The Morning Report
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This post has been updated.
Nearly a year since it first graced El Cajon Boulevard with its presence, the Mid-City Rapid 215 hasn’t quite lived up to expectations.
And those expectations had a long time to incubate. The Rapid project, which was supposed to be the boulevard’s faster, rider-friendly transit solution, was more than 10 years in the making. Initial plans included a dedicated lane for buses and transit stops with fancy ticketing machines to get passengers on board a little more quickly.
For the most part, the bus doesn’t travel in its own lane and the machines never came to fruition, and as Zoe Schaver reports, it doesn’t look like they’ll be added anytime soon. And while reliability was a big selling point ahead of the Rapid’s debut, the buses themselves have only been on time 84 percent of the time on average in the last nine months, according to MTS data.
Point: San Diego’s Primary System Is Broken
For some races in San Diego, an outright winner can be declared during the June primary if a candidate sweeps more than 50 percent of the vote.
Democrats and the labor crowd in town have a problem with that, and they’re pushing to change the City Charter to rid San Diego of that particular rule. Lower turnout during those June primaries means the outcomes don’t necessarily reflect voter sentiment, Councilman Todd Gloria has argued, and Councilman David Alvarez aired similar complaints on our podcast last week.
In a new op-ed, Lucas O’Connor, who serves on the executive board of the state’s Democratic Party and works in Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s office, makes the case for moving away from an “inconsistent and confusing system” that has “a chilling effect on competition and debate that undermines civic engagement.”
Counterpoint: The Democrats Can’t Hang
How convenient, several of those on the other side of the aisle say, that the Dems want to change the rules when it looks like they might lose a race.
That was roughly what we heard from political strategist Jen Jacobs when we had her on the podcast a couple weeks back. And now Ryan Clumpner, executive director of the Lincoln Club of San Diego County, is also calling efforts by Gloria and labor leader Mickey Kasparian “misguided.”
In a separate op-ed, Clumpner defends the current system, pointing out that the same primary rules in other cities seem to be working out OK for their left-leaning counterparts there.
Clumpner offers some closing words of advice: “Gloria and Kasparian could appeal to a broader coalition, register more voters who agree with them or increase turnout among current voters who agree with them. Any of those actions could change the outcome of elections without a self-serving change to the City Charter.”
Quick News Hits
• City Attorney Jan Goldsmith isn’t holding back on Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani. The Union-Tribune’s Michael Smolens highlighted some of Goldsmith’s more caustic remarks about Fabiani of late, throwing in a special shout-out to Scott Lewis for an early prediction that the Chargers are on their way out of town.
Smolens also imparts some advice that I’ve found reliable during bar debates, where broad characterizations and bombastic prophecies are par for the course: “Keep it vague.”
• Maybe you’ve been following the court battle between UC San Diego and University of Southern California, in which UCSD accused USC, where one of UCSD’s big-time researchers now works, of conspiring to steal research data and about $100 million in federal and private funding. It’s a nasty fight in academia for sure, but outside experts are also concerned about what this means for the future of Alzheimer’s research. (Los Angeles Times)
• One of the best things I read this weekend was a mini-profile of two ex-convicts who work with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition to help people just released from prison readjust to the world. The story begins with 65-year-old Dale Hammock as he leaves Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility just outside of San Diego, putting a 21-year stay in prison behind him. (New York Times Magazine)
• During the Cold War, the Soviet military went on an extensive mapping binge of the world, including our fine city. “The amount of detail suggests the maps were intended for more than just military planning,” Greg Miller writes for Wired. “It seems like information that could come in handy during an occupation.” A geographer offered a slightly less sinister theory: “the Soviets may have used the maps, in an era before computers, as a way to organize what they knew about the world both inside and outside their borders.”
What to Do With Yourself This Week
Have you snagged your seat for Thursday’s live podcast yet? It’s something we’ve been trying out this summer (and are hoping to continue into the fall) – pretty laid-back vibes, after work, at Thorn Street Brewery in North Park with all your wonk-appreciating friends.
It’s our usual show (catch up on recent episodes here or on iTunes if you’d like), but in person. Recording starts at 6 p.m., and it’s free! Just let us know you’re coming.
• Just ahead of Pride this weekend, Councilman Todd Gloria shared a sweet story of how he came out to his father, part of a collaborative promo between Uber and the It Gets Better Project.
• Pride festivities yielded a ton of joyful, fantastic photos this weekend, but Vintage San Diego shared one of my faves: an oldie but a goodie circa 1993.
• It was wet on Saturday, the record-breaking kind, and – sorry, Padres fans – pretty damp on Sunday, too.
Correction: An earlier version of this post said the Rapid 215 bus had no dedicated travel lane. It has one for a short stretch, but mostly travels in regular traffic lanes.