With momentum growing for a professional football stadium in Los Angeles, San Diego might just have real competition for the first time in the Chargers nearly decade-long stadium search.

We wanted to know: What do the mayoral candidates think about public assistance for a new stadium here?

Our survey was revealing: Carl DeMaio said he’d cap the contribution at what the city is currently spending on hosting the team (the city currently loses millions of dollars a year operating the stadium), Nathan Fletcher said he’d consider using public redevelopment money (last year he worked hard to ensure that redevelopment money was available in the long-term), Bonnie Dumanis wouldn’t choose one of our multiple choice answers (not even “None of the above”), and Bob Filner still won’t participate in our surveys because he said issues are too complicated to be summarized in a four-sentence response (it’s an insult, he said).

The lesser-known candidates offered their ideas, too, including selling the Qualcomm Stadium land, using the pension fund and focusing our energies on building a cardboard recycling plant instead.  

The implications for the next mayor could be important. If all goes as planned, a stadium financing plan would go before voters in 2012, coinciding with the mayoral election. And the next mayor could be the third in the long slog for a financing plan.

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We’ll regularly be surveying the candidates on important local issues from here until Election Day. What should we ask them about next? Let me know. And join me in welcoming our visiting international fellow, Lamii Kpargoi, who’s working at VOSD for the next four months and will be leading this effort.

Jobs, Groceries and Growth

• The local job market strengthened again in July, says our Rich Toscano. And he’s got the charts to prove it. Employment grew by 1.6 percent year-over-year, as we added more than 20,000 jobs. Says Toscano: “the local job recovery has picked up steam of late but still has a long way to go before that prior peak is reached.”

• The county Board of Supervisors is trying to goose development in the backcountry: Its continuing to allow developers to pay their fees after their projects are built. (North County Times) The fees, which cover the impacts on transportation, parks and sewers, are typically charged up front.

• Meanwhile, the Union-Tribune wonders if big grocers could weather a second strike in a decade, especially with the emergence of places like Fresh and Easy and the grocery focus of Walmart and Target.

Shake-Up at Nonprofit with Big Plans

The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation has big plans for southeastern San Diego. It owns more than 60 acres of land there, is spearheading the redevelopment around the intersection of Euclid and Market, and is in talks with Walmart.

It’s going to be doing all of that now without its two top leaders. Husband and wife team Jennifer Vanica and Ron Cummings abruptly left last week and there’s been little explanation why. Vanica has led the organization since its inception in the mid-1990s. 

“Under their leadership, Jacobs started by working mostly behind the scenes to improve the city’s poor southeastern neighborhoods,” neighborhoods reporter Adrian Florido writes. “It eventually became a major developer and landowner now coordinating the community’s physical revitalization.”

What ‘The Watchdog’ Got a Whiff Of

The founding principal of Point Loma’s Explorer Elementary Charter School racked up thousands of dollars in expenses for meals, gifts and even dog treats, according to the Union-Tribune.

Local Boy Gets Hungry, Gets Show

We’ve got a budding celebrity on our hands in San Diego: local writer Troy Johnson has his own show, called “Crave,” on the Food Network. It debuts tonight and, if you watch Food Network for more than a couple of minutes, you’re bound to see the commercial — which includes him being threatened by a rather imposing chef after suggesting a recipe change.

For the show, Johnsoncriss-crosses the country in search of the roots of America’s iconic foods. 

“So my idea was to tell the story of America’s favorite foods —- the major historic and scientific moments of a food’s life that made it into an American institution,” he tells the North County Times. “We’re telling the biography of food with my somewhat twisted, semi-unintelligible sense of humor.”

I also recommend following him on Twitter (@T_R0Y) for fun and for local food news.

Enter the Idea Tournament!

We have more than 40 organizations, politicians and penguins who have signed up for booths at Politifest 2011. The mayoral candidates are prepping for the debate. The beer is being brewed, the food trucks will be there, the kids area is coming together.

But it’s no secret Scott Lewis is most excited about his Idea Tournament. On Friday, he named the three judges for the tournament and gave out the specifics. It’s simple: Do you have an idea that would make the San Diego region a better place? If yes, sign up here. If the judges promote you to the final round, the whole crowd at Politifest will vote on your idea. The winner and his or her idea will be featured on the site and in San Diego Explained on NBC 7 San Diego.

Beach Back Open After Shark Sighting

Mission Beach reopened over the weekend following two shark sightings, according to this article I showed my wife to convince her to not be too scared about me going for a swim at La Jolla Cove yesterday.

I’m the editor of VOSD. You can reach me at andrew.donohue@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0526.

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