The folks trying to build a football stadium in Los Angeles have a big idea: They want the state legislature to help their dreams come true, and they’re in a last-minute scramble to make it happen. But these folks also have a big problem: up in Sacramento’s halls of power, as the Los Angeles Times puts it, “Nobody likes L.A.”
Not the environmentalists in the northern part of the state, the paper says. A lawyer for an environmental deal called it a “weak, last-minute, backroom deal.” The paper continues, “And not the lawmakers from more neighborly San Diego County, who worry that an L.A. football stadium would allow the City of Angels to poach their Chargers.”
In particular, state Senator Juan Vargas — who has his eyes on Congress — is miffed. “Why are we doing it for this one instance?” he asked. “Why not do it for a lot of projects that are large and will bring a lot of jobs? And why didn’t we get [the bill] earlier? Why wasn’t this done a month ago, two months ago, so people could get a chance to look at it?”
He adds: “Are they going to take the Chargers? I’d like to know that. It makes a bit of a difference.”
• The owner of the Dodgers apparently has been offered $1.2 billion to sell the team. (Bloomberg Businessweek).
Detectives Say Coronado Death Was Suicide
The woman who died at a Coronado mansion in July did indeed kill herself, sheriff’s investigators said yesterday. They even brought along a video reenactment showing how a person could bind her own hands. The woman’s family, however, refuses to accept the suicide verdict. (Union-Tribune)
Libraries are crucial — and free — parts of the community, said San Diego city librarian Deborah Barrow, who’s the subject of this weekend’s Q&A feature. Barrow, who grew up as a San Diego library user, said “our tradition is to provide access to everyone, to be the equalizer for the community, to provide for those who don’t have or those who do have but not to the level that they need.”
She also talks about the library’s role as a hangout for the homeless (she says the library doesn’t discriminate against those who use it), the value of the new downtown library (“There’s a cultural and social value to the library. It is a place that people go to gather”) and role of private funding (bring it on).
Testing a Test Score Claim
“For a sixth consecutive year, we had positive steady improvement across all grades, all subject areas,” said the San Diego schools superintendent in a TV interview. San Diego Fact Check finds the claim about test scores is only “barely true” since it misses some important context.
‘Antagonism Is So Boring’
An artist involved in this weekend’s ArtLabs (part of the contemporary art fair) doesn’t like the idea of people butting heads in her world. “Antagonism is so boring,” she says. “Artists have to stick together, venues need to support each other, to coordinate and communicate and cross promote. It is already happening to some extent, but we can do more.”
• Behind the Scene TV captures the making of an ArtLab exhibit that spells out the words “i once did something thoughtful” in flour on a hotel lawn downtown. Oh man, now people are going to start getting ideas about being nice.
Our photographer, Sam Hodgson, has asked each of the four major mayoral candidates a simple question: If they could be photographed in one place in San Diego, where would it be? He’s wrangled their answers and photographed them in spots of their choice. Stay tuned to his blog as he reveals the results throughout the coming week.
• Answer to yesterday’s quiz: the local city with the second highest percentage of same-sex couples in its population, according to the census is… (drum roll, please)… Lemon Grove.
The first person to guess the correct answer is Nick Norvell, who gets congratulations and an imaginary big glass of ice-cold lemonade.
No one correctly guessed the city with the lowest percentage of same-sex couples. My hint — that it’s distance-obsessed — was a reference to the famous Mile of Cars in… National City. (Take note, Gaypon. That’s the gay-oriented coupon business that’s heading to San Diego).
Trivia: Lemon Grove claims to have the “World’s Largest Lemon” — a big statue that’s about 10 feet wide. And here I thought the world’s largest lemon was the Buick land yacht I owned back in the ’80s.
What We Learned This Week:
• Mayoral Candidates Reject List of Chargers Options: District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Rep. Bob Filner, two leading mayoral candidates, flat-out refused to answer our multiple-choice quiz about how best to keep the Chargers in town with a new stadium. (Dumanis did say she’s against a tax increase; Filner doesn’t like our question format. A local reporter suggested we call our quizzes “3 Republicans and No Answer McGee.”)
The other two chose “none of the above” and offered their own possible solutions: a private-public partnership with a cap on the city’s funding (Councilman Carl DeMaio) and the use of redevelopment funds but no city general funds (Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher). In a change of pace, we also heard from several of the so-far-minor candidates.
• Dumanis Told to Get a Move On: CityBeat says mayoral candidate Dumanis needs to wake up and smell the campaign she’s already losing. “Does she even want to be the mayor? Her heart doesn’t seem to be in it,” the paper writes in an editorial.
Dumanis has indeed had a rough start, including a major waffle on the pension reform initiative (she’s now in favor) and a refusal to say how she voted on last year’s failed Prop. D, which would have raised taxes in return for City Hall reform. She also declined to give much of a response to our stadium quiz beyond saying she won’t support a tax increase: “I can’t comment further until I have a financing plan to review.”
• A New Political Bond: A new City Council district is born, and it’s bringing together gays and downtown business types.
• Starlight’s Long-Suffering Supporters: The benefactors of Balboa Park’s Starlight Amphitheater have been through a lot: extreme financial problems (including a bankruptcy) and other struggles. Now another bankruptcy looms.
Why have its fans stuck with it? “It’s been a magical place for them, an unrelenting magnet for huge sums of money and time and emotion,” Kelly Bennett writes.
The Coffee Collection (engaging stories to savor over a cup of joe):
Integrated Neighborhood, Segregated School: North Park is a fairly integrated neighborhood. One of its elementary schools, though, is hardly racially balanced. But don’t rush to blame educators. This story of resegregation is more complicated than that.
“More than half of the public school students who live in the North Park neighborhood around Jefferson Elementary don’t go there, and that doesn’t include many other families who choose private schools,” Emily Alpert reports. “Scores of other families from outside of the area go out of their way to get into Jefferson,” and many of them are Latino.
This means the school in the neighborhood — just a few blocks from the bustle of the gentrifying center of North Park — isn’t quite a neighborhood school. Its evolution raises questions about choice, integration and whether parents know how to make the best decisions about where their kids go to school.
Quote of the Week: “Gosh. A local arts group run into the ground by enthusiastic, well meaning, relatively clueless people. That’s a first.” — reader Joe Jones on the troubles facing Balboa Park’s Starlight Theater.