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Despite the apparent desire of the Chargers to get the heck out of town, San Diego officials are poised to spend a couple million dollars — at least — in a last-ditch bid to prevent a conscious uncoupling by appealing to the NFL.
Today, the City Council will decide whether to approve spending for a report that will analyze the effect of a new Mission Valley stadium on the environment; the NFL wants to see it.
VOSD’s Scott Lewis explains both of the decisions being taken: The mayor is asking the Council to spend money that could be used for anything the city needs. If we wanted to spend it on planning, for instance, $2.1 million is more than most community plans cost to update.
Secondly, the rushed environmental report will have a consequence: The city is taking real estate development around the new stadium off the table as a way to pay for that new stadium.
That means there is nothing — at all — public about how a stadium would be financed and yet we’re supposedly driving fast and furious toward a December of January vote to approve it. The mayor refuses to elaborate on his vision for fuding the stadium.
It would be a major blow to the mayor were the City Council to reject his move, so stay tuned.
• Here’s something we didn’t know: The Chargers have been negotiating with the L.A. Memorial Coliseum in an attempt to use it temporarily while a new stadium is built up there. A mayoral spokesman told us that this stinks.
• The U-T offers another poll of public opinion on the issue. Survey says: Those who responded think Comic-Con is more important to San Diego than the Chargers, and they aren’t big on the mayor’s plan to spend millions on an environment impact report.
• The U-T itself offered two competing views. Columnist Dan McSwain, like Lewis, seems baffled by the mayor’s insistence that real estate development will not be used to help pay for the stadium. He also calls the millions for environmental review a wager hoping for the NFL’s love. On the other hand, the U-T’s editorial board says we have to cough it up. “There really is no choice, other than giving up,” it wrote.
• HBO’s John Oliver, who’s poised to be the nation’s top political satirist when Jon Stewart steps down, likes to devote 20 minutes each week to revealing the truth behind big, messy issues. This week, he took on stadiums.
His targets: Their ludicrous extravagance and the stunning ability of sports teams to coax billions of dollars from local governments. San Diego’s drama gets some play in his devastating review.
Opinion: Uber Up for the Environment
Taxi drivers hate the new world of ride-sharing services, at least until they start working for them. Airports have only sluggishly agreed to work with them, and Hillary Clinton just called out Uber for the way it treats workers.
So what’s to like about Uber, Lyft & Co. other than their better prices, convenience and friendliness? Colin Parent, a local Democratic activist and policy counsel for Circulate San Diego, comes bearing praise in a VOSD commentary: The services encourage less driving and decrease pollution, he says, and state legislation to support them deserves support.
“California should also re-examine counterproductive local regulations that prevent traditional taxis from providing innovative transportation choices consumers want,” Parent says. “Legislators can follow San Diego’s lead on that front. The city eliminated medallion restrictions, at the urging of the local taxi drivers’ union.”
• “Greenhouse gas emissions won’t go down by much” under a new regional transportation plan, KPBS reports. “But to see that information, you can’t look at its public presentations or even its glossy plan — you have have to dig into its environmental impact report. The plan only shows emissions from cars and trucks because that’s all the agency says it’s responsible for. That’s the stance it took in 2011, when it got sued and Judge Timothy Taylor disagreed.”
• The U-T reports that UC San Diego has agreed to pay $30 million for naming rights for the new Trolley line going from Old Town through the campus. The university will also have its name on three stations along the way, which as one tweeter pointed out, could get a bit confusing.
Come and Get It: News Smorgasbord
• The Press-Enterprise has a moving story about the couple who got lost in North County’s backcountry in May and were stranded for weeks. Dianna Bedwell, 68, survived. Her husband, Cecil “Paul” Knutson, 79, died after getting lost. “I told him, ‘Honey we all make mistakes. We all make wrong choices,’” Bedwell said. “That’s all that was.”
• The Airbnb battle in San Francisco, which seems even more emotional and bitter than the one here, gets an extensive review in the San Francisco Chronicle. The details about the brouhaha there may provide helpful background as our own continues.
One finding: “At least 350 entire homes listed on Airbnb appear to be full-time vacation rentals, bolstering claims by activists that the service removes scarce housing from the city’s limited inventory.” CNET has more.
• The legal battle between USC and UC San Diego is getting spicier. (U-T)
• The city of San Diego decided to get to a “zero waste” status by 2040 and not have any trash going to the Miramar landfill by that year.
• The U.S. and Mexico are signing a pact “to address issues of sediment, trash and polluted stormwater that for years have plagued the Tijuana River watershed.” (U-T) This has been a long-standing problem.
• Former VOSD reporter Rob Davis, now with The Oregonian, has absolutely had it with news accounts that keep raising the “ick” factor about plans to treat sewage to turn it into drinking water. Check his Twitter rant against the U-T and its responses. As we’ve reported, recycled sewage is coming online sooner than we expected.
Are Geeks Getting Comic-Conned?
• Economists are divided over whether hotels should be friendlier, price-wise, to Comic-Con visitors. (U-T)
• Anyone from the city care to explain why it — according to the L.A. Times — provided a police escort for a motorcade of “Game of Thrones” stars to Comic-Con? One Twitter theory: Would you mess with these characters? Good point. Truth be told, even Gilly could take me, although I’d beat Brienne of Tarth in the height department.
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.