The Morning Report
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I’m not sure the whole “art imitates life” thing really hits home with anyone else as much as it does in California.

To put it another way, HBO is our life, and our life is HBO.

That’s really the only conclusion to draw after some of the developments of the past month or two.

First, there was Season two of “True Detective” – which, if you cut through 75 layers of convoluted plot, involved the small city of Vinci, based on tiny Vernon near L.A., and California’s yet-to-be-built high-speed rail line.

The synergy between the fictional plot and California’s actual attempt to built out high-speed rail has delighted conservatives who’ve always hated the project.

Call it a timing fluke, but as the season got under way, news reports about the viability of the real high-speed rail project started to kick into gear. Investors were warming to the idea. One of them is named … Vinci Concessions.  And this week, when KQED took a look at interest peddling in Sacramento, it found the city that spent the most per capita on government lobbying was – yep – little old Vernon.

Then there’s another HBO storyline that viewers in other parts of the country might’ve found delightfully weird but we know is all too familiar. I’m talking about legalizing ferrets. That issue wound its way into the latest season of “Silicon Valley.”

And, like clockwork, the legalization push roared back into the news Friday. A new ferret initiative has been cleared to collect signatures.

So, fall’s around the corner. My money’s on either a “Girls” road trip through Big Sur in which Shosh wanders into the woods to pee, finds a drum circle and never returns, or the “winter” we’ve all been waiting for on “Game of Thrones” involving a devastating drought. Instead of having to acquire a fleet of ships, Dany just strolls across the mostly evaporated Narrow Sea and takes over.

What VOSD Learned This Week

To build or not to build – that seems to be the eternal question rankling San Diego, and I’m not just talking about a stadium. (Although I’m not not talking about a stadium.)

We wrote about quite a few divisive projects this week:

Who: San Diego International Airport

Wants to Build: An $80 million mega parking structure on North Harbor Drive

The Deal: The airport told the Coastal Commission in 2009 it didn’t need to build the garage, and that not building it would encourage public transit use. Now, it says that didn’t work and that the garage is a must-have. The Coastal Commission told its board to approve the garage – but only if airport officials encourage travelers to take public transit to the airport, bypassing the need to park there.

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Who: L.A. developer Caruso Affiliates

Wants to Build: A shopping mall on Carlsbad’s Agua Hedionda Lagoon

The Deal: Caruso is latching on to a new-ish strategy that’s been deployed to push through plans to build stadiums in Inglewood and Carson without going through a CEQA review. The developer collected enough signatures from Carlsbad voters to put the plan before the City Council – if the Council OK’s it, the plan wouldn’t go before voters or need a CEQA review.

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Who: El Monte Nature Preserve LLC, plus Michael Beck, one of the county’s top environmentalists

Want to Build: A sand mine that would involve tearing up a three-mile stretch of the San Diego River basin near Lakeside

The Deal: Save the environment by temporarily destroying it? That’s what Beck thinks is the best course. He wants to let El Monte mine for 15 years, then have the company turn over the land so its natural habitat can be restored.

♦♦♦

Who: The Three Amigos (Mayor Kevin Faulconer, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and County Supervisor Ron Roberts), et al

Want to Build: A new Chargers stadium

The Deal: Faulconer’s stadium proposal unveiled this week called the plan “a better deal for taxpayers” than the current one involving Qualcomm Stadium. That obscures the fact that the new plan would be a bigger investment of taxpayer funds than what’s happening now.

What Else VOSD Learned

 The city released potential guidelines for Airbnb and other short-term rentals this week but the issue is far from settled.

 The fate of Civic San Diego, Toni Atkins’ affordable housing bill and statewide infrastructure loom large as the Legislature enters the home stretch.

For politicians, more potholes can translate to fewer votes.

 If you’re shopping for a good preschool, the student-teacher interaction is one of the most important factors.

 Your water bill helps subsidize purple pipe users, like big golf courses.

 Crossing the border every day is a trip, man.

What I’m Reading

• After the University of Minnesota’s athletic director resigned abruptly in a sexual harassment scandal, a Star-Tribune reporter who covered him came forward with her own story.

 How apps can enable racist behavior. (Fusion)

 You are my hero, Brian from the San Diego Fire Department. (Huffington Post)

• A club no one wants to join: the mothers whose children left to join ISIS. (Highline)

• The story behind an Ivy League student from El Cajon who became a reluctant gun-rights poster girl. (Buzzfeed)

Line of the Week

“He sported a handlebar mustache rivaling, for bushy majesty, that of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. ‘We made him an honorary Mexican for that mustache,’ said Don Gomez, a longtime friend and retired network TV reporter.” – From the Sacramento Bee’s epic five-part investigative series on the life and death of former California Dept. of Health director Jerome Lackner

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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