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For years, San Diego has been trying to figure how out to expand its Convention Center to accommodate the needs of growing conventions.
Until it got thoroughly shut down, there was only one solution proponents wanted: Build an expansion on to the existing structure. A lot of time was spent explaining why nobody wanted a separate building on nearby, but non-contiguous, land.
Turns out expansion proponents might think an unattached, offsite expansion may not be such a bad idea after all. Ashly McGlone reports on how the city’s top expansion honcho, Steve Cushman, thinks conventioneer tastes may have changed since a 2013 survey found 98 percent of existing Convention Center customers thought it was critical to have contiguous event space. “We just need to know what it is that our customer wants,” Cushman said. And know he shall, once a new $90,000 report due in August reveals current customer sentiment on the very same question of contiguous space.
The space they have in mind for the offsite expansion, Tailgate Park near Petco, is the same space that has long been considered and studied for this project. Aside from finding customers who didn’t want a non-attached expansion, one expensive study found an earthquake fault line running directly underneath the proposed site.
Camera Action Kept Dark
When the chief of police requested body cameras for officers in 2014, you may have thought than an important first step had been taken toward greater police accountability. But in the months since police body cameras have been in use, the conversation has quickly focused on the accessibility of recorded videos and how to protect the privacy of those whose actions are featured on the videos.
“San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman has clarified that body cameras are an investigative tool for officers, not a transparency tool for the public,” writes Catherine Green. Private citizens are unlikely to get their hands on police videos, short of a court order. But SDPD is working on standardizing some body camera policies, such as requirements to film and random audits of officer-worn cameras.
• Citizens on Thursday night had a chance to give the City Council input on what they would like to see changed about the city’s charter, which is its foundational legal document. Many advocated for more power to be given to the Citizens Review Board. We explained advocates’ gripes with the current board earlier this week.
Small Schools, Big Challenges
This week’s Learning Curve answers questions about the “small school” model, where big public school campuses launch several smaller academies within their school, each focused on a different interest. The idea is to let ninth graders choose which focus they want to participate in, create the appearance of a smaller school, and watch the positive results pour in. But it doesn’t always work like that. “It’s difficult to get it right,” Mario Koran writes. “Disparities in outcomes are stark,” leading parents to flee mediocre schools and flock to the most successful ones.
Slowing Solar: San Diego Explained
Big changes are on the horizon for how solar panels are incentivized in California. And if you add the potential increase in cost of owning solar panels to a potential increase in cost of electricity for solar panel owners, you’ve got a storm brewing that could ruin the party for anyone considering going solar. Lisa Halverstadt joins NBC 7’s Catherine Garcia to throw light on how electric industry interests may eclipse those of solar users in our most recent San Diego Explained.
Roberts Round-up: A Challenger Appears
With a continuing list of allegations against him, some people are starting to think County Supervisor Dave Roberts is looking vulnerable in his bid for re-election in 2016 — or that he might not make it that long. That has sparked speculation that a whole bunch of Republican candidates are mulling whether to run against him. inewsource assembled some of the top names rumored to be interested, among them City Councilman Mark Kersey and state Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, as well as one confirmed candidate, Escondido Mayor Sam Abed. They’ll all have to bring a sizable war chest to the fight, inewsource writes. “It’s a half-million-dollar race for the winning candidate,” said campaign consultant Jason Roe.
• Lawsuits in the Dave Roberts drama are flying both ways, now. On Thursday, Roberts’ employee Harold Meza filed a lawsuit against two of his former co-workers who have recently made public allegations that he and Roberts have had an inappropriate relationship. Meza accused the two of creating a hostile work environment.
• An embattled former aide to former congressional candidate Carl DeMaio, who made public allegations against DeMaio during last year’s campaign, was charged in federal court with witness tampering. (U-T).
• NPR travels to the docks of San Diego to answer why, if blue fin tuna is increasingly rare, it is being sold for dirt cheap prices at local fish markets.
• The sands of Ocean Beach, June 11, 2015: covered in these weird crabs.
• ‘Tis the season of announcing candidacy for public office. On Thursday it was Chief Deputy City Attorney Mara Elliott’s turn, announcing her intention to replace her current boss, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who is termed out. (Times of San Diego)
• Just as bell-bottoms and handlebar mustaches have cycled back into popularity, so it will go with Crystal Pepsi. (Fox 5)
Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the year of a study that found Convention Center customers wanted a contiguous space. That study was released in 2013.