The Morning Report
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Recently, we published a piece and curated a discussion about plans, or lack there of, for smart growth in Logan Heights. Unlike other parts of the city where residents are fighting growth planning, there seems to be appetite for change here.
Instead, the industrial Riley Recycling is one of the types of businesses planners are protecting in their drafts of land-use plans. But it might face penalties if it doesn’t fix the way it dumps toxic metals. Put the emphasis on the might in that sentence: The state says it doesn’t have the resources to actually enforce the rules.
So local environmental attorneys are stepping in, reports VOSD’s Andrew Keatts: “They’re using a provision in the federal Clean Water Act that lets citizens enforce stormwater rules, and threatening a lawsuit to force the business to comply with state and federal law.”
Riley denies breaking the law but is willing to work things out.
Commentary: Bolts Just Aren’t Into Us
The headline on a new column by VOSD’s Scott Lewis puts the stadium situation into blunt terms: “It’s Over: The Chargers Are Done With San Diego.”
Lewis posted the analysis late Friday and it has quickly become among the top five most-read pieces on our site ever (and that’s without being yet mentioned in the hallowed Morning Report). Lewis chased down a little-discussed claim that the NFL’s vice president told the city it was wasting its time if it thought it could fund a new stadium with a real estate development on city land. After talking with the VP, he confirmed it and said, with other demands, it’s pretty clear the team is focused on getting a deal done in LA.
Charger fans only hope to keep the team is if that falls apart.
• Our story looking at the 20 San Diego Unified schools that local parents seem to be avoiding the most — and embracing the most — topped our most popular over the week before that. It was the most popular story on our site. Check out the full Top 10 list.
One Paseo Could Go to Public Vote
So much for all those voters who were reported to have withdrawn their petition signatures on a referendum regarding the controversial One Paseo project in Carmel Valley. Supporters of the project didn’t get enough of them: The referendum managed to get enough signatures from registered voters even taking the withdrawals into consideration.
This means the City Council must either pull its approval of the project or put it on the ballot in June 2016. The U-T says a survey showed a lot of opposition among people who are aware of the project, but a lack of awareness overall.
Critics, including a big-spending nearby shopping mall, say the project is poorly planned and will create too much traffic and pave the way for more massive and damaging projects. Supporters say it’s a sterling example of smart growth that protects the environment.
VOSD Podcast: Home Sweet Airbnb
The latest edition of the VOSD podcast features two guests. One is uber-wonk Omar Passons, a local attorney, who is pushing to support the right of local residents to rent out their homes temporarily though services like Airbnb. He fears that city rules are going to turn local residents into narcs who tell on their neighbors.
The other guest, Scott Gruby of SaveSanDiegoNeighborhoods.org, wants to ban out-of-towners from paying to stay on someone’s couch or in their spare bedroom: “What is more important, my quality of life, or the person next door basically making money?”
• Low-income people can sign up to get Section 8 vouchers that give them breaks on rent, KPBS says it’s getting even harder to find landlords who will accept them. The typical wait has reportedly grown from 30 to 45 days.
• Local rents keep going up at a much faster clip than local wages. While some new apartments are being built, the U-T says, they tend to be very expensive — in the $2,000-a-month range. Meanwhile, too few apartments are being built to handle the demand.
Quake City, USA
Yes, a huge, Nepal-style earthquake could strike California, the LA Times reminds us. After all, the 1906 San Francisco quake was around the same magnitude as this weekend’s 7.8 magnitude quake, and other California quakes have been even stronger.
The city of Los Angeles has been focusing heavily on earthquake safety in recent years, while San Diego hasn’t focused much on the issue. Here’s something you may not know: “U.S. Geological Survey created a simulation of a 7.8 earthquake on the San Andreas Fault near the Salton Sea to assess the damage to Southern California. The findings were grim. The model predicted 1,800 deaths and $213 billion of economic losses.”
Fortunately, San Diego has mostly escaped major damage from earthquakes, and the recorded history of the county only includes one death due to a quake: a hoarder whose books collapsed on him in a tiny downtown San Diego hotel when a 5.4 magnitude quake hit of Oceanside in 1986. In total, the quake injured 29 people and caused $1 million in damage, the equivalent of more than twice that today.)
But there’s still plenty of risk right here.
Quick News Hits: Burritos at Your Door
• Mexico may pick up the pace on construction of a new Otay Mesa border crossing. (KPBS)
• No, an appeal court says, protesters can’t carry signs around a part of SeaWorld where no trespassing is allowed. The court says it’s not public space. (U-T)
• Remember the crash of a Navy jet into a house in the city of Imperial Beach last year? Now, an Army vet whose family escaped injury says “said he was shocked to learn the U.S. government planned to pay him under $5,000 — even though officials told him they’d cover ‘whatever it costs’ to replace his family’s lost possessions,” NBC 7 reports. A military attorney reportedly blamed depreciation.
• The scandal alert level in the office of Supervisor Dave Roberts is high: Two of the three women who left his office within the last month are talking to attorneys. A former chief of staff wrote, according to the U-T, that Roberts engaged in “unprofessional conduct involving the alleged misuse of government resources and other questionable behavior, including alleged staff intimidation, coercion, and the creation of a hostile work environment.” County supervisors declined to give her a $75,000 settlement.
• An Uber-style app-based service called Postmates offers home delivery from local restaurants, including the elite (Project Pie, Carnitas Shake Shake) and the not-so-elite (Taco Bell).
Now, Chipotle will soon send food to your door via Postmates. Wow! Burritos with no driving required. My stomach is thrilled, but my belt says it would like to have a word.
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.