The Morning Report
San Diego news and info
you need to take on the day.
Eleven months out from the next mayoral election, and Kevin Faulconer’s sitting pretty.
Not a single Democrat has yet to challenge the current mayor as he gears up for re-election. And the party wouldn’t just need one brave soul to step up, Scott Lewis explains, it’d need two.
See, all the candidates would first face off in the June primary. In San Diego, one candidate can win without a runoff if he or she sweeps more than 50 percent of the primary vote.
Historically, Democrats don’t show up to the polls in the same numbers as they do during presidential elections. For a June primary, the party would likely need two viable candidates to draw enough votes away from Faulconer for just one of them to advance.
Lewis chats with some heavy-hitter Dems in town about the dearth of contenders.
Stacking Up the Comic-Con Stats
Two thousand and forty. That’s how many panels, programs, meet-ups and displays Comic-Con organizers have in store for attendees this year during the four-day comic and pop culture nerdfest.
If that sounds overstimulating, try to keep in mind more than 130,000 people usually show up at this thing. That’s an awful lot of attention spans to accommodate.
Tourism boosters in town point to Comic-Con as a substantial economic boost for the region, though they’ve trimmed down the exact estimate. Quantifying that local impact has many a number and stat involved, so Lisa Halverstadt went to work laying out the facts and figures in this by-the-numbers roundup.
Hands Off, Frodo
People have interests. Sometimes those interests so engulf them, the only true outlet is to gather en masse, dress up in costumes (“cosplay”) and bask in each others’ extensive knowledge of Marvel legend and “Game of Thrones” trivia.
Unfortunately, not everyone who shows up to these gatherings has the same sense of decorum or human decency as one might hope. That’s precisely what Comic-Con organizers (and victimized attendees) have found: Sexual harassment has become a growing concern, and one group in particular has been leading the charge against it.
Geeks for CONsent, KPBS reports, has gathered about 3,000 signatures to push Comic-Con organizers to improve the convention’s anti-harassment policies and enforcement. That’s on top of an audit released last week where Geeks for CONsent outlined some clear ways to fix the policies, including hiring more staff and volunteers to keep things in check where attendees congregate, and posting the policies around the convention center.
This, unfortunately, isn’t a new fight. Now’s a good time to revisit Sara Libby’s interview with the three ladies who started Geeks for CONsent, Rochelle Keyhan, Anna Kegler and Erin Filson. They talk about their efforts to work with Comic-Con and the incredibly frustrating push-back they often get.
Baja California Is Feeling the Drought, Too
Farmers on the other side of the border are getting nervous. Like San Diego, they rely on the Colorado River – it’s what keeps their cotton, wheat and alfalfa crops thriving.
But word is (from the Mexican branch of the International Boundary and Water Commission) that if a shortage is declared on the Colorado River, it’ll mean much smaller water deliveries to sustain their farms.
“The crisis that has hit California is still kind of like we’re watching a movie, and we really sympathize with the characters,” Carlos de la Parra, a researcher at the Colegio de la Frontera Norte told the Union-Tribune, “and we say, ‘they’re suffering,’ and we’re not understanding that we’re part of this picture.”
Utility Rates Goin’ Up (and Not Just on a Tuesday)
On Friday, the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to OK utilities’ plan to raise rates for many low energy users in the state. Utilities — SDG&E included — made the case that current rates unfairly penalized high-usage customers, the Desert Sun reported. Now the gap between what high-energy users and low-energy users pay will shrink dramatically.
I asked Lisa Halverstadt to weigh in on what this might mean for potential solar customers (she’s kind of the solar whisperer now): “That may mean folks who use lots of energy see a lesser payoff in going solar, but may also make it more attractive for some new customers.” Halverstadt’s written before on the utilities’ proposed changes and what they mean for solar users.
Hot Take: San Diego’s Better Off Without the Chargers
Ooh, he mad.
This column by the Union-Tribune’s Dan McSwain shot around San Diego internet over the weekend. McSwain’s premise: If the Chargers move to Los Angeles, San Diego would be much better off economically. That is, if we can figure out how to take the most advantage of an abandoned Qualcomm Stadium site. (Take a sec to check out Liam Dillon’s story on why exactly the current stadium isn’t a moneymaker.)
Toward the end of his column, McSwain gives a shoutout to commercial broker Gary London’s plan to draw in a big-time tech company. Scott Lewis laid out why San Diego’s own big-time tech company – ahem, Qualcomm – wasn’t so flattered with London and friends’ pitch for the space.
Encinitas City Council Is So Not Down with Density-Bonus Bill
The Encinitas City Council has taken a strong official stance against an Assembly bill that would make it easier to build additional homes on a given property in exchange for including some homes for low-income residents, the Coast News reported. “We maintain that density rounding and parking are local issues and local land-use decisions should be made at the local level,” Council members wrote in a second letter of opposition last week.
You might remember this bill from a recent Sacramento Report, where Andrew Keatts pointed out, “This is a rare case of Republicans advocating for stricter requirements on private market activity, while Democrats are the ones pushing for deregulatory legislation.”
We Watch Social Media So You Don’t Have to
• The Union-Tribune was very excited to see SportsCenter jump on the paper’s online poll.
• #MallowOut, the Ocean Beach Town Council’s campaign to end OBecians’ incredibly messy tradition of lobbing marshmallows at each other on July 4, was a great success. Looking at what 2013 wrought, the last two years’ quieting has been a big improvement.
• On trend this holiday weekend: alternate transportation. Councilman Todd Gloria sang the praises of the trolley and bikes on Twitter and Instagram. Local attorney and VOSD member Omar Passons was biking around too, but shared a different take on the ease level of cycling in San Diego.
• It’s two days later and I am still haunted by the abomination to both fruit and dessert that Brian Marvel, president of the police union, was allegedly enjoying on the Fourth.