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Back in 2001, the city promised it would promptly make the football stadium accessible to the disabled. Now, 14 years and $5 million in repairs later, they’re not done yet, and taxpayers are paying for the city’s delays.
Last year alone, the city coughed up $600,000 to the Chargers to pay for discounted tickets and free parking for people with disabilities. That’s the city’s way of making up for the fact that the stadium is still not ADA-compliant, VOSD’s Liam Dillon reports.
Overall, we estimate that the city has paid $10 million over the years on repairs and recompense.
• VOSD’s Beef Week continues with more looks at big local feuds. First, the biggest fight in our richest community: La Jollans vs. La Jollans. Wait, that’s always going on. Let’s narrow it down: Sea Lions vs. Noses.
Yes, sea lions. They’re fun to look at when they hang around at La Jolla Cove, but the problem is that they poop all over the place. Consequently, they make quite a stink, one that’s no joke. The smell actually makes people want to flee instead of spend money at local shops and restaurants. Our story offers an update on how things are going and why the odor might be on the way out.
• Our arts correspondent Alex Zaragoza checks in on another feud. This one pits local artists against RAW: natural born artists. (No, those words aren’t capitalized. That’s how you know they’re being artistic.)
What’s wrong with RAW, an organization devoted to helping artists showcase their work? Critics say RAW’s events are “pay-to-play.” The idea is to get exposure by paying for it. Of course, as we say in the world of freelance writing, “you can die of exposure.”
Speaking of beefs about the arts, this week’s VOSD Culture Report includes links to stories about a possible arty exodus from North Park, the agony of supporting the arts for free, and a miffed gallery in Escondido.
They Talk, We Hear Nothing
The Chargers and local officials held a brief meeting yesterday. No one seems to be peeping about what happened beyond happy talk about “a productive discussion,” which makes it sound like they all gobbled some expectorants to treat chest congestion. (City News Service/KPBS)
NBC 7 San Diego has good footage of the Chargers owner and his longtime consultant on this issue, Mark Fabiani, not answering questions.
Meanwhile, the U-T is learning more about the Chargers bid to move to the L.A.-area city of Carson.
Hitting Snooze on Minimum Wage Debate
Well, we can all look forward to a rip-roaring debate over the minimum wage in 2016, when the … uh… Zzzzzz. Wait, what? Oh hi! Sorry, it’s just that we may not have a debate at all.
You see, the city is supposed to vote on boosting the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by 2017. But the state Senate wants to go further (to $13) and the Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins has said that’s about where it should be. Lorena Gonzalez, also an assemblywoman, is a co-author. If it passes our own debate is moot.
“The governor is now the biggest wild card,” VOSD’s Scott Lewis reports. “If he rejects a push to raise the minimum wage even higher — and his signature is hardly guaranteed — individual battles in places like San Diego might still rage.” What’s more, it’s not clear who’s going to try to oppose the local hike.
• Lewis will be on the public radio show Here and Now today at 9:20 to discuss some of the biggest issues in San Diego. Here and Now’s Robin Young is hosting the show out of KPBS all week.
City Buildings in Poor Shape
The hits just keep on coming. The city’s sidewalks and streets are a mess, and now a report says half of city-owned buildings are in poor condition. A U-T story doesn’t say what that means, so it’s hard to know if any are dangerous or in risk of falling down, which is implied by the “poor.”
Here’s an interesting tidbit: The report says city buildings that the public uses must be in “good” condition, while the rest of them can be in “fair” condition. Lucky you, public!
Report: Homeless Project Pays Dividends
A new report says a project to take the most costly homeless off the street “helped find housing for 36 homeless people and helped the county save $3.5 million in emergency medical and social services,” KPBS reports. Check our 2013 story for details about early participants.
Quick News Hits: Snakes in a Loo
• Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decision to grant clemency to Esteban Nuñez, the son of a political friend, was outrageous and offensive to many. “On Tuesday, a California appeals court said the former governor’s action was nonetheless within his rights, and upheld the reduced prison term,” reports the LAT. Read the LAT’s excellent deep dive into the case from late last year and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ role in the saga.
• San Diego is still having a really hard time getting its act together on water conservation. New numbers from April tell the unhappy story, which is not entirely due to all those glasses of water that I’m requesting at restaurants.
• The U-T looks back at historical battles over the wisdom of building in a region that’s prone to drought.
• We’ve still got a ways to go until the 2016 elections, but local candidates are already reaching out to voters. Just this past weekend, a campaign brochure landed in my mailbox from legislative chief of staff Christopher Ward, who wants to replace termed-out Councilman Todd Gloria.
The brochure includes the usual: Endorsements, photos of the smiling candidate at Balboa Park, a pledge to “take our neighborhoods forward.” (Pro-tip: Beware hopefuls who say the opposite.) There’s even a helpful list of “Useful Phone Numbers” to call in case of situations like a ringing car alarm, graffiti or “python in toilet.”
Like that’s ever going to happen! C’mo… Oh wait. I forgot this local headline from January: “Snake Slithers Into Downtown PR Firm’s Toilet.” The snake in question was a boa constrictor.
Never mind contacting animal control. If there’s a python in the loo, just alert the media. Then call Christopher Ward.
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.