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The Balboa Park Remodel Is Real: The City Council this week approved Irwin Jacobs’ plan to remake the western entrance of Balboa Park, removing cars from the Plaza de Panama, building a bypass off of Cabrillo Bridge and adding a parking garage. The decision has supporters eying an October date for breaking ground with the goal of finishing in time for the centennial celebrations. It has opponents preparing for a legal battle.
Three reads: our Reader’s Guide to understand the project, Kelly Bennett’s highlights from a passionate, colorful and marathon session of the City Council and her early breakdown of opponents’ legal arguments.
Not a Whole Lot, Actually, About Thousands of Dead Animals: Rob Davis discovered that the federal Wildlife Services has been killing thousands of animals throughout the county. That in and of itself wouldn’t be unusual; killing animals is the agency’s job. But we wanted to know why they were killing seemingly harmless ducks and beavers and even other animals like bobcats and mountain lions. Their response: get lost. Here’s what we’re looking for and what we’re planning on doing about it.
Bridgepoint Got Waylaid: The for-profit higher ed company has been a juggernaut, rising rapidly to become a major employer, philanthropist and political player across San Diego County. Its success has always looked tenuous: it relies heavily on student loans and aggressive recruiting, and its academic rigor and retention have been constantly questioned. A shoe dropped this week. Then it kicked the company in the backside: one of the organizations that give universities their credibility denied Bridgepoint its stamp of approval. That wasn’t good for the company’s stock.
Reads: our in-depth look at the company’s quick rise and enduring problems, the news of its failure this week and the U-T San Diego wondering whether the company will move jobs from the region.
Who Gets Hurt by a Really Short School Year: The big deal struck between teachers and the San Diego school district has a big catch: If tax increases on the November ballot fail, then the school year will be cut by an additional 14 days. The structure sets up a clear choice for voters here: approve taxes or deal with the consequences.
Reads: Will Carless on the San Diego strategy and other choices that could’ve been made instead, a look at who really gets impacted by a short school year (the neediest) and how unique San Diego is in making the direct tie between taxes and school days.
• Because of a 2010 death, trainers at SeaWorld no longer are allowed to be in the water with killer whales during performances. These incidents are the focus of a new book being released today, “Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity.”
Randy Dotinga talked with the book’s author for a Q&A, and they discussed the local history of killer whale attacks, the deadly 2010 attack and Shamu’s future.
• The steam generators that have forced the closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant “are the most troublesome in the country” and in worse condition than the plant operator has admitted. (KPBS)
• I got my fair share of criticism this week when I jumped into the conversation over one of our fact checks. Unfortunately, I didn’t make Dagny Salas’ list of five comments of the week. (Hmm, Dags, if you’re reading this, we need to talk.) But some other good ones did, including a good critique of our work.
• Our weekly roundup of news coming from the Speaks City Heights collaborative focuses on the impacts of a shorter school year to one refugee mother, a YMCA’s all-women-swim, the community’s big push for a skatepark, and more.
Video of the Week
The best yet of the Fourth of July mega-super-incredible explosion.
Quote of the Week from Inside the Video of the Week
“This is the best fireworks show ever.”
Numbers of the Week
Number of beavers killed by Wildlife Services in San Diego County since 2005.
Amount of damage, in dollars, reportedly exacted by beavers in San Diego County, according to Wildlife Services.
Quote of the Week I
“He’s worked long hours, and been subjected to some of the most vile and idiotic comments imaginable.”
— Mayor Jerry Sanders, on Irwin Jacobs, speaking to the City Council.
Quote of the Week II
“You do not want to be known as the council that voted to destroy Balboa Park.”
— Bruce Coons, lead opponent of the Balboa Park remodel, speaking to the City Council.
Disclosure: Irwin Jacobs is major supporter of Voice of San Diego.