The Morning Report
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Unless something extraordinary happens, like a pricey rehab of the existing football stadium or a supernatural miracle from above (floating parking lot, anyone?), it looks like Chargers tailgating will be dead even if the team manages to stay in town.
That’s the word from VOSD’s Scott Lewis: “There’s no imaginable scenario for a new facility that preserves Qualcomm Stadium’s unique tailgating infrastructure.” As for the Mission Valley site that the mayor’s task force announced as its winner Wednesday, “To build a stadium, the city and whatever developer gets the job will try to squeeze every dollar of value out of every square foot of land in that area — and it still won’t be enough. Parking lots where a man can do some good drinking just aren’t that valuable,” Lewis writes.
• VOSD’s Liam Dillon calculates how much the city loses on the existing football stadium each year: $12 million. That means city taxpayers are already subsidizing a stadium. “It’s a tale of shoddy contract negotiations, lawsuits and the city’s inability to attract many high-paying events to the stadium other than the Chargers,” says Dillon.
Task Force to Downtown: Forget About It
The stadium task force — which is purely advisory — announced Wednesday that a new stadium should go in Mission Valley, not downtown. So is the task force done? Nope. It just wanted to update us on its progress toward making its recommendation by May.
• Coulda, shoulda, didn’t: U-T sports columnist and Chargers booster Nick Canepa says the city missed its chance to put a new stadium, along with hundreds of new condos, in Mission Valley 10 years ago — when it would’ve cost basically nothing. The plan could have solved everything but City Hall couldn’t act! But he’s not on solid ground. Why? Because even if City Hall or the Chargers didn’t kill that deal, the housing bust would have.
• CityLab is out with an epic story (including maps!) about the epic history of bids to bring a football team to Los Angeles: “About half the teams in the NFL have threatened at some point or another to go to Cali. Bluffing about moving to L.A. just makes good business sense.”
CityBeat on the DA’s ‘Harassment’ of Blacks
CityBeat is out with a blistering editorial about District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and her office’s bizarre attempt to “jail people for rapping and posting on Facebook”: “To us, it looks like yet another example of brazen, systemic harassment of young African-American men, and it’s clearly a violation of constitutionally protected freedom of speech and, possibly, freedom of association.”
Getting Better All the Time (Slowwwly)
The city’s developing a 10-year plan to (sort of) fix its streets, City News Service reports: “San Diego’s 2,659 miles of asphalt streets, 115 miles of concrete roadways and 203 miles of paved alleys were given a 54.5 rating on a scale of 0- 100 in a 2011 assessment. The plan, according to the report, is to reach a rating of 70 by Fiscal Year 2025.”
According to the story, several big California cities, even pothole-riddled Oakland have better streets than we do. (And yup, craggy streets have already come up a time or two on our new project, The Fumblr.)
Opera to Sing a New Tune
The new-and-improved (and resurrected-from-the-dead) San Diego Opera has a new director after shedding its leadership: David Bennett, the executive director of Gotham Chamber Opera in New York. While the opera said “it would continue to present grand opera at the Civic Theater, it would also explore offering smaller works in unique venues around San Diego,” the L.A. Times reports.
Time to Turn on the Barry White CD
Stay out of this, you nosy parkers! The San Diego Zoo got busy cutting off access to its live panda feed when a pair of giant pandas appeared to get busy in another way. Even zoo visitors were shooed away from watching the amour in action. A zoo photo may be NSFW.
Not-so-fun fact, at least for male pandas, from City News Service: “Female giant pandas are only ready for breeding once a year and the opportunity lasts just 48 to 72 hours.”
Quick News Hits
• Start bidding farewell to California’s affordable mobile homes.
• Police departments are snooping on cell phones, and now comes word that their technology can disrupt cell service even if you’re not being monitored. (Wired)
• A coalition including Carl DeMaio, the failed congressional and mayoral candidate, is pushing for pension reform via a ballot measure. Reuters has an “exclusive” story about what these people have in mind.
• AirBnb is a boon for travelers who want to find a place to stay on the cheap, and homeowners like it too, at least if they’re not annoyed by annoying guests next door. But the L.A. Times finds that travelers are freezing out renters in a tight rental market.
• Saudi Arabia is cozying up with UCSD with an infusion of cash. (U-T)
City-Making, Tedium Included!
A writer with the Kotaku blog checks out a new Sim-style video game called “Cities: Skylines.” “Straight roads, curved roads, designated office blocks, districts with their own tax rules, it’s all at your fingertips.” (Districts with their own tax rules? What a concept!)
But the reviewer had a problem: He was plagued by “red alerts” about trash and dead bodies piling up despite building various cemeteries and crematoriums. Corpses, he finds, are inconvenient and push down property taxes. Worse, dealing with disposal issues is “tedious, distracting and uninteresting at the best of times.”
Sounds like his fake city needs to have a real election and go rogue.
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.