In its college and professional incarnations, football in our country seems to be as popular — or more popular — than ever, even as the bad press keeps piling up about concussions, domestic violence and mistreatment of college players. Plus the perennial problem of politicians hornswoggled into dumping taxpayer money into boondoggle stadiums.
San Diego, of course, has a new stadium on its mind and, perhaps soon, on your ballot. Mayor Kevin Faulconer is sure to mention a new football stadium during his State of the City speech today, so VOSD’s Scott Lewis decided to puncture a few pesky, persistent myths.
No, he says, we can’t rely on private investors to build a stadium on their own. (So much for the idea of sticking billionaires with the bill.) No, football fans can’t be forced to build the stadium, either. (This isn’t a football-crazed town like Green Bay.)
Also: No, we can’t combine a stadium with something else like the Convention Center or a soccer stadium. And no, a new football stadium won’t turn us into Super Bowl Central.
Another Type of Trolley Dragnet
If you’re a cop on a mission to find criminals, you go where they hang out. Right?
Not necessarily, according to some critics. As we reported this week, the Sheriff’s Department creates dragnets at the Lemon Grove trolley station to find ex-cons who they believe are on the road to becoming future-cons. If officers find someone with no proof of fare, they get pulled aside and questioned. Several advocates told us that kind of dragnet unfairly targets a neighborhood and creates distrust.
What about when the transit system creates its own dragnet with the sole purpose of catching fare evaders? VOSD’s Andrew Keatts went on a ridealong to examine how the transit cops run a dragnet. They target busy transit routes in downtown and southeastern San Diego in particular (though an MTS spokesperson initially told Keatts the locations were chosen at random).
More than two dozen officers fill a station to check for proof of fares in one kind of operation. It’s “gestapo shit,” says one man who got socked with a $198 fine for not having paid the fare.
• “In 2014, San Diego police documented 16,238 incidents in which an officer used force, like drawing his weapon or firing a taser,” NBC 7 reports. “Officers self-assess whether a particular ‘use of force’ incident was effective or not, and SDPD says force has been effective 90 percent of the time.”
There are no details about who, when, where and why. The cops won’t release them and say they don’t have to.
Commentary: Not So Fast, Gloria!
Ryan Clumpner, executive director of the Lincoln Club of San Diego County, throws shade at Councilman Todd Gloria in a new VOSD commentary. While Gloria may act like he wants to reform the referendum process that allows people with money for petition signatures to reverse City Council decisions, Clumpner writes, “Gloria’s proposal will do absolutely nothing to help grassroots San Diegans utilize the tools of direct democracy. In fact, it’s intended to make the process so difficult and cumbersome that no one will ever have the means to challenge the Council majority again.”
Will Dumpster-Dive for Food
Remember the local dumpster diver guy who’s been biking around the country to draw attention to food waste? He now says he’s got an offer for other activists: “If you get arrested or ticketed for dumpster diving for food I promise to pay the ticket(s), get media coverage to the issue, and make sure that you are in safe hands.” The offer’s not valid if you get arrested on purpose, however.
Early Bird Gets the Lecture
The VOSD Culture Report, our weekly roundup of arts and culture news, starts off with details about a new 8 a.m. breakfast lecture series designed to be “a catalyst for building the growing creative/startup/tech community.”
Also in the Culture Report: More art on utility boxes, an award for kid artists and a play about activism in the 1960s.
Quick News Hits: Drone with a Press Pass
• Local Assemblywoman Shirley Weber is challenging the governor over spending on the poor. (L.A. Times)
• The region’s Catholic private schools are facing tough times. (KPBS)
• On the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, CityBeat columnist Ryan Bradford drops by the Crossroads of the West gun show in Del Mar, where Tasers are “great stocking stuffers,” T-shirts are for sale emblazoned with “DADD: Dads Against Daughters Dating” and “Brothers Against Sisters Dating Anyone,” and men openly and eagerly caress firearms.
• After getting sued, the City Council is making it easier for the public to speak at meetings about topics that aren’t on the agenda. People can now speak during certain time slots on two days a week instead of one.
Great news! Now I have twice as many opportunities to let the Council know about my very important opinions on very important matters like, say, my etchings. They even gave me a special day to come in: Feb. 30. That’s thoughtful of them!
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.