The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
The campaign finance scandal got quite a bit wider yesterday as a new indictment brought 26 charges against the Mexican moneyman accused of illegally donating to local politicians. Our story pinpoints some of the most interesting details of the case against Jose Susumo Azano Matsura.
Among other things, the indictment brings the scandal closer to Rep. Juan Vargas by saying that Azano met with him in 2012. And the indictment could spell trouble for an unnamed “public official” who allegedly received $1,000 in exchange for classified and confidential information.
Meanwhile, we offer a glossary of scandal terms like “straw donor” and a run-down of who’s who in the mess.
And there’s a new mystery: What’s with “Betty Boo,” an alleged reference to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis? Do they mean Betty Boop or a British musician named Betty Boo?
Commentary: How Trolls Attack Women Via Diaper Bill
It’s hard to have a polite and respectful debate about a political issue if extremists on one or more sides get nasty online. Of course, that might be the goal of the trolls who haunt Twitter and online comment sections. Perhaps they want to make the discussion so wretched that no normal person would want to get involved or ever express an opinion.
This brings us to the focus of a new VOSD commentary by managing editor Sara Libby. She examines the online response to a local assemblywoman’s bid to use taxpayer money to buy diapers for poor families on welfare and a writer who raised the idea of worldwide government subsidies of feminine hygiene products.
As Libby shows, the trolls descended, unleashing “a torrent of disgusting, hateful reactions that seem appalled by some of the basic facts of what it means to be a woman…. the fact that we can’t even debate these ideas without devolving into cries of ‘Let the sluts fend for themselves!’ is pretty damn depressing.”
Department of Never-Ending City Hall Drama
• The Sunroad mess — the newer one, not the older one — is still unfolding in court. (Reader)
• The nation’s top critic of municipal overspending on convention centers is not impressed by the idea of expanding our own by combining the expansion with a stadium and separating it from the existing building. (This is the “convadium” plan).
“Studies show that convention attendees don’t want to walk from one building to another — even across the street,” he tells the Reader. “That’s why, when the establishment was pushing the expansion, the key words were ‘contiguous, contiguous, contiguous.’”
Sock It To Us
Some of us remember the old days when the San Diego Sockers indoor team was hot to trot. San Diegans are still “soccer-crazy,” says the Guardian, and love to watch games on the tube: “if San Diego isn’t No. 1 in the nation for the World Cup and other tournaments it’s No. 2 or 3. And for years, since long before the advent of the Premier League, San Diegans have been packing local pubs to watch English top-flight games.”
So how come we don’t have a Major League Soccer team? “No potential ownership group has yet stepped forward,” perhaps because there doesn’t seem to be any decent place for a team to play if the football stadium is too expensive to rent.
Culture Report: How the County Funds (and Doesn’t Fund) Arts
The weekly VOSD Culture Report spotlights coverage of the county’s strained relationship with local arts groups, which get funding through a process that has its critics.
Also in the Culture Report: “cut-can sculptures,” a Broadway-bound local production, a concert at the new Waterfront Park and the best places to dine with a view.
Quick News Hits
• A columnist at Bloomberg View bashes the county pension system, which funds retirements for county workers: “A pension plan is failing to save enough to meet its retirement obligations, and rather than save more, it ramps up leverage.”
The columnist predicts the county pension fund will “blow up” or “the townsfolk figure out how much risk is being put on their shoulders, and fires everyone involved, from the pension board to the advisers to anyone who voted for these shenanigans.” This has been one of Voice of San Diego’s longest narrative obsessions. Here’s Scott Lewis’ 2010 explainer of the county pension polemic in 350 words.
• Deadline, schmedline! State legislators and the governors have given themselves more time to figure out if the November ballot will include a multibillion-dollar measure to borrow money for water projects like dams and reservoirs. (Capital Public Radio)
• Sometimes the Twitter scene in San Diego can seem like it’s full of shameless self-promoters and grumpy journalists. (That may be redundant.) But some local Twitter denizens are neither, like @sdscanner, which simply reports on crimes and other emergencies as they happen.
Here’s a tweet from the other day: “‘Stop! In the name of the law, stop!’ (Foot pursuit on Mt Abernathy).”
Maybe we can look forward to more tweets that sound like they came from 1945? I’m eagerly expecting “Come and get me coppers!” and “You’ll never take me alive!”
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.