If you want to read just one story about the ongoing Sunroad debacle, here’s the one: A handy (and mercifully brief) explainer courtesy of VOSD land-use reporter Andrew Keatts.
He hits the basics — What happened? When is it legal for a developer to pay off the city in order to get what it wants? Does it matter that the mayor returned the money that the developer coughed up? And what kind of legal trouble could await everybody who’s involved in a seemingly sketchy pay-for-play deal?
If Sunroad debacle seems like deja vu, there’s a reason: We’ve been here before. In 2008, amid another land-use scandal with another mayor, we investigated Sunroad’s controversial leader: Aaron Feldman.
Fact Check TV also takes a closer look at how city officials handled the developer’s request for some extra space.
• Never mind the city attorney’s threat to boycott closed-door City Council meetings about legal affairs in a snit over the mayor’s eviction of a lawyer from a confab: Things have been smoothed over, the U-T reports.
Ban on Overnight Street Parking for RVs Passes
For many years, activists have been pushing for a ban in the city of San Diego, particularly in coastal neighborhoods, of overnight street parking for oversized vehicles. Some RVs have stayed parked for long periods of time, though the city already has a 72-hour limit. Owners of RVs pushed back wondering why they can’t park their vehicles. But the ban’s supporters finally won.
The coastal neighborhoods will have to wait for Coastal Commission approval before it is implemented.
‘First Lady’ Breaks Off Relationship with Mayor
Mayor Filner no longer has a fiancee nor a “First Lady.” Bronwyn Ingram, who’d been poised to be one of the most prominent mayoral spouses in San Diego’s history, sent a message to supporters yesterday saying that their relationship is history, and it was her call.
CityBeat has a copy of the letter, which says in part: “I have broken off my engagement to Bob Filner and ended our relationship. I have struggled with this decision as I really wanted to see the community projects we had initiated with such enthusiasm come to fruition.”
Why is the mayor’s personal life relevant? Because he made Ingram such a big part of his public life, touting her as the city’s “First Lady.” She was featured at the inauguration and became a high-profile advocate and organizer for helping the homeless.
The U-T has a roundup of reactions, including some cheap shots from Filner foes.
• Filner disclosed his views about marriage to a gay publication in one of the most memorable moments of his mayoral campaign: “as a heterosexual person who’s been married, you can take quite a cynical view of marriage and wonder why would you want to — the last one took all my money; all my property. I mean if it doesn’t work out; then you’ve got to get divorced. As someone who’s been divorced a couple of times — and I don’t mean to make light of it — but I took it as … like why would you want this? I didn’t (consider) it deeply enough.”
Cold as Ice: Padres Slump, Olympic Hopes Derided
So much for the good times, the nice times, the they-coulda-been-a-contender times. The Padres have slumped big-time after a spurt of high-quality ballplaying.
VOSD sports blogger John Gennaro, fresh from taking time to watch American sports in Paris (mon dieu!), bemoans the poor performance in a new column. Nine losses in a row, he writes, making the Padres “the coldest team in baseball.”
“Hopefully the All-Star break gives them enough time to get healthy and back to their previous form so that San Diego can make a late-season run at [manager Bud Black’s] first playoff appearance. If they can’t, it may cost Black his job.”
• Also in sports, the Deadspin blog takes a look at Olympic hopes in an unlikely community.
Are they talking about San Diego-Tijuana? Nope. (For more about that prospect, check the hopeful spin in our story from last week.) The community in question is Tulsa. Yes, the city in Oklahoma. It’s “adorably chasing the 2024 Summer Olympics,” says the site, which is rooting for the Oklahoma city. “Never mind that it doesn’t have the population base, public transit, or hotel space. It’d be amazing.”
The site also offers a brutal take on who benefits from the Olympics. (Hint: likely not you.)
Quick News Hits
• Trouble brewing in Baja election: Yesterday we reported that the conservative party PAN in Mexico had appeared to have held the governor’s office in Sundays election. But the vote count was mysteriously halted and, after that, “Some Mexicans smelled a rat” wrote the LA Times.
• The U-T looks into the city’s out-of-state outsourcing of some of the services need to move the downtown library to its new location.
• “Doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilized nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals,” reports the Center for Investigative Reporting.
• The Center for Investigative Reporting also finds that the state prison system is lifting rules that forbid certain inmates at some prisons — not South County’s Donovan prison — from sending photographs of themselves to loved ones outside.
The story says the prison system worried that gangs would use the photos as calling cards, but a former official rejects that argument: “I think we were wrong, and I think (that) to this day. How right is it to have an offender who is behaving … (and) to not be able to take a photo to send to his loved ones for 20 years?”
• Talk about getting off track.
First, a former railroad clerk allegedly went on disability, gathering $664,000 in payments from multiple companies, but still found time to travel around the country and the Caribbean. Second, she skipped bail after being accused of ripping off the disability people. Third, she reportedly doubled down on her misbehavior by taunting law enforcement on Twitter: “Catch me if you can.”
But there’s a twist! That catch-me tweet may have been fake, the U-T reported yesterday evening. Never mind that journalists assumed it was real.
Yikes. It just goes to you show that it’s wise to follow the old journalism adage: If your mother tweets she loves you, check it out.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.