A huge piece of the debate around building a new stadium has boiled down to dollars and cents – and sense. That is, does it make any for San Diego to invest an obscene amount of money to appease a team with one foot (or both feet) out the door?
Some of that investment would likely come from the city’s and county’s general funds. These are the pots of money used for crucial public services – street repairs, emergency response, etc.
So Mayor Kevin Faulconer faces a dilemma: how to get taxpayers on board with using that money to build a new stadium. In a new column, Scott Lewis sees the mayor’s gears turning.
On Friday, Mary Lewis, the city’s chief financial officer, sent a memo to the City Council that detailed how much San Diego will spend on Qualcomm Stadium operations. It’s about $12.8 million this year alone, and more than $280 million estimated for the next 20 years.
So, Scott reckons, it looks like the city’s getting ready to make the case that using general fund money for a new stadium wouldn’t be worse than our current situation. That thinking might leave out, though, the fact that we’d have to pay for upkeep on a new stadium, too, unless the Chargers agree to foot that bill.
Fact Check: Packed-House Parking at the Zoo
Circling the parking lot – any parking lot – in an anxious quest to find a spot before your 4-year-old in the backseat loses his or her composure certainly sounds unpleasant. Tomas Herrera-Mishler, director of the Balboa Park Conservancy, told us during our live podcast last month this might be an all-too-frequent occurrence for visitors of the zoo.
“The zoo, for example, has to turn away people 100 days out of the year,” Herrera-Mishler said. If true, that nugget would add some weight to the argument that Balboa Park as a whole could use more parking.
But do the numbers reflect that? Reporting intern Zoe Schaver (whose last day was Friday – she heads back to school at UNC for the fall) ran that claim through the ol’ Fact Check machine. Turns out, there’s no hard evidence to back up Herrera-Mishler’s statement.
Post-U-T, Manchester Focuses on Real Estate
He might be out of the local media biz, but Doug Manchester’s got plenty of projects to keep him busy. And they’ll all help him wield influence over the city’s future for years to come.
VOSD contributor Lily Leung rounds up the major developments Manchester is juggling. There’s the land around the Union-Tribune building itself, which he hopes to turn into a 200-unit apartment complex. And there’s his white whale, the Navy Broadway Complex downtown, a highly desirable waterfront property that’s yielded legal battle after legal battle for Manchester. And don’t forget the Sempra building downtown – he’s still figuring out what to do there.
Whew! But don’t worry too much about Manchester’s stress levels. I’m sure he’s still got time for leisure activities.
Sacramento Report: Turnout Turnt Up
There seems to be some energized movement at the Capitol toward boosting voter turnout these days.
This week, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced he won’t appeal a decision that gives thousands of felons released under realignment the right to vote. And consider Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s measure to automatically register voters through the DMV – Padilla’s got his hand in that, and another bill that would expand mail ballot options around the state.
In this week’s Sacramento Report, Sara Libby takes a look at the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which lended some extra significance to those efforts this week, and the turnout tensions we’ve seen here at home. Also, get the scoop on Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins’ (possible) next move, an update on which legislators might be eyeing a stint on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and more.
• The Union-Tribune’s Steven Greenhut says the battle to watch when the Legislature returns from its break Aug. 17 will center on transportation.
Podcast: In Case You’re Considering Your Own Run for Office …
Make sure you read up on San Diego’s campaign finance rules first.
April Boling gave us the zippiest of tutorials on those during this week’s podcast. Boling is treasurer of the Republican Party of San Diego County, and a special type of certified public accountant who knows all about the “mountain of differences” between our local rules on campaign finances and the state’s. She’s also worked extensively with the city’s Ethics Commission, which has been caught in a bit of drama in the last month thanks to some controversial nominees.
We asked her about the ideal dynamics for the commission itself, and how things work between commissioners and staff. Scott Lewis, Andy Keatts and I also talk about atheist candidates, what it takes to turn around a failing school and more.
Quick News Hits
• Councilwoman Marti Emerald is hustling to gather support for a $280 million firehouse bond she hopes to land on the 2016 ballot. That money would cover building 19 new fire stations in Encanto, Liberty Station, Skyline and other communities. (Union-Tribune)
• The president of the California Public Utilities Commission has until Aug. 19 to release some records related to the failed San Onofre nuclear plant, thanks to Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, who chairs the Assembly committee that oversees utility matters. (Union-Tribune)
• The president of San Diego’s police union says on Twitter he expects some body camera footage will be made public in the next year when “privacy issues” are resolved at the state level. So far, the San Diego Police Department has said officer body camera footage would be used for internal purposes, not to reassure the public.
• Neighborhood Market Association president (and self-proclaimed national spokesman for Iraqi Christians) Mark Arabo pulled a Kimye during Hillary Clinton’s visit to La Jolla Friday. We’ve written before about Arabo’s political ambitions – maybe he’s finally smoothing out the kinks. Everyone knows selfies are a must.
• In the past, Arabo and the Neighborhood Market Association have fought back against tough anti-alcohol restrictions. On Tuesday, the El Cajon City Council will consider a carrot approach: rewarding stores that comply with the city’s alcohol sales regulations through the “Responsible Retailer Recognition Program.” (Union-Tribune)
Top Stories: Aug. 1–7
Here’s what stories Voice of San Diego readers were eatin’ up this week.
Check out the rest of the week’s 10 most-read stories here.