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In the end, it wasn’t close: The City Council approved the One Paseo project 7-2 Monday night.
Developer Kilroy Realty agreed to build low-income housing as part of the Carmel Valley project, a move that secured Councilman David Alvarez’s vote. Otherwise, Kilroy would have met its low-income housing requirement by paying a fee used to build housing elsewhere.
Just Council President Sherri Lightner, who represents Carmel Valley, and fellow Democrat Mari Emerald voted against the project.
Requiring Kilroy to build low-income homes as part of its 608 units is win-win, said Colin Parent of Circulate San Diego: The developer gets its project, and progressives get more affordable homes.
Now, the question becomes whether the Council vote is really the definitive word in what’s already been a years-long process. It doesn’t sound like it.
In a Facebook post after the vote, a group opposed to the project, “What Price Main Street?” (which includes local residents, but has financial backing from a competing shopping center across the street) said it wasn’t done fighting.
“Our work will go on, as we examine options to continue our fight to ensure this project does not destroy Carmel Valley,” the group wrote.
That could include a lawsuit challenging the project’s environmental review, or an attempt to collect signatures and put the decision to a citywide vote in 2016.
Airbnb Hosts May Get Reprieve
Recently elected Councilman Chris Cate is poised to become a hero for local residents who want to rent their homes through Airbnb without a ton of hassles and expenses.
Cate is prepping a proposal that would allow Airbnb and similar services to collect taxes — something Airbnb isn’t necessarily opposed to — and pave the way for neighbor complaints to be heard. He’d also make it easier for the city to crack down on people who allow a dozen or more people to stay in a single home or apartment.
“Cate’s announcement follows months of confusion among local Airbnb hosts,” VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt reports. “The city has been mailing letters to dozens of hosts, informing them they’ll need to charge hotel bed taxes, and in some cases, owe back taxes on past stays.” One Airbnb host was threatened with up to a quarter-million dollars in fines if she didn’t stop renting just two rooms.
Powerful Attorney’s Peculiar Moves
Inewsource is investigating Cory Briggs, the influential local attorney who drives Southern California city officials crazy and played a major role in the demise of former Mayor Filner. The news outfit reports that he’s “has engaged in real estate transactions that a host of experts say are questionable and possibly fraudulent,” including a seemingly peculiar move to sell his home at half its worth to a corporation he runs.
Briggs threw reporters out of his office during an interview, and the journalists received “a strange hand-delivered letter, saying there was no payoff to get rid of Filner, who resigned in 2013 amid a sexual harassment scandal.” It’s a bit difficult to follow without a background in liens and loans, but more coverage is to come.
We profiled Briggs last year, and unraveled the system he’s created to sue projects and cities, usually using the state’s CEQA law.
Behind the Civic Innovation Debacle
NextCity profiles the demise of the city-funded Civic Innovation Lab and gushes over its possibilities.
“Why the Lab failed is a story of grand plans cast into turmoil by the disgrace of the grand planner himself,” NextCity writes. “Among other things, it reveals how difficult it is to hold on to a place at the table, once you’ve got it (assuming you’d even want to). In the end, it boils down to a question: Is local government really the best place for public interest design?”
School Board May Sell Two Schools
The San Diego school board may agree to sell two properties today: One is Cleveland Elementary School, the San Carlos site of the infamous “I Hate Monday” fatal shootings in 1979, and the other is the former Benchley Elementary in the Navajo neighborhood, City News Service reports. Former school board member Scott Barnett found himself in a pickle when he tried to help a charter school buy the Cleveland Elementary property.
• Local legislator Shirley Weber is expected to introduce a bill this week to allow foster kids to get state-funded tutoring and counseling even if they live with relatives. (EdSource)
Quick News Hits: Power Lunch Report
• “Nearly a year after the Obama administration vowed to crack down on Border Patrol agents who use excessive force,” the L.A. Times reports, “no shooting cases have been resolved, no agents have been disciplined, a review panel has yet to issue recommendations, and the top two jobs in internal affairs are vacant.”
• Former Mayor Roger Hedgecock, a conservative firebrand, will no longer have a syndicated radio talk show as of March. Another host will take over for him. (Radio Online)
• ESPN says the Chargers stink at using data.
• A website called Bisnow lists the top spots for power lunches in San Diego. Two are no surprise: Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant and the Grant Hotel’s Grant Grill & Lounge, where Mayor Kevin Faulconer has been spotted.
• Is it 1956 again? The Lawrence Welk resort empire (with its flagship in North County) is in the spotlight again. The Wall Street Journal profiles the exercise and diet of Jon Fredricks, the local CEO of Welk Resorts.
He likes to surf, paddleboard and snowboard and tries to keep his heart rate at 150 beats per minute for an hour during morning training sessions. No word on whether he brings along a Welk-ian bubble machine.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.