Comic-Con, a gathering once devoted to comic books that’s become the nation’s largest pop-culture extravaganza, likes San Diego a lot. It’s sticking around at least through 2018 despite being wooed by other cities who’d love to play host to thousands of geeks, gawkers and Hollywood stars.

But Comic-Con has needs, and it’s making them known. VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt takes a look at what Comic-Con wants from our fair city, and much of it can be summed up this way: More convention center space so events won’t sprawl all over downtown.

“Comic-Con organizers want an expansion and they’ve got a clear preference on what that should look like,” Halverstadt writes. “They’d like to see a contiguous expansion — more space that’s connected to the current facility.”

Still, the event has expanded and succeeded wildly even without an expansion, Halverstadt notes. And though Comic-Con wants a contiguous expansion, it also wouldn’t say whether a separate expansion would drive the event away.

Dems Want to Change Primary Rules

The Democrats can’t seem to find a major candidate to run for mayor in 2016.

So why not change the rules? That’s what some local left-leaning leaders are saying. They want to require candidates to survive both a primary and a run-off, instead of allowing someone to win with the majority of the vote in a primary.

“Through any polling, [Mayor Kevin] Faulconer can be beat in November. But it’s pretty difficult to beat him in June. And that’s why I think our city’s got to change the charter and align ourselves with the way they decide things at the state level,” labor leader Mickey Kasparian told VOSD’s Scott Lewis.

Voters would ultimately have to approve any change in the rules. And any change, of course, could also backfire on the Democrats.

No Team? No Problem!

The city is adopting a “We can’t heaaaar you” approach to the bolting of the Chargers from stadium talks. Armed with supposedly positive tidings from the NFL itself, the city is moving ahead with an environmental review that’s expected to culminate in a public vote in January, the Union-Tribune reports. You’ll be paying for this, taxpayers: A City Council vote is scheduled next week on a $1.2 million consulting contract because the city apparently can’t go forward without the Chargers on its own.

Councilwoman Emerald on Cancer and Her Future

KPBS is out with a sensitive portrait of departing Councilwoman Marti Emerald, who’s stepping down next year. She acknowledges spending some time in denial after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had treatment last year. When it came time to consider running again, she didn’t automatically decide to jump into the race.

“Anybody who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness takes stock in their life,” she said. “What am I doing each day? How is it serving me and my interests? How is it serving my family? Am I doing the things I want to be doing?”

Also in the profile: Emerald wants to ask voters in 2016 to let the city borrow money to build new fire stations. She says the city needs 19 more stations on top of the 47 it already has.

• Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who just helped kill state legislation designed to facilitate assisted suicide, wrote about her mother’s death on Facebook.

Yo, Mayor! The Streets Plan’s Still Lame

One thousand miles of repaved streets sounds like a lot in a city with 2,800 miles of streets. But in the big picture, VOSD’s Liam Dillon explains, we’re still behind. “Even with the 1,000 miles of repairs, the city will still be at least $98 million short of the funding needed to meet its repair goals over the next five years,” he writes.

Blame our mayors, including the current one, for excessive exuberance. “None of the solutions (Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s) offered come close to making up the $1.7 billion funding shortfall in street and other needed repairs over the next five years.”

• The city’s still having a hard time keeping cops from leaving, the U-T reports. Check our previous coverage for more.

S.D. Online: My, What a Cute Drone

• On Twitter and his blog, VOSD member and attorney David Lizerbram sparked a discussion about the legal side of a recent San Diego Magazine story on restaurants falsely claiming they serve “farm-to-table” food. Click here to follow the chatter, and check our interview with local foodie Troy Johnson about his investigation into the issue.

• The LGBT rainbow flew over City Hall for the first time, the mayor announced on Twitter.

And the drones shall rule us all with Snoopy’s help.

• They grow mighty big onions in San Carlos, declares Councilman Scott Sherman via Twitter, or at least one mighty big onion.

Reminds me of the stadium debate: Pull back the layers and all you can do is cry.

Culture Report: Daring to Evolve

Ginger Shulick Porcella, executive director of the San Diego Art Institute, has been getting a lot of flak lately for changing things. “She’s replaced holding juried exhibitions with curated ones, started an artist-in-residence program and has made an effort to showcase artists from Los Angeles and Tijuana too,” says this week’s VOSD Culture Report. Porcella says change can be difficult.

• Speaking of culture, foodies and the chefs who serve them are having to adjust to the drought, the New York Times reports. “Home cooks and restaurant chefs are adjusting to a new reality in kitchens where water once flowed freely over sinks full of vegetables, and no one thought twice about firing up a big pot of water for pasta.”

Now, steaming is replacing boiling and cooks are trying to use fewer pots and pans. Meanwhile, the drought “has changed the quantity, quality, predictability and price of the state’s best produce.”

• Water prices are counterintuitively going up amid the drought, but at least you could save money in the long run by converting to solar, right? Well, not necessarily. It’ll be harder to zero out energy bills by going solar thanks to the new rate structure, the Union-Tribune reports. Lisa Halverstadt’s explained changes to the so-called net-metering system for solar users, as well as an expiring federal rebate that could also affect future solar customers’ pocketbooks.

All’s Lost (and Found) at the Fair

The Reader drops by the just-ended county fair and finds the lost-and-found office “received 24 wallets, 174 keys, 68 pieces of jewelry, 87 IDs or driver’s licenses, 128 credit cards, 232 items of clothing and 226 cell phones.”

Plus a violin that children got to play at a booth: “Some kid walked off with it, the parents probably realized what had happened, and ditched it in a planter.”

Wait, there was a booth where kids got to play instruments? As a guy who played clarinet in junior-high band class, let me say that the violin’s disappearance sounds like a public service.

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 ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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