The Morning Report
San Diego news and info
you need to take on the day.
When it comes to building a new football stadium, both the city of San Diego and the county of San Diego are playing ball. But one is not like the other.
The county’s been reluctant to spend money on a rush-rush-rush city plan to push things through, saying it can’t proceed on that front without an election.
Or can it? As VOSD’s Scott Lewis reports, county officials have decided that they don’t have to have a normal county election. You know, one in which county voters would vote. The rule — which county leaders can dump — simply requires an election. It could be any kind of election: one in the city itself, or even, apparently, one with only you and me.
There’s another twist: What happens if county leaders blow off their own rule? Nothing, says the top county attorney.
Meanwhile, the county isn’t completely out of the game: It agreed Tuesday to spend $500,000 more in taxpayer money on the stadium project. (City News Service)
• L.A. stadiums aren’t rushing to temporarily host an NFL team like the Chargers. (L.A. Times)
• Some People Are So Sensitive Department: The L.A.-area city of Inglewood, which has big dreams about landing an NFL team, has launched a bizarre copyright lawsuit against a guy who mocked the mayor by making videos featuring clips from council meetings.
Little Energy Behind Jacobs Plan
The controversial Jacobs makeover plan for Balboa Park doesn’t seem to be quite dead, but its vital signs are pretty weak, VOSD’s Catherine Green reports.
There are a few problems beyond a lack of enthusiasm: Two City Council candidates vying to replace Todd Gloria aren’t big on the idea, and there could be even more court drama. And the man who gave his name to the plan isn’t rushing to bring it back to life.
Environment Roundup: Dump Track
• Remember when we told you a little while ago that we’re not actually running out of space for trash despite all the never-ending hoopla about landfill space? Now, the city is announcing that the Miramar landfill has more life left and will be a dump beyond 2022.
• KPBS takes a deeper look at the city’s climate change plan. Among other things, the plan expects a remarkable transition in how people get to work: By 2035, half are supposed to commute by foot, bike or public transit.
• Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, a San Diego legislator and announced non-candidate for mayor in 2016, tells KPBS that she wants to find a better way to fund roads than to sock gas buyers with hefty taxes. Electric cars don’t pay the tax, and an estimated 200,000 of them are tooling around the state.
First Black Political Leader Looks Back
A new biography chronicles the life of Leon Williams, San Diego’s first black councilman and county supervisor. “It was a very different time,” he tells KPBS about 1969, when he joined the Council. “Many didn’t have much respect for African Americans.”
Williams, now 92, walked through an inner-city neighborhood in 1969 and asked a KPBS reporter: “How can a man improve his home when he lives next to a wrecking yard?” As we’ve noted in story after story, San Diego neighborhoods like Barrio Logan and Logan Heights still battle the legacy of homes mixed with industry.
Inmate Deaths, Suicides on Rise
The death of Sandra Bland in Texas has finally focused the spotlight on the thousands of inmates who die each year behind bars. Suicide — something that should ideally be impossible in jail or prison — is the leading cause of death.
Now, new federal statistics show that the numbers of suicides and deaths overall are on the rise, NBC 7 reports. The extraordinarily high number of deaths in San Diego jails per capita has drawn intense attention — but little public outcry — in recent years. At least 16 inmates died in 2014.
• “The City Council Tuesday approved nearly $1 million in legal settlements to two women abused by a former San Diego police officer, who later pleaded guilty to criminal charges and spent five months behind bars,” City News Service reports.
From Nuclear Want Not to Nuclear Waste Not?
NBC 7 digs into even more drama over the now-defunct San Onofre nuclear power plant. While nuke skeptics might think they can breathe easy now that the thing is shut down, 3.6 million pounds of leftover nuclear waste needs to go somewhere. The plan: Dump it underground along the coast. Our coast.
Quick News Hits: A Bitchin’ Brouhaha
• The trouble-plagued North County public transit system is facing even more turmoil as ex-bosses testify against the agency’s CEO, accusing him of bullying older employees in order to eventually hire good-looking young women. (Inewsource)
• Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar hasn’t officially announced a run for county supervisor, but the Union-Tribune’s Logan Jenkins wagers she’s in. Gaspar would offer a moderate Republican alternative to Escondido Mayor Sam Abed.
• In 2014, some local veterans endured six-week waits to get primary care appointments with the VA medical system. Now, they can get in within days, says the local VA, which is touting improvements. (Union-Tribune)
• Two of the guys behind Bitchin’ Sauce, a popular dip for chips and such that’s sold at local farmer’s markets, have issued an SOS via a crowdfunding site to fight what they say are “attempts from one of our own to take control of ‘Bitchin’ Sauce’ from our company Bitchin’ Inc.”
Sounds like a drag all around, but at least we can look forward to a legal case titled Bitchin’ vs. Bitchin’. May be the best -in’ win!
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.