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City leaders want to get $520 million together to expand the convention center, but four big obstacles stand in their way, writes our Scott Lewis in the second of 12 posts about stories to follow in 2012.
The Chargers are one potential barrier since they like the idea of what we’ve catchingly called a convadium — a convention center/stadium combo. (Although the idea might be in a coma: See below). The law could be a hindrance too, as could labor and state coastal officials.
And then there’s the bubble — maybe even glut — of convention center space being built around the country. “How long can the bubble in convention centers grow?” Lewis asks.
• If you prefer not to read, you can always check out our video explainer of the convention center plan through San Diego Explained.
• City leaders once eyed redevelopment dollars for both a football stadium and convention center. With that program’s demise, the city is trying to figure out how to unravel it, reports KPBS. One interesting note: The station quotes the city’s chief operating officer as saying the loss of redevelopment won’t affect the city’s day-to-day operating fund negatively. Councilman Carl DeMaio claimed in a recent press release that the move would cost the fund that pays for parks, libraries and police $15 million or more.
• The Chargers announced today that they’re sticking around for the 2012-2013 season, the U-T reports. No surprise there.
But there’s this, the U-T says: Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani “said Monday that the team would table its plan for a stadium that doubles as convention center space in hopes of finding common ground. He said the team’s proposal could be revived if Sanders’ convention center expansion falters.”
There’s more in a Chargers Q&A on its website — way to interview yourself, folks! — about the future of a new football stadium. Fabiani writes that it’s too soon to say whether a ballot measure will appear before voters this year.
“… if for some reason we miss the November ballot deadline, we need to be ready to consider alternatives, such as a special election in the Spring of 2013 – right after the Chargers win the Super Bowl!”
That would be a first.
By the way, a special election would cost the city a bundle.
In Commentary, Schools, of Course
Last week, we told you about his tweets on the subject, but San Diego city schools trustee Scott Barnett has penned a longer response to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ decision to propose major reforms to the school system as part of her campaign for mayor.
“Mayoral candidates who don’t opine on the state funding aspect of schools are blowing smoke up you know where,” he writes after talking about how much he welcomes the discussion.
Not that everything would be OK with more money: “… I almost daily also become aware of appalling examples of dysfunction and inefficiency in this century-old institution.”
Read the rest and the responses.
• Readers are weighing in thoughtfully on Will Carless’ conclusions about San Diego Unified School Districts great special education transition.
• Member Omar Passons has a passionate plea to you: Think about the city’s inner workings. No, not the men and women and machinations at City Hall. Think about the buildings, pipes, roads and other vital components that are falling apart.
“Our city is like a ’67 Mustang with a phenomenal paint job, custom wheels and a high-end sound system, but that hasn’t had an oil change, a tune-up or any engine work since it was purchased,” he writes.
It might not be so bad. The New York Times says L.A.’s roads are worse.
Ex-Councilman Will Someday Be an Ex-Con
“Former San Diego Councilman Ralph Inzunza lost his final bid to reverse his conviction on political corruption charges and now faces serving the 21-month prison sentence he received more than six years ago,” the U-T reports.
Snapdragon Flap Keeps Snapping
The Snapdragon saga continues to distract City Hall insiders and journalists who are intrigued by how the mayor ignored the city attorney (You can do that? Seems so!) and allowed the Qualcomm company to temporarily change the name of Qualcomm stadium last month. The move promoted a new product called Snapdragon.
We reached out to an advertising guru who says the name change was worth about $125,000 in exposure on national TV.
“Even if Qualcomm deserved to receive the name change for virtually no cost, it shouldn’t have been the mayor’s decision,” our Liam Dillon reports. “Goldsmith said explicitly that both his office and the City Council needed to sign off on a change like this. Neither did.”
On Twitter, CityBeat’s Dave Rolland wondered what would have happened if Qualcomm got mad and wanted to change the name to “Go [expletive verb deleted… pretend it’s something like “festoon”] Yourself San Diego Stadium.”
My response on Twitter: that would be awesome!
More seriously, I wondered whether anyone has the standing to actually sue over this instead of, say, get miffed on Twitter.
Perhaps the mayor thinks he legally has the power to make the decision he did. Or perhaps he did it because no one could stop him.
• The latest edition of VOSD Radio examines the Snapdragon scandal-ette and the latest talk about a new stadium. Also, listen for why we gave Bonnie Dumanis her first Hero of the Week award. It’s truly a tremendous honor!
Rogue Cop’s First Accuser Speaks to Media
We’re now hearing from the first woman to accuse a now-convicted ex-cop of sexual assault on the job.
The woman, who’s speaking anonymously, tells NBC 7 San Diego that prosecutors failed to determine that she was a credible witness because of a lack of evidence of the assault. The woman says the cops failed to take evidence the night of the incident; the police department backs up its investigation and says she was “agitated and belligerent.”
Prosecutors declined to go after the officer, Anthony Arevalos, and he went back on duty. Later, women made a string of sexual assault allegations against Arevalos, who was ultimately convicted.
For more about the incident in question, read our story here.
Luncheon Meat and Politics
The fact that we just gave out the Whopper of the Year award made me especially attuned to the introduction of a new term to the political lexicon: “pious baloney.” (Newt Gingrich accused Mitt Romney of slinging it during Sunday’s GOP presidential debate).
As Slate reporter John Dickerson puts it, “Sometimes politics requires a dash of pious baloney during negotiations, public ceremonies, and other times that call for mild prevarication. Mostly, though, it’s regrettable and we’d all like to see less of it.
“Then there is the pious baloney that points to a deep character flaw. It is that posture you take easily, frequently, and dishonestly on all manner of issues because you have no core and you’re constantly re-characterizing your motivations and positions.”
As our own local political season begins, let us know when you hear any pious baloney, even if it comes from journalists like us. (If I get accused, look for me in the corner with my fingers in my ears, chanting “la-la-la can’t HEAR you.”)
If you find some, we’ll be ready with mayonnaise, mustard and a big sign that says “BS.” That means, of course, “baloney sandwich.” (We’re a family news site. As my mom would say, get your mind out of the gutter!)