We’re pleased to announce Chris Ward and Anthony Bernal, who are both gunning for a seat on City Council, will join us for our live podcast recording on June 11. Grab a brew and hang out for the show as we tackle some of San Diego’s top news bits at Thorn Street Brewery in North Park. The event is free and open to the public, but we ask that you RSVP here.
For weeks, our lawyer Felix Tinkov and Editor-in-Chief Scott Lewis have been haggling with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to obtain messages he exchanged with the Chargers and mayor’s chief of staff in April.
None of the usual exemptions to the Public Records Act that officials cite applied here.
But the city attorney steadfastly refused, personally handling the correspondence and citing a catch-all exemption that allows him to simply decide it’s in the city’s best interest not to release the documents.
Wednesday, after saying he’d try to release them, he sent one last letter reiterating his refusal and warning that litigation wouldn’t matter because the messages would come out sooner than a judge would ever act. But less than 24 hours later, the mayor released the documents after the Chargers’ Mark Fabiani offered to summarize the exchange on the record.
So here’s the story: Turns out the city attorney had sensed in April that he needed to step in try to keep the mayor and Chargers from getting too distracted. Part of doing that, he expressed, would be to silence members of the stadium task force the mayor had convened and ask the mayor to not even say anything about their final report.
Well, he could say thank you, Goldsmith offered.
If anyone bucked his instructions to keep quiet, Goldsmith was ready to bring out the big guns: “If they violate the understanding,” he wrote, “I will be authorized to… express disappointment.”
(“What lightweights,” wrote the AP’s Bernie Wilson.)
The emails also reveal the Chargers had canceled a meeting with the mayor after someone from the task force said something insulting on sports radio.
• A special meeting of NFL owners has been scheduled for Aug. 11 so they can check in with the three teams in contention to move to Los Angeles. (KPBS)
• Former Chargers offensive lineman Nick Hardwick has shed a stunning amount of weight since he quit playing last year.
Old Beef: Who Reps the Convention Center
If you’ve loved reading Voice of San Diego a little extra this week, it’s probably because you’re really enjoying Beef Week. We understand; all those contests, conflicts and general discords that run deep beneath the major issues in San Diego make for great reading. As the week winds down, we dropped a clash that’s been carrying on for years: the fight over who controls the Convention Center.
In one corner, there’s the city’s nonprofit company that runs the Convention Center’s day-to-day operations. In the other corner, a nonprofit run primarily by hotel owners, called the Tourism Authority, formerly ConVis. The two nonprofits have swapped control of the Convention Center’s bookings before, and they both work to keep the Convention Center full. So you’d think they’d be partners, not adversaries, right? “They don’t get along. At all,” writes Andrew Keatts.
The Bully Who Grades You
Mario Koran takes on one of education’s most nasty issues: bullying. But not even the regular, I’m-bigger-than-you, playground kind of bullying. The really nasty stuff comes when it’s the teacher that’s doing the bullying and parents don’t know where to turn. Koran lays out several steps parent’s can follow if they are dealing with a bullying teacher, each step working up the chain of an institution that is responsible for investigating itself.
If none of that works? “People sometimes turn to reporters when nobody else will listen,” Koran writes.
The Crumbler: Deterioration Round-Up
If you’re in San Diego and you find yourself having that sinking feeling, it’s probably because you are! Sinking, that is. California’s cities are literally sinking into the ground at an astonishing rate, the Center for Investigative Reporting reports. It’s happening because we’re removing so much water out of the ground to deal with drought. “The sinking is starting to destroy bridges, crack irrigation canals and twist highways across the state,” they write. No public agency is even tracking the state-wide descent.
• The Salton Sea, accidentally created in 1905 by flooding from the Colorado River, is also in grave danger because of the drought. (SacBee)
• The repair backlog for poorly maintained infrastructure in San Diego keeps piling up as more reports are issued. (Daily Transcript)
• Local CBS TV station CBS 8 got an interview with President Obama, who is trying to rouse support for a new trade deal.
• But union head Richard Barrera called the president “far removed from our local situation.” (Politico)
• Local radio show host Carl DeMaio and former Mayor of San Jose Chuck Reed will try to qualify a pension reform initiative for the next state-wide ballot. (Monterey Harold)
• Give a big “Welcome Home!” to the sailors of the USS Carl Vinson, who on Thursday returned to San Diego from a deployment that stretched longer than nine months. (NBC 7)
• Twenty years after legalizing medical marijuana, California may finally get around to regulating it with a state agency. (San Antonio Express News)
• The San Diego Film Commission, which helped market San Diego as a location for shooting films until its funding was cut two years ago, may soon rise from the grave.
Famous Pet News
One of San Diego’s claims to fame is no more. The world’s oldest cat, named Tiffany Two, who lived in San Diego until the age of 27, died this week, Guinness World Records confirmed.
Meanwhile, San Diego’s own Chopper The Therapy Dog is now just Chopper the dog after the certifying agency revoked his therapy dog status on account of his motorcycle gang costume, according to KPBS.