As the debate over keeping the Chargers continues to preoccupy local politicians, you may have heard some claims about how a nice new stadium at just $1 billion-$1.5 billion will pay dividends by bringing the Super Bowl here.

Sounds … super? Well, maybe not in the way people would like you to think. VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt tackles three super-sized Super Bowl myths: The games give a big boost to local coffers (they don’t), they pay for themselves (nope) and a new stadium will bring a bonanza of multiple Super Bowls (dream on).

• The city of Carson upped its game: The City Council unanimously moved forward a football stadium proposal that envisions the Chargers and the Raiders playing in the same place.

The idea, the U-T reports, is to build a $1.7 billion stadium on the site of a former dump. (Insert your own snark here.) Meanwhile, another stadium proposal looms in Inglewood. Fun fact: Legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell displayed “vehement disgust with public stadium funding” when he was around, USA Today says.

Water Rebates Evaporate Quickly

Just the other day, the mayor touted a program that gives rebates to residents and businesses if they dump their green lawns in favor of plants that like it dry. Guess what: The money’s all gone.

As VOSD’s Ry Rivard reports, about 350 applicants swooped in and applied for the hefty rebates, which only became available last week. A similar county program has run dry too.

What’s a water saver to do? We offer several tips. Among them: You might be overwatering as it is, and many plants can go for weeks without watering, like certain trees and the rose bushes that I keep forgetting about. You could go for artificial turf too, but a gardening guru tells us that won’t help bees and birds. Not to mention that the city might come by and be inspired to turn your yard into a football stadium.

• Never mind: KPBS discovers that prominent court ruling over tiered water rates, which jack up prices per unit when people use a lot of water, won’t disrupt water pricing around the county except possibly in part of the South Bay.

• If you see a headline with a question mark in it, the answer is almost always “no.” Case in point: This headline from GrubStreet: “Have You Eaten Your Last Avocado?

Of course you haven’t, unless you hate them or you’re about to shed this mortal coil. (If so, can I have your avocados?) But, as the story says, the drought is creating a real problem farmers in North County’s Fallbrook area, one of the nation’s centers for avocado production.

The story features lots of trivia about avocados, including this one: The Fallbrook Avocado Festival features a “Little Miss and Little Mister Avocado Festival competition, in which kids are dressed up, pageant style, and the Best Decorated Avocado Contest, in which avocados are dressed up, pageant style.”

Commentary: Give School ‘Complex’ a Break

In a VOSD commentary, local resident Monta Briant objects to lumping together the four mini-schools that used to be one (San Diego High) in our look at the schools that local parents seem to be trying to avoid the most. The schools in the “San Diego High Complex” deserve to be considered separately, she writes, since they are separate.

Meanwhile, we’ve put together a roundup of online comments about our story. Our Scott Lewis suggests that the primary responsibility of parents is to their kids, not their local school, so it’s OK to send children elsewhere. But parent Sara Morrison has a different view: “I believe that if it is broken, I have an obligation to help fix it.”

Politics Roundup: Emerald Reflects

• City Hall was mobbed yesterday as a City Council committee spent part of yesterday wrestling with what to do about short-term Airbnb rentals. Meanwhile, the city of Carlsbad will only allow them near the coast.

For background about the whole Airbnb dispute, check our previous coverage of this hot-button issue.

• The city’s sidewalk review found “70,000 instances of sidewalk cracks, tree-damaged sidewalks and uplifted sidewalks, meaning places where one sidewalk panel is higher than another,” KPBS reports.

Councilwoman Marti Emerald is talking about her decision to retire from the City Council after undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer: “Eight years is really enough. I’ve never been a fan of term limits, but I can understand that after eight years, it’s easy to get cynical or take things for granted and I never want that to happen.”

Her chief of staff, Ricardo Flores, will run for her seat, which serves much of Mid-City, including Kensington, the College Area and City Heights. (NBC 7)

Taxi Drivers Hit Roadblock

No one who drives, owns or rides in San Diego taxis has been happy lately. Drivers and owners accuse each other of squeezing them, and riders — not just airport commuters and barhoppers but also low-income seniors — must put up with some of the highest taxi prices in the nation.

Now, despite a rocky first few years nationally, Uber and Lyft are bringing convenience and lower prices to town as taxi drivers and owners wrestle over the rules governing their business. As CityBeat reports, a driver organization is facing a legal challenge as it tries to create its own Uber-like taxi service in conjunction with the region’s labor council.

‘Trouble Afoot’ at CityBeat

The leftie blog San Diego Free Press often sees dire anti-progressive conspiracies in the local press. This time, it detects “trouble afoot” at the alternative weekly CityBeat. “While I’m guessing some coverage of interest to progressives will continue to appear, the heart and soul of the organization appear to be headed in another direction,” writes Doug Porter.

Indeed, ex-CityBeat reporter Kelly Davis wrote on Facebook that she’s been told she’ll no longer contribute to the newspaper on a freelance basis. Her post came right after she made allegations regarding the newspaper’s labor practices. Meanwhile, longtime editor Dave Rolland recently took a job with the office of legislator Toni Atkins, the state Assembly speaker.

• In a legal rebuttal, Inewsource has reminded attorney Cory Briggs, who’s feuding with the non-profit news outlet in court, that he can’t order it around with a subpoena because it’s protected by reporter-shield laws and the First Amendment.

Quick News Hits: Yelp Behind Bars

• Over at the waterfront, parking will be easier for drivers who have trouble finding quarters but it’ll be more expensive overall, and new meters will be enforced even on Sundays.

• Journalists have been writing “Fact Checks” for decades, but only in recent years have they become a staple of online sites like PolitiFact and VOSD. There’s been plenty of debate among journalists about best practices (and worst practices), with some gurus pushing to make sure fact checks are fair and relevant. Now, the New York Times reports on a new study that finds “long-term exposure to fact-checks can improve political knowledge.”

• The Reader visits Yelp, the online site best known for compiling reviews of restaurants by ordinary folks, and finds something unique: Reviews of the Las Colinas women’s jail.

Supposed inmates complain about poor baloney sandwiches (“every sandwich was made with at least one heel”), “shady” fellow prisoners, messy restrooms, “unattractive staff” and more. “Meh. I’ve experienced better,” says one reviewer.

Did the Reader get snookered by clearly fake reviews or is it in on the gag? Whatever the case, this jail needs to step up its game if it’s going to get my patronage.

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 and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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