The arms of the local business community like chambers of commerce like to claim that San Diego and California are terrible places to make money. But a funny thing happened when we pressed them for details: Many businesspeople clammed up.
Maybe they’re too busy fighting off oppressive regulations. Perhaps they’re too busy actually making money. Or maybe they just don’t want to talk to VOSD. Whatever the case, the reticence of individual businessfolk to talk about their challenges — compared to their loud organizations — surprised our Lisa Halverstadt during her quest to understand whether this is truly a difficult place to run a company.
“Maintaining a thriving local economy is always going to take a lot of work, but business leaders make it harder on themselves by refusing to talk openly about some of their biggest concerns,” Halverstadt writes.
Opinion: What We Need in a Fix-It Plan
In a VOSD commentary, W. Mark Leslie, president and CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, lays out what the city needs to find in a plan to fix the city’s decaying streets, sidewalks, pipes and so on. Standards, he writes, will include proven success, realistic goals, specific levels of service and more.
Quick News Hits: Just Deal
• Drought watch: San Francisco received not a drop of rain in January. This has never happened in recorded history going back to the mid-19th century.
• Oops: A team of scientists are backtracking from their historic claim about “cosmic inflation” — the huge growth of the universe in a second after the Big Bang. Turns out the theory is a Big Bust, and a UCSD researcher who’s on the team tells the AP that it hurts: “It’s like finding out there’s no Santa Claus. But it’s important to know the truth.”
• The NY Times discovers that “curators and collectors are reassembling objects originally shown at the fairgrounds” in honor of the 100th anniversary of expositions in San Diego and San Francisco.
Check out this photo of San Diego memorabilia from 1915 and 1936, including a brochure highlighting the exposition “On the Cool Pacific” (what’s the building on the cover?), a medal with Coronado emblazoned in the middle and a little blue car with an exposition logo on its roof. Zoom in to the photo and look to the bottom right: You’ll find a little button featuring a woman astride the entire hemisphere with an eye on…San Diego.
Stadium News Roundup: Chargerzzz
• On Friday, we reported that, unlike a Chargers stadium task force more than a decade ago, this new one the mayor set up will meet in secret. Now a prominent labor leader is blasting the mayor for not including either a single Democrat or one of their own on the Citizens Stadium Advisory Group. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez tweeted that the snub to labor was either dumb or indicative of a lack of interest in pulling off a stadium deal.
• The Chargers supposedly have a big fan base north of San Diego County, but the LA Times finds that the three most-followed teams in Los Angeles County — on Twitter at least — are the 49ers, Raiders and Cowboys. The Chargers only reach a tie for second with the Packers in Orange County and trail the 49ers.
• U-T columnist Dan McSwain runs the numbers and finds that the Chargers’ “deal at Qualcomm is too good to abandon without hefty public subsidies.” What’s next? One scenario calls for turning the current football stadium property over to the team and building a new stadium downtown. Taxpayers may be hit with a $300 million bill: “In San Diego County, such a gap works out to $300 per household (or $500, if you include the land’s value). Put another way, that’s $24 to $40 per year for each household, using our 20-year loan example.”
• The U-T’s John Wilkens profiled mover-and-shaker Steve Cushman, who suddenly became the Chargers’ Public Enemy No. 1 recently. The team’s special counsel says it’s odd “that someone whose background is as a car dealer, and who has racked up such a staggering list of civic failures, continues to be assigned to important projects.”
“Someone whose background is as a car dealer.” Whoa nelly. The Bolts may think of themselves as master negotiators, but I’ll bet this guy is gonna have a hard time getting a good deal on his next vehicle.
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.