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Attempts to raise San Diego’s so-called linkage fee — a charge on nonresidential development to help subsidize low-cost housing — have been political losers in recent years.
But that might change soon thanks to some newer City Council members who seem to support a fee hike.
The business community has fought all moves to raise the fee, saying doing so would kill jobs and scare away developers.
Convention Center Expansion Rebuked
The California Coastal Commission staff panned the city’s plans to expand the Convention Center. The move was not unexpected but it means supporters of the project will need to pull off a political feat and persuade the commissioners to overrule their own staffers at an Oct. 10 meeting.
Here’s the Coastal Commission staff report. Money quote:
“Specifically, constructing the 100-foot high, 1,000 foot long expanded SDCC building only 35 feet from the existing public promenade, 70 feet from the water’s edge, will significantly diminish the spacious, open feel of the existing public accessway, and will contribute to the sense that the shoreline is part of the Convention Center.”
Here’s the U-T’s summary. Here’s interim Mayor Todd Gloria’s full statement.
Finally, here’s Lisa Halverstadt’s recent five things to know about the project list, which generated a big discussion in the comments.
The Anti-Fletcher Partnership
David Alvarez is a Democrat; Kevin Faulconer is a Republican. But they united in their opposition to Nathan Fletcher in a mayoral debate Friday by praising each other and defending their work on the City Council from Fletcher’s criticisms.
Streets’ Big Price Tag
Lisa Halverstadt examined Nathan Fletcher’s recent proposal to spend at least $150 million a year to improve city streets and sidewalks. That’s more than the city set aside for such projects this year — but it plans to spend more starting next year. So would Fletcher go beyond $150 million to match what’s already in the works? He promises more details soon.
Big Decision on Ambulances Looms
It could be one of the biggest decisions Todd Gloria makes during his brief stint as acting mayor: Will the city go with a plan for ambulance services that’s already been developed, or start all over?
A new ambulance contract could address specifics like how many responders should show up to emergency calls and how quickly they should get there. But the city must also confront another big question: Should a private company respond to emergencies, or should the city Fire/Rescue Department take over?
What We Learned This Week
Mickey Kasparian thinks it’s too soon for a Mayor Fletcher: That’s why the labor leader went from welcoming Nathan Fletcher into the Democratic Party to lobbying other candidates to jump in the race.
Candidates will make private comms public: All five of the city’s top mayoral candidates have pledged to make their emails and text messages related to city business public record, even if they come from private accounts or cell phones.
The San Diego Bay clean-up is a mess: The mandated start date for the city to start dredging up the muck from the floor of San Diego Bay came and went last week. It turns out the various agencies tasked with the clean-up are locked in a battle over who should pay what.
David Alvarez wrote a Prop. B alternative: Alvarez reminded everyone at a debate this week that he proposed five-year labor deals before Prop. B passed. That’s true – but that’s not to say he came up with the idea, Lisa Halverstadt wrote in a Fact Check: “There’s no evidence Alvarez would have proposed five-year labor agreements without pensionable pay increases if Prop. B hadn’t provided a roadmap for reform.”
• Alvarez’s pension proposal was also on our list of five things the councilman has done so far in his relatively short career.
Quick News Hits
• A $795,000 settlement reached Friday is the latest consequence for the city as it continues to grapple with crimes committed by former San Diego Police Officer Anthony Arevalos. The U-T has more coverage of the settlement.
• Business Insider rounds up the 11 hottest start-up companies in San Diego – companies that are doing everything from battling drug shortages to boosting eco-friendly clothing.
• A good read for the candidates vying to be San Diego’s mayor, and everyone else: The Atlantic Cities delves into the power of mayorships and even decides “cities might be the agents of global change.”
Quote of the Week
“Avoiding the press, coming up with the excuse, it caused a lot of turmoil and great deal of distress on me over those months. And I certainly take full responsibility for that.” — Donna Frye, on crafting a cover story for her exit from the mayor’s office.