NoCal: Walnut Creek, Danville and Lafayette, whose very name oozes money.

We’ve got a football team that covets a new stadium built with redevelopment dough. They’ve got the San Francisco 49ers, who are doing the same thing. “Maybe cutbacks and reforms can reinvent redevelopment,” writes Tom Barnidge. “But there’s no way California should give $40 million to the 49ers. Not until they get a quarterback, anyway.”

A columnist for the Los Angeles Times takes aim at redevelopment too, noting that it helped  build a “mermaid bar” in Sacramento. There are no actual mermaids (they’d probably live forever and demand outrageous pensions) but there is a nightclub aquarium said to be the biggest in the world.

A redevelopment-funded mermaid bar? This kind of negative press that could sink redevelopment for good. People might forget that it has a cool name: it’s called Dive Bar.

Sick Leave Policy Might Make You Sick

As the Watchdog Institute recently reported, the county has a mighty generous sick-day policy for managers. A U-T survey of 39 employers puts that policy into question: the county policy’s generosity, it turns out, is extremely unusual.

A $10 Million Measles Outbreak?

In 2008, an outbreak of measles hit the county and struck a dozen students. Dozens of unvaccinated and exposed kids stayed home during a voluntary quarantine. Did the whole outbreak cost a startling $10 million, as a journalist writes?

Nope. As he acknowledged when we contacted him, the journalist bungled his calculations. (To his credit, he’s published a correction online.) The outbreak actually cost an estimated $179,000, including expenses for local businesses that lost money when the kids stayed home.

One Beach, Two Countries

We followup on our story about the travails of iconic Friendship Park, which hugs the border at the southeastern corner of the United States, with a look at a line in the sand. A commenter wonders if people from the United States and Mexico — potentially stranded on their sides of the border by the law or inconvenience — can still meet at the point where the countries come together. Meetings sometimes still happen between the posts that line the beach, but the Border Patrol frowns on them.

Voices on Beach Booze, 401(k)s and Blight

Our Voices column valiantly scans the web for scintillating comments about current affairs and finds a bunch about topics like drinking on the shore (frat boys and a “nanny state” are mentioned), 401(k) retirement plans (it’s a bit hazy, but I vaguely remember having one of those sometime during the Pleistocene era) and the supposed sorry state of Liberty Station.         

LA’s Stadium, Veterans and Public Art:

Fact Check TV examines claims about Iraq/Afghanistan veterans in San Diego and the cost of a stadium in Los Angeles, while Behind the Scene TV explores public art for the new downtown library. 

Wash His Mouth Out with a Prosecution

A homeless man went up before the Carlsbad City Council to give local leaders a piece of his mind using what the U-T columnist Logan Jenkins calls “rough language.”

Carlsbad’s mayor hadn’t gone ballistic over comments from an earlier speaker who politely accused the president of the United States of not being born in the U.S. and warned the council would be engaged in treason if it didn’t act. But the naughty word from another guy was too much, it seems, and his honor called officers in.

The homeless man is now facing three charges, and the DA is prosecuting him on the council-related charge, an infraction. Jenkins writes: “in my etiquette book, it’s un-American to muzzle him, especially when more loathsome, if smoother, speech slides through like rancid butter.”

Jenkins misses the good news: Crime rates must be definitely going down if prosecutors have time to go after the rebelliously rude. (Um, when’s the next train out of town?)

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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

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