News of the death of San Diego’s Hall of Fame baseball legend Tony Gwynn provoked reflections all around the country Tuesday. The mayor ordered city flags lowered and a viewing of the World Cup soccer match at Petco Park was canceled to handled those who wanted to pay their respects.
We compiled five ways Gwynn left his mark on baseball and San Diego. Among other things, Gwynn was a college basketball star here, was the only hitter to befuddle a top pitcher, and had a quick wit.
Bill Center, the former U-T Padres writer, who now works for the Padres, put together one of the most moving remembrances. And you might like the piece by New York Times baseball writer Tyler Kepner, who weaved stories of Gwynn’s extraordinary work ethic.
ESPN’s Tom Friend said the pressure Gwynn put on himself led to an addiction to chewing tobacco, which Gwynn believed caused the rare salivary gland cancer he developed. The U-T explained the disease here, and quoted a doctor who said no researcher has proven that it is associated with tobacco use.
• The LA Times notes that Gwynn stayed here and succeeded even though he would make a smaller salary in a smaller market. “It’s rare, and becoming rarer, that one man is so identified with a franchise and a city as Tony is with San Diego and the Padres,” columnist George Will told the LA Times, noting how free agency has changed the links between cities and players.
• Gwynn’s son Tony Jr., an outfielder with the Philadelphia Phillies, tweeted: “Today I lost my Dad, my best friend and my mentor. I’m gonna miss u so much pops. I’m gonna do everything in my power to continue to make U proud!”
Explaining Last Week’s SD Schools Teacher Shuffle Strife
Last week, San Diego Unified teachers raised their Defcon level to “Freak Out” as the district communicated that each school would need to trim one teacher. Furious teachers at a board meeting made comparisons to the “Hunger Games.”
But it’s too late to lay off teachers this year. So what exactly is going on? Lisa Halverstadt explains.
To make payroll as it handles chronic deficits, the district persuaded hundreds of senior teachers to retire early. The room they free up needs to be filled with younger, lower-paid new hires, but the superintendent wants schools to fill some of those spots with qualified teachers who might be doing other things on campuses, like helping English-language learners. That could mean fewer services in many schools.
Proposed Minimum Wage Gets Trimmed
So much for that proposed $13.09 minimum wage. Council President Todd Gloria announced yesterday that he’ll push to boost the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour over the next three years. Gloria said the $13.09 was too much, too fast and he credited Harry Schwartz, the owner of Downtown Ace Hardware, with coming up with the compromise proposal. Schwartz first wrote a commentary for us and then became a face of the opposition.
But Schwartz was a lonely defector. The revised proposal immediately ran into a buzzsaw of opposition from a new group called the “San Diego Small Business Coalition.”
It’s not clear whether the council will approve the minimum wage or let voters make the call. Either strategy is dicey: Opponents could push for a referendum if the council does it. Or the issue could go to the ballot in November and risk being killed by voters. Non-presidential-year elections like this one tend to be more conservative-leaning in San Diego.
For Mayor, Pressure on Streets from Within
A group of Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s own pals are lobbying him to do much more about the city’s shoddy roads.
We talked to six of the eight people who got together to advise Faulconer. They said he needs to spend more money on streets and sidewalks than he’s planning.
Quick News Hits
• USC might acquire Scripps Research Institute. (U-T)
• A sailing blog deconstructs San Diego’s plan to lure the America’s Cup with one of the plan’s main boosters.
• The San Diego Foundation, our landlord, announced that B.H. Kim was stepping down from his position as leader of the Center for Civic Engagement. Emily Young will replace him until the Foundation picks its new CEO in place of retiring CEO Bob Kelly.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.