The Morning Report
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The group trying to put a new stadium plan together for the mayor has said this in many different ways: A new stadium would host hundreds of events — helping pay for the thing and make it all the more worth the investment.
VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt decided to survey other city’s stadiums. “Sports economists and experts argue this isn’t the way to pay for a new stadium,” she writes. “There aren’t enough events — and the money they make is increasingly going to NFL teams instead of the cities helping pay for the stadiums.”
The problem is that these events often don’t bring in much money, sometimes just a few thousand or even a few hundred dollars, according to Halverstadt’s research into other stadiums. An event can mean anything from a monster truck rally to a bar mitzvah.
• The Deadspin blog takes note of weirdness in St. Louis, which is trying to build a new stadium of its own: the “public entity that controls the Rams’ current home… has sued the city of St. Louis to prevent a public vote on whether taxpayer money should be used to pay for a new Rams stadium.”
• The most popular story on our site last week was “Qualcomm VP Told San Diego Politicians Seeking Stadium Help to Pound Sand.” For the full Top 10 list, click here; 6 of the stories have something to do with the stadium debate.
• One of the themes of that story is the point that the company might not ever build a facility in San Diego again, despite earlier plans of a major expansion. But the company’s facing pressures far different than any frustration with the city. The Wall Street Journal reports that one of its largest shareholders is pushing Qualcomm to spin off its chip-making business from its more lucrative patent-licensing side.
War of Water Words
• Catherine Green and Scott Lewis talked about Qualcomm and water issues in this week’s podcast. Dennis Cushman, assistant general manager for the San Diego County Water Authority joined them to discuss the intense battle the group continues to wage against LA’s Metropolitan Water District. Cushman also answers the question Lewis posed about which agency has more guns should we ever have to face off after the apocalypse.
County water officials say it’s not fair that the state wants us to cut water use by 35 percent because this, as the U-T puts their argument, this “would punish those who have already conserved and give no credit to this region for securing alternative supplies.”
• Councilman David Alvarez isn’t happy with the city’s jump-started response to the drought: He “said the city should create a tiered billing system that increases the cost of water as consumption increases.”
A tidbit from the U-T about the council meeting where this came up: Councilwoman Marti Emerald “wondered out loud how her husband would react if she brought an egg timer into the shower.” (U-T)
• The NY Times has a big story and a bunch of nifty aerial photos profiling the $1 billion plant in Carlsbad that will create drinking water by treating sea water.
• This South Bay sea lion pup had his own trouble finding water and got national attention for where he wandered.
Briggs-Linked Group Targets Media
The non-profit news outlet inewsource, which has a partnership with KPBS, has run a series of stories raising questions about the ethics of attorney Cory Briggs, the man we’ve dubbed “San Diego’s Most Disruptive Lawyer.” (Briggs, who continually sues government agencies and often wins, drives politicians up the wall.)
inewsource drew some blood last week, when revelations about his romantic and business partner’s consulting work spawned a $144,000 settlement with the city of San Diego. But now, Inewsource has trouble of its own: it’s being sued by an open-government group with close ties to Briggs.
The lawsuit, which raises accusations of disclosure and bidding violations, seems to be a pure bid to harass inewsource and KPBS. “This feels to me like retaliation for Inewsource’s recent coverage,” founder Lorie Hearn told the U-T. I do not believe we have done anything wrong, and if and when we are served with the lawsuit, we will take appropriate legal action.”
• The city is still fighting (and spending) to kill a Briggs lawsuit that aims to pry 25,000 pages of emails from the private account of City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who used it to communicate with journalists. (Reader)
City May Boost Slumlord Enforcement
A joint investigative project by VOSD and KPBS — detailing roach infestations, asthma-inducing mold and gas leaks in several apartments owned by one landlord — may be bearing fruit: Mayor Kevin Faulconer wants to spend a few hundred thousand extra dollars to boost enforcement of rules that target slumlords. Under his proposal, a team of four new code enforcement officers will target trouble-prone neighborhoods.
Politics: Faulconer Still Rising?
• In a Sacramento Bee column, a researcher at the conservative Hoover Institution pushes for a higher profile for Faulconer, one of the only Republicans in the state thought to have the potential to rise higher in politics: “Perhaps the trend continues in 2018 and an individual of wealth comes to the state GOP’s rescue. If not, the party better start looking for a successful incumbent. Perhaps it’s time the falcon heard the Faulconer.”
• Trouble’s brewing at the city’s urban renewal agency: “One of Civic San Diego’s board member sued the city and CivicSD Friday to clarify the development agency’s roles,” the U-T reports. “Murtaza Baxamusa, who has served on the nine-member board for two years, said he has sought in vain to determine CivicSD’s legal responsibilities and now wants a judge’s ruling.”
• County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu, who was controversial in his previous Ohio job, is under fire for not allowing certain votes in a Chula Vista race. Now he’s facing questions about why he’s so hazy about how he got this job. (U-T)
• One of the ugliest stretches of freeway in the county, if not the ugliest, can be found on North County’s Highway 78 between Escondido and Oceanside. You feel like you’re driving through an endless strip mall. So, of course, the cities along that stretch have bound together to remind us that the freeway exists when we’d rather forget. Their new marketing effort: Innovate 78.
• Two transgender teens in North County have killed themselves within the past few weeks. One of them, Taylor Alesana, spoke via YouTube about being persistently bullied at school in Fallbrook. Former Councilman Carl DeMaio, now a radio talk-show host, is getting heat for dismissing the idea of taxpayer-funded sex-change operations for transgender prisoners as “absurd.”
When Royko Had S.D. In His Sights
Rolling Stone magazine has caught Padres fever.
Meanwhile, new kinds of food are on tap at the ballpark, including deep-fried muffins, duck and bacon sausages, wheat beer, slaw with kohlrabi (I don’t know what that is), and artisanal coffee (I don’t know what that is either). And oh yes, sushi.
Sushi at the ballpark — San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium, to be exact — annoyed the heck out of grumpy Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko back in 1989. He wrote a whole column about the horrors of baseball game sushi which appeared here before any other major-league ballpark. Sushi was effete, and we all know what that means. He also mentioned that he’s earlier bashed San Diegans as “beach bums, quiche eaters and wine sippers.”
Whatever happened to Mike Royko? Oh yeah. He’s not with us anymore. Outlived by, well, sushi at the ballpark. Pass the quiche!
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.