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Please join us next week for our monthly Member Coffee on Wednesday, May 27, from 9-10 a.m. at the Verne Goodwin Mira Mesa Senior Center. Space is limited, so please e-mail Christina Shih at email@example.com to secure a seat.
Special guests joining us next week include District 6 Councilman Chris Cate and VOSD freelance reporter Kelly Davis, who recently published a story about Victor Ortega, a 31-year-old Mira Mesa resident who was shot and killed by a police officer who claimed self-defense.
The new proposed football stadium deal depends on a lot of assumptions, and VOSD’s Scott Lewis believes one is quite a humdinger: the requirement that the city sell 75 acres of land next to the current stadium.
The hitch: “It’s zoned for a stadium. It’s hard to picture a developer wanting to buy it with no guarantees they could build anything but a stadium.” But a zoning change takes time, Lewis writes, maybe a year or two. Maybe any other company seeking a giant taxpayer subsidy would be OK waiting but “we’re talking about the NFL and the Chargers. To them, this is the kind of hole in the plan they can drive a truck through.” Or a stadium.
• Lewis also writes separately there are big questions about another stadium-related plan: A public vote touted by the mayor (but not the task force). Here’s what’s still uncertain: “When would a public vote happen? What would we vote on? And who, precisely, would vote?”
The county’s involved, but would its voters get to take part? What if they say no, but city voters say yes? Or vice versa?
More questions from the Morning Report: Is 50 percent plus one vote OK? (Hi Randy, this is Scott: Yes, that would be the vote. Probably be an advisory vote too, without much legal meaning but a must-win for stadium supporters.)
Might someone put an alternative plan on the ballot to compete? (Scott: Sure, but probably not. They would have to have a financial interest in it. Or maybe the Chargers would. That’d be hilarious.) And does a no vote mean no or would it just be an incentive for everyone to try again, like those failed school bonds that keep coming back from the dead in new forms? (Scott: What failed school bonds? Don’t school bonds always win? My personal opinion is that the Chargers really want to move to Los Angeles. Maybe they’ll fail but that’s what I think their hope is. So no, I think we’ll resolve this one way or another within the year.)
Critics Claim Water-Saving Boosts Bills
Water agencies in Southern California have been paying off residents and businesses to tear out lawns and replace them with plants that use less water, but now critics are “questioning whether the biggest of these programs will save much water anytime soon,” VOSD’s Ry Rivard reports. One of the biggest naysayers about the value of the programs: the San Diego County Water Authority.
SDPD Has Rape Kit Backlog
Undergoing a “rape kit” examination after a sexual assault is, virtually by definition, traumatic and humiliating. But the findings of such an exam can “help lead to identifying an attacker or a rapist. The kits can contain clothing, hair samples and swabs that may hold DNA evidence,” NBC 7 explains.
But not if the exam results are never tested. A new report finds that the San Diego Police Department has nearly 3,000 untested rape kits. The number sounds shockingly high, but it’s not clear why they weren’t tested.
• Injured SDPD officer Heather Seddon has been released from the hospital after being injured in a shootout with a driver. She was shot in the neck; the shooter was shot and killed, possibly by a self-inflicted wound. (U-T)
• If you’re thinking you’ll get to see video shot by police body cameras in major incidents, keep this comment by Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman at a conference in mind: “We don’t release video to the media, period.” In other words: Transparency, schmansparency. (That’s a rush transcript.)
• UCSD is working with Tijuana cops to help them prevent injury and possible infection from needle sticks. (KPBS)
• Dave Maass, a former San Diego CityBeat reporter who now works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation civil rights outfit, writes in a Sacramento Bee commentary that “now is the time for the public and Legislature to ask whether law enforcement agencies can be more transparent about deaths in their custody.”
Culture Report: When Science Met Beer
The Science of Beer is huge in these parts, as just about everyone seems to be poised to figure what hops are and promptly open a craft brewery in their granny flat. But now there’s something new on the horizon: Science and beer.
VOSD’s weekly Culture Report has the details about a new partnership between the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, the Pint of Science organization and local beer joints.
Also in the Culture Report: steel wool, naked students (hopefully not near the steel wool), “organ-ing” (get your mind out of the gutter) and a hardcore diver.
• A DJ/producer named Steve Aoki is “being sued by a concertgoer after a San Diego show where Aoki jumped into the crowd riding an inflatable pool raft. The plaintiff, Brittany Hickman, claimed in her suit that she became trapped under the raft and broke her neck and ankle.” (L.A. Times)
Quick News Hits: Don’t Panic!
• As San Diego voters await a chance to vote on a higher minimum wage, the Los Angeles City Council has approved boosting the minimum wage in the nation’s second-largest city to $15 an hour by 2020. The vote: 14-to-1. The minimum currently is $9 an hour. (L.A. Times)
L.A. will still be behind San Francisco and, possibly, New York City.
• “The city should amend a management agreement with the San Diego Convention Center Corp. to provide for greater oversight and clarify the types of expenditures for which each entity is responsible, the county grand jury recommended Tuesday,” City News Service reports.
• We’re a fit bunch, still: San Diego ranks third (behind — get this — Washington D.C. again at No. 1) in a ranking of the healthiest metro areas. Guess all that craft beer isn’t beer gut-ting us.
• Remember “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency,” the fictional creation of the late author Douglas “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” Adams? It’s now going to be a comic book featuring the holistic detective working in… San Diego (!).
First order of business: Find my missing glasses. Second order of business: See first order of business. Lost ’em again.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.