In 2007, as San Diego weighed banning alcohol from its beaches, the city’s top cop warned that crime would move inland and be harder for police to monitor.

“The group that wants to drink and party will go somewhere else,” Police Chief Bill Lansdowne said then. “On the beach there are no windows to break or fires to start. It’s pretty easy to manage.”

Lansdowne opposed the ban at the time. The City Council and a majority of voters supported it.

But years later, with the ban in effect, police reports back up Lansdowne’s warning. Alcohol-related crime actually fell in beach neighborhoods and climbed in the rest of the city.

That story, which we reported in depth last year, exemplifies a new project we’re undertaking in the Fact Check Blog. We want to reexamine big warnings and promises from past debates and figure out whether they ever came true.

We already have a few battles in mind: a failed initiative to move the city’s main airport, the construction of Petco Park, past school district bonds and a 2006 ballot initiative that allowed the city to put public services up for bid.

We also want to look at long-standing public discussions like the Chargers’ push for a new stadium. What warnings and promises have been made since 2003, when the team first expressed interest in leaving Qualcomm Stadium?

We plan to scour news archives, public documents and our own memories to identify and Fact Check some of the biggest claims. But we also need your suggestions and insight.

Which debates we should add to our list? Which warnings or promises stand out in your memory? Do you already know if they came true or not?

Please add your thoughts in the comments section below or email me directly. Please also share this story with anyone who may want to join us in this trip down memory lane. It should be fun!

Keegan Kyle is a news reporter for Voice of San Diego. He writes about local government, creates infographics and handles the Fact Check Blog. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at or 619.550.5668. You can also find him on Twitter (@keegankyle) and Facebook.

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