The Morning Report
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Yesterday brought stunning news: The San Diego Opera, one of the largest opera companies in the country, will fold within months. The decision, the U-T reports, came in a 33-1 vote by the opera’s directors.
In an interview with VOSD, CEO Ian Campbell tells us that many supporters were simply dying off, a problem he believes will face other cultural organizations.
Opera America, the U-T says, ranks the San Diego Opera as the 10th largest in the country. As the story notes, other major opera companies have closed shop in recent years.
A former Opera (and VOSD) board member says operas should look to groups like New York’s Loft Opera, a lean experimental group that appeals to younger audiences.
Police Body Cameras Fade to Black
Earlier this year, former Police Chief William Lansdowne made a big push for body cameras on police officers. After concerns about racial profiling and police misconduct started swirling, Lansdowne billed the cameras as a solution to ease everyone’s minds: “What the camera does is a visual and verbal recording of contacts between the Police Department,” he said in January. “Everybody gets to look at them and find out if they’re acting correctly and properly. It protects the officers as well as the citizens.”
Fast-forward to today, and at least two officers wearing cameras have been at the scene of two shootings. But the public won’t get to see any footage from those incidents, because they’re part of ongoing investigations. The department gave no indication as to when the footage would become public, if ever.
“That raises a significant question: How useful could the cameras be at reassuring the community about serious police incidents when no one’s allowed to see what they capture?” Liam Dillon writes.
He Won’t Turn Off His Red Light
You may remember attorney Cory Briggs from his role in the effort to push Mayor Bob Filner out of office as sexual harassment allegations became public.
He currently has a whole bunch of battles on his hands, including a fight to stop the convention center expansion. And now, as we report in a new story, he’s “threatening to sue the city over its latest $120 million infrastructure loan, which is designed to repave roads, repair and design new fire stations, among other fixes. Briggs believes the loan must be approved in a public vote because it’s a long-term debt.”
Check our Readers Guide about the “mega-bond” for more.
• Briggs is a persistent thorn in the city’s side. He’s been fighting to expose public records too. In a tentative ruling, a judge doesn’t sound sympathetic to the city’s attempts to prevent Council President Todd Gloria from being forced to cough up city-business-related private emails and text messages. (Reader)
Shots Fired by School Trustee
Scott Barnett, the San Diego school board’s most outspoken voice, will soon step down because he’s not running again. But his mouth remains in motion. And how.
As we report in a new story, he’s ripping the school board’s president, Kevin Beiser, in starkly personal terms.
Rumble, Rumble, Is San Diego in Trouble?
L.A. got a sharp wake-up call on Monday morning when an earthquake hit the City of Angels. That got us to thinking: How are we doing here in terms of quake risk?
Sure, we haven’t had much seismic action in recorded history, and perhaps only one earthquake-related death. But as an earthquake expert and author of a new book about the San Andreas Fault tells me in a new Q-and-A, we shouldn’t rest easy.
The Rose Canyon Fault, he said, could spawn a quake in the range of magnitude 7. And, he says, a major quake elsewhere in the state could cut off water, oil, gas and communications.
Politics Roundup: Suspicions, Sidewalks & Smells
• “More than $240,000 worth of automotive batteries and other supplies paid for by San Diego taxpayers could not be located when the City Auditor’s Office investigated complaints about the Public Utilities Department,” the U-T reports. The auditor investigated after getting a tip through a hotline.
The cops have been notified.
• What’s that smell? Porta-Potties outside City Hall, NBC San Diego reports. They’re temporary but troublesome, it seems.
• Mayor Kevin Faulconer wants to divert federal funds toward sidewalk repairs and a new fire station, the U-T reports. Nonprofit groups would lose out on some funds.
Commentary: Repair the Team or Else!
In a snappily written VOSD commentary, David Marver, founder of a consumer advocacy group boycotting the Padres, bashes the team’s leadership for diverting attention from its low payrolls and horrible record.
Marver says, “it’s time to restore rooting for the Padres to win the World Series, not to win as a business.”
• VOSD sports blogger Beau Lynott is all over the Aztecs’ bid for basketball glory and the NCAA Tourney’s foray into San Diego.
Morning Report Scribe Gives Shop Talk
Never mind what you’ve heard: VOSD’s staffers and contributors don’t spend all their off time sitting around drinking craft beer while popping off on Twitter. In the past, several of us have served on the boards of national organizations that promote better journalism, including Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.
I’m the VP of a national organization of independent writers and took part in a Twitter interview (Twinterview?) this week with the fine folks at PR Newswire. I talked about copyright, contracts and writer rights. You can read a transcript of the interview here and see my smiling mug on PR Newswire’s Times Square billboard here.
Sadly, we never got to a question from VOSD’s Andrew Keatts: “Is it true that freelancers need to be coddled and reassured constantly because they have delicate egos?”
Huckster Propaganda! Our egos are fragile, not delicate. Sheesh!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.