If you follow politics, you’ve probably heard or seen Cory Briggs, a local attorney who’s been just about everywhere over the past year, stalling big projects and trying to eject Mayor Bob Filner. And if you’re in politics, you’ve probably wasted a few moments wishing he’d move somewhere else, like Guam. Or Mars.
But like the tides, Briggs keeps coming back. An environment-minded activist who wins money when he settles big environmental suits, Briggs says he stands for the little guy against big developments (although who the little guy is in the suits he files is often hard to decipher) and drives mayors and developers to distraction.
“Holy Christ,” said the mayor of a San Bernardino County city who’s tangled with you-know-who. “Oh yeah, do I know Cory Briggs. How do I do this diplomatically and not get sued?” He adds: “If you want to build a birdhouse in Chino, Cory Briggs is coming after you.”
In a new profile, VOSD reporter Liam Dillon digs deeply into the legend of Briggs: “Solar panels gleam from the roofs of Wal-Marts and hundreds of new trees have been planted because of his lawsuits. It just so happens that the suits also have been good for his business.”
We also compiled a list of top Briggs lawsuits in San Diego, most of which aren’t yet resolved. Among other things, he’s gone after the Convention Center expansion, a plan to borrow money to fix streets and a new tax on hotel guests.
Housing’s Biggest Boom Since Before Bust
“The San Diego housing market has achieved a somewhat troubling milestone: Homes are now more expensive than they’ve been at any recent time outside of the prior decade’s enormous bubble,” VOSD real-estate guru Rich Toscano writes in a new post. Houses are expensive, he writes, but “not crazy mid-2000s bubble expensive.”
A Guiding Hand for College Students
In a new story, we drop by Chula Vista and take a look at South Bay Community Services’ Promise Neighborhood Academic Advocate program, which provides support to local college students with an eye on helping them avoid dropping out in their freshman year.
Some college students don’t get enough preparation for college during high school and can’t handle the academic workload. The Academic Advocate provides mentors who keep “prepping” the students even after high school.
VOSD Radio: Dining and the Minimum Wage
The VOSD Radio Show and Expanded Podcast features guest Matt Gordon, a local restaurant owner who believes a big boost in the minimum wage will spell big trouble for his business. You can read a round-up of the show and listen in here.
• Our analysis about how upscale restaurants are reacting to the minimum wage debate was the second-most popular article on our site this week. The No. 1 story remains our February look at the “Blackfish” documentary and SeaWorld. Check the whole Top 10 Most Popular Story list here.
Quick News Hits
• We take a look at 10 planned parks in the city that are on the drawing board but could be more than a decade away from reality.
• In Cleveland, the Plain Dealer newspaper notes that native Shelley Zimmerman is now police chief here: “She seeks to motivate like a coach. She speaks in sports analogies. And her office is full of memorabilia from her favorite sports teams: The Ohio State University Buckeyes and any Cleveland professional team.”
Tidbit: Zimmerman’s brother is a city councilman and vice mayor in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights.
• The U-T looks at state legislation in the works (or out of the running) with a focus on local Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.
• Tweets may be very short (just 140 characters tops), but some of them stay with you. Or at least the topics of the tweets stay with you.
Case in point, this one from NBC San Diego’s Gene Cubbison Monday about something that just won’t leave us alone: “Prodigal whale carcass a smelly sightseeing spectacle on Border Field beach.”
Prodigal Whale Carcass, coincidentally, is the name of my new punk band.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president-elect of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.