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If Qualcomm Stadium had feelings, it would have to be feeling like a rejected lover these days. Once a rallying point for the city’s faithful, one of the only things people now widely agree on is that they hate the current stadium; it’s too old, they say, too outdated, falling apart and ugly. Our Liam Dillon decided to have a look at what is actually wrong with the stadium. “The building isn’t in danger of falling down,” Dillon reports. “It’s just old and ragged.”
At worst, consultants have warned that some flaking concrete needs to be repaired before it does become a hazard. But otherwise, the items that top one consultant’s list has little to do with the football on the field. It’s stuff like replacing security cameras ($2.8 million) and plumbing ($12.1 million), along with an $11 million air ventilation system replacement.
• A lot of folks were worried that a huge pool of leaked fuel underneath the stadium would doom any redevelopment effort in Mission Valley. But it turns out a cleanup job may have done the trick. Lisa Halverstadt and NBC 7’s Artie Ojeda explain why the plume no longer looms large over a redevelopment effort in our most recent San Diego Explained.
• Redeveloping Mission Valley assumes the Chargers don’t leave for greener pastures in Los Angeles. The Post Game reports the Oakland Raiders would prefer to stay put in their own city as well, and they think they can privately fund a new (small) stadium to boot.
• A competing proposal to build a stadium in Inglewood has run into a snag with labor unions, the L.A. Times reports.
California Schools Want Better Grades
For a while, schools in California have had their performance graded in the same way students are graded: by test scores. But a vote by state officials on Wednesday suspended the use of the so-called API scores for another year. Those scores were calculated to quickly show how a school’s students measured up. Some school leaders complained the scores didn’t accurately reflect the “quality” of a school. Mario Koran reports on how the state is looking into a new school evaluation system that would also take other factors into account. “They could include measures for school climate, student engagement, [and] access to courses leading to college and careers,” Koran reports. Losing the scores is a challenge for charter schools that use them to entice parents.
• “API scores” are a good example of so-called “edu-speak,” which is what we call school-related jargon widely used in education circles that also happens to be impenetrable to the average parent. In an effort to pierce through all the mysteries of education, we’re launching a regular feature we’re calling The Learning Curve. “I’ve noticed a gap between many peoples’ values and their understanding when it comes to our schools,” Koran writes. “Send me your questions about how a school or district works,” he asks, or tweet them to @MarioKoran.
San Diego’s Top Revitalizer
A Morning Report exclusive: “The city has a new head of its Economic Development Department,” our Andrew Keatts reports. Erik Caldwell is now in charge of the department, which promotes community revitalization, in part by attracting new businesses or helping existing ones expand. Caldwell formerly worked with Mayor Jerry Sanders and also worked for Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher during his stint in Sacramento. The City Council last year passed a new long-term plan for economic development. Caldwell’s department is in charge of executing that vision.
Planning Our Way to Growth
Joe LaCava, chair of the Community Planners Committee, wrote in to explain why he’s concerned about the lack of a planning director at City Hall and the lack of public outreach when it comes to deciding the future of San Diego. “San Diego is at a crossroads in how to address the natural growth of our population,” LaCava writes. Without an organized effort to engage the public after a community’s plan has been adopted, many people will be unhappy when it comes time to act on the approved plan. “We need to hire a planning director who can lead that public messaging.”
News Nibbles: Wins for Legal Pot Shops
• Two of San Diego’s most prominent theaters, the Balboa and the Civic, are getting a new CEO. (KPBS)
• A group of marijuana advocates who sued to stop San Diego’s medical marijuana ordinance lost their lawsuit this week, KPBS reports. The group argued the ordinance didn’t comply with CEQA, California’s controversial environmental law that is often cited in lawsuits.
• Two more legal pot shops in San Diego have been approved. (U-T)
• The New York Times picks up on the sharp increase of starving sea lions that are washing up on the shores of California this year.
• San Diego’s public broadcasting affiliate, KPBS, has been shifting its focus to local content, including locally produced TV shows and podcasts. (CityBeat)
• The battle rages on in Encinitas over whether yoga is too religious to teach kids in school. (NBC 7)
• Sometimes you just really, really need a donut. (NBC 7)