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Residents, neighbors and city staff members keep filing complaints against a San Diego man who owns dozens of properties and manages apartments. The complaints offer accusations of gas leaks, sewage backups, missing windows and armies of roaches that force residents to avoid using cabinets for food.
So is the city making things right? Not exactly. “The city’s essentially playing a game of whack-a-mole,” a joint investigation between Voice of San Diego and KPBS finds. “The city’s code enforcement team knocks out thousands of isolated complaints a year, but does little to hold repeat offenders accountable.”
“There’s really no reason why landlords need to fear code compliance,” an attorney tells reporter Megan Burks. A city official says his staff’s hands are tied by state law regarding enforcement involving infestations and mold, but that’s not entirely true.
Why the Fight Between the Chargers and Mayor?
You might be wondering why things are suddenly so tense between the Chargers and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Scott Lewis offered his theory Wednesday. In short, the Chargers have a lot to lose if another team, especially the Rams, move to Los Angeles. And they’ve concluded Faulconer’s task force is a farce, for which they don’t have any time before they have to make the call to try to move.
Lewis was summoned to sports radio, the Mighty 1090, to explain in this well-received segment.
• In a VOSD commentary, local attorney Felix Tinkov says offers a stadium solution that involves a holding company and shares for the public — not necessarily in the team. It sparked this exchange with the opinion editor at the U-T.
• The LA Times reports that the mayor and Chargers owner Dean Spanos are going to meet.
A Lonely Natural Gas Plant
A $1 billion liquid natural gas plant in Baja California figured prominently in Liam Dillon’s special investigation last week that sought to explain why a wealthy Mexican man would risk getting involved in San Diego politics. Sempra won a tense race to establish the plant as the only thing like it on the West Coast and many thought the investment would pay off magnificently.
But, in a follow up, Dillon explains why the facility is barely being used: “the plant is hardly the cash cow everyone expected,” reports VOSD’s Liam Dillon. Nobody knew fracking would almost eliminate the need to import natural gas. Now Sempra’s actually considering using the plant to export natural gas.
Get Hurt at a Rich School
At our forum last week about the future of football, Roger Blake, executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation, had some rather stunning things to say. Among them, he acknowledged that poorer schools were not as well prepared to deal with injuries. The outlook for football and brain injuries was not good.
“Let’s talk the reality of it,” he said. “Fifteen hundred-plus high schools. They aren’t equal. They aren’t the same. And that’s the sad part. There’s the haves and the have-nots.”
The have-nots, about 81 percent of high school kids in the state, don’t have access to a full-time athletic trainer at their schools. That, he says, is “a terrible figure.”
Separately, we posted a link to a full transcript of the forum along with some of the standout quotes from the doctor, former NFL player and lawyer who spoke.
AirBNB Turns Into Cash Cow
Airbnb just paid tens of millions of dollars to the city of San Francisco for back hotel taxes, quite a pretty penny for municipal coffers. San Diego, in contrast, has chosen to go after local Airbnb hosts with big threats instead of making a deal with the company.
Turns out Airbnb “desperately wants to pay hotel taxes,” Slate writes, since it gives the company legitimacy and might eliminate regulatory headaches.
Quick News Hits: No Bars for Mars?
• Sea lion pups are being stranded by the hundreds across the California coast this year, the U-T reports, and facilities that help, like SeaWorld, could be strained. It’s possible that their mothers have to work harder to find food and end up leaving their young behind.
Meanwhile, La Jolla Cove may stink, but the word hasn’t gotten to TripAdvisor, which names it one of the top beaches in the country.
• Former Mayor Maureen O’Connor is just about out of legal trouble over stealing money from her late husband’s foundation even though she hasn’t yet paid back all of $2 million, the U-T reports. O’Connor and her sister have won a $7 million settlement in another case and are waiting to get the money.
• The old downtown library has its mid-century architectural charms, but it’s turning into a dump, KPBS reports. There are ideas floating around about what to do with the building, but it remains an eyesore at the moment.
• A new Dr. Seuss book is on the way, “created from an unpublished manuscript and sketches discovered in the La Jolla author’s home after he died.” (U-T)
• A Chula Vista woman is one of 100 finalists for a planned trek to the planet Mars in the year 2024. She beat out about 200,000 applicants but has a ways to go to make the final list of 24.
Maybe they could extend the deadline for applications. They will need a football stadium there, right?
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.