As the frenzy over the Chargers’ threats to leave town hit a new peak, Petco Park has come up a lot. How was the city able to pull that off?
VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt takes a look-see and comes up with “5 Lessons from the Padres’ Stadium Push.” Among them: Padres leadership commanded respect — we’ll let you compare and contrast with the Chargers brass now — and found some unlikely supporters. (But not the folks with those unforgettable “Ballpark? Got One. A Library I Could Use” bumper stickers.)
There were some shenanigans as well.
And the Padres actually made it to the World Series in 1998, in a case of incredibly good timing.
• VOSD’s Scott Lewis explains how longtime U-T sports columnist Nick Canepa blew it about how Chargers dreams for a new football stadium went el-foldo about a decade ago.
Canepa wrote last week that the City nixed the last Mission Valley stadium plan in 2005 because of concerns about traffic. He was trying to prove the same concern would kill the mayor’s task force’s plan.
Not an accurate reflection — there was no nix. The Chargers representative said at the time they could not get a development partner because of concerns about the housing market and yes, the volatility of city politics and one former city attorney in particular.
Canepa later refused to back up his position because he knows he is right and that’s all.
• Not-so-fun-fact: Despite low inflation and the recession, the cost of the stadium has more than doubled since 2005 from $450 million to more than $1 billion without big extra benefits for taxpayers. You’ve heard of Minnesota nice? Try San Diego extravagant.
• We’re hearing more about the Obama plan to make it harder for cities and counties to stick taxpayers with the huge costs of building boondoggle stadiums. The idea is to no longer allow tax-free borrowing through bonds for stadiums. Slate has a story about the plan and notes that “extortion at the hands of our sporting oligarchs is, of course, a popular source of outrage.”
Cop Cameras Making a Difference?
A new report offers good news about body cameras: It suggests (but doesn’t prove) that they’ve led to fewer complaints against officers and less use of weapons by cops. A U-T story doesn’t say whether the decline in complaints and use of force coincided with less crime or some other factor other than new body cameras. Also, the report compares the second half of 2014 to the first half, not to the same period a year earlier. It does, however, only look at areas of the city where cops are equipped with the cameras.
We told you how body cameras work in an earlier story.
Commentary: Frye Takes on Civic S.D.
In a VOSD commentary, ex-Councilwoman and almost-mayor Donna Frye says talk about Civic San Diego, the urban renewal agency that’s picking up the pieces after redevelopment imploded, is missing the point. The bigger issue, she writes, is whether the thing is legal.
Legislation Targets Airbnb
• A new report expects the county’s population to grow a bit by the year 2060: We’re expected to reach 4 million, up from about 3.24 million. That’s hardly the wicked-fast growth of the 1970s and 1980s. (SD Business Journal)
Quick News Hits: Chilly Times for Hot Dogs
• The convention center board is trying to figure out what to do now that its half-a-billion expansion plan is all washed up. It’s now spending $90,000 on a study of other ways to grow. The U-T story doesn’t make it clear if not expanding at all is an option.
• “California officials said Wednesday that the drought-stricken state set an unachievable bar to save the Salton Sea and outlined small projects aimed at staving off the demise of the state’s largest lake, disappointing farmers, environmentalists and others.” (AP)
• We’re not one of the nation’s hardest-working or hardest-commuting cities, an NYC city report says. Tell that to the 5/805 split during rush hour!
• In his HBO show the other day, comedian John Oliver poked fun at San Diegans obsessing over the authenticity of Mexican food. Last fall, a culinary expert told VOSD that fretting over authenticity is dumb: “If you think it’s Mexican food, it’s Mexican food!”
Meanwhile, the Carlsbad-based Hot Dog on a Stick chain — I’ll let that sink in for a moment — has been struggling but is hoping to expand, the U-T says. It’s looking to other parts of the country like Texas.
Makes sense. Bright things that hurt your eyes do tend to rise in the east.
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.