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VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt has the details on a curious deal moving forward for Qualcomm Stadium: “the city’s prepared to let a food and beverage company sink $6 million into building upgrades — and taxpayers could be on the hook to pay that company back if the team leaves.”
City staff says Qualcomm Stadium has a few good years left and it will need a food and beverage service. Just so happens the mayor’s political consultant, Jason Roe, is also the lobbyist for the firm that got the deal, Delaware North.
There’s another hitch. One Direction, the massively popular boy band, is coming to town in July. It’s down one member, as every tween in the world knows, but that’s not the stadium’s biggest hurdle. The stadium’s existing food & beverage supplier walked away yesterday and the city’s not sure what to do. The new contract, after all, is not approved.
After we tweeted about the deal last night, Councilman Todd Gloria took issue with how we cast it. It’s not the City Council’s deal, he said. It’s the mayor’s. Gloria said the mayor’s staff negotiated it and Wednesday was the first time the Council saw it.
There’s obviously more going on. Mickey Kasparian, the head of the largest labor union in town, the United Food and Commercial Workers, chastised Gloria’s colleague, Democrat Myrtle Cole, for supporting the deal.
Surprise: New Homeless Shelter’s Not Enough
Homeless advocates are busy transferring hundreds of transients from winter tents to a year-round 350-bed shelter in downtown’s East Village. There’s plenty of controversy, as usual, over the where, the who and the how.
VOSD contributor Kelly Davis takes a look at four things to keep in mind about the shelter. Among them: It might not boost the number of beds for transients in the city, it may fail at the goal of getting the homeless up and out in 45 days, and it could mean little for the overall homeless problem downtown.
Watching the Electives: Faulconer Forever
Mayor Kevin Faulconer is sitting pretty thanks to a mild-mannered approach. He seems so popular, in fact, that Democrats are moving out of his way as the 2016 election approaches.
Councilman Todd Gloria, perhaps the best hope for the Dems, is settling for Assembly. State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins doesn’t sound interested, and another potential candidate, rising star legislator Lorena Gonzalez, thinks Atkins should run.
If things stay the same, it’s possible that the Democrats will put up no major candidate. In CityBeat, columnist John Lamb reads the tea leaves and notes another potential loser in all this — the Dem effort to boost the minimum wage. Gonzalez herself warns that “we are going to lose minimum wage if we give [the mayor] a free pass.”
• Barrio Logan is facing controversial change again. (CityBeat)
Vaccine Bill Hits Roadblock
“A controversial bill to require vaccinations for all California school children ran into trouble Wednesday,” The Sacramento Bee reports, “when its author delayed a key Senate committee vote after enraged parents opposed to the legislation demanded lawmakers answer a central question: Don’t all kids — whether they are vaccinated or not — have a right to a public education?”
San Diego-area state Senator Marty Block was among the legislators having second thoughts: “I am concerned that we will basically throw kids out of public school and if the person (parent) cannot home-school them, they (still) have a right to an education.”
Drought Update: Showers Be Gone
Hundreds of cities and other agencies around the state, including some from San Diego County, have had it up to here with the state’s orders about cutting water consumption, and they’re sending sternly worded letters. (LA Times)
• A San Diego woman told the NY Times the other day that she only showers once a week because of the drought. Let’s hope she has a corner on the Handi Wipes market. But should we do what she does?
New York magazine says, “Americans’ strongly entrenched once-a-day shower habit is probably extreme in its own right, as dermatologists and microbiologists alike say there is no hygienic need to shower daily.”
Home Sweet (Fast-Selling) Home
San Diego County has the 14th highest apartment rents among major metro areas at $1,460 for the average unit. That puts us well behind New York City ($3,324), San Francisco ($2,278), San Jose ($1,909) and Orange County ($2,376) and L.A. ($1,503). (OC Register)
Meanwhile, California housing markets are hot, and San Diego’s is among the hottest. We’re also scoring big when it comes to moving luxury homes.
Quick News Hits: Sizzl(er)ing in S.D.?
• San Diego is part of the longest kidney transplant “chain” in American history, ABCnews.com reports: “The idea behind a transplant chain is if someone needs a kidney and a friend or family member wants to donate but is not a match, then that donor will be paired with a recipient they do match, with the understanding their friend will also get a match.”
A total of 34 kidneys and 26 hospitals are involved.
• Locally, Highway 94 is roadkill central, a new report finds.
• The tribe has spoken! No, that’s not it. One day you’re in and the next day you’re out! Um… Sashay away! Oops, those aren’t right either. What reality-show phrase am I thinking of?
Oh, now it’s come to me: Pack your knives and go… to San Diego. “Top Chef” is heading our way, but we’re not getting an entire season. Instead, the cooking show is visiting six California locales including us.
• Speaking of restaurants, a bizarre 1991 video promoting the Sizzler chain (“Sizzler Is the One/Brings Us Choices!”) is making the rounds on the Internet and enduring more mockery than that time I wore a powder-blue suit to a job interview. (This happened about the same time, actually, but never mind.)
The early-1990s hair! The erotic subtext! The odd-looking child and creepy adult diner! Hey wait. There are shots of a sailor by the water, sailboats, an old-timey sea captain (I’m not making this up) and a family on a carousel. This all looks familiar. Could it have been shot at Seaport Village and the waterfront?
It’s hard to know for sure. But one thing’s clear: “Sizzler for the ’90s: exactly what America wants” really deserved a San Diego Fact Check.
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.