This week, we’ve taken a deep dive into a big housing project that aims to add hundreds of homes and thousands of people to the little North County community of Valley Center. The project has opposition galore, but it may end up making it through to approval by county officials.

Our newest story examines how the project got this far despite obstacles. One lesson: The developer behind it “has never heard a ‘no’ that it took seriously,” report VOSD’s Andrew Keatts and Maya Srikrishnan. “Every time the company has faced a hurdle, it’s found a loophole or just bullied its way through.”

Stadium Cauldron Gets Snuffed

“A signature element is missing from the latest renderings of the $1.7-billion stadium the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders want to build in Carson,” the L.A. Times reports: A 115 or 120-foot-high cauldron that “would change depending on the team: simulated lightning bolts shooting out of a glass ball for the Chargers and a massive flame in honor of legendary owner Al Davis when the Raiders play.”

No more cauldron, but no one’s saying why it went away. Now, a giant Lombardi Trophy is supposed to be the “focal point” of the stadium.

That’s not all. A new video narrated by Kiefer “24” Sutherland “showcased several premium seating options, including the field-level Directors Club and the Academy Suites, which feature a ‘club within a club.’” You know, for when you want to forget you’re in a football stadium during a football game. (This does sound Chargers-friendly!)

You can watch the video here. If it pumps you up for more than four hours, see a doctor.

• The Onion parody site makes fun of the willingness of cities to contort themselves to make teams happy with a story headlined “St. Louis Rams Threaten to Leave Town Unless Taxpayers Personally Build Stadium With Bare Hands.”

The kicker: “At press time, sources confirmed that (the) proposal was unanimously approved by the St. Louis city council.”

Urban Living Roundup: Sign of the Times

• City Heights wants its own neighborhood sign, which for some reason may cost $375,000. (KPBS)

• Commuters on the 56 freeway in the middle part of the county may not need to wait 25 years for relief. (Del Mar Times)

• A blog post by the Moody’s Analytics service suggests that Los Angeles County hotels are shedding jobs at a high clip while growth in hotel jobs in the state as a whole dipped and then recovered this year.

What’s special about L.A.? The city (not the county) has put a minimum wage of $15.37 an hour in place for hotel workers, and it went into effect for really big hotels last month. The data isn’t conclusive, however, and there are a few reasons why it might not be telling the whole story.

Caviar Dreams Here at Home

Get ready to drool, home lovers: The L.A. Times catches up on the purchase of the Foxhole estate in La Jolla by Doug Manchester, the former publisher of the U-T, and the paper offers some stunning photos of the eminently tasteful inside rooms.

The estate was formerly owned by the Copley family, longtime publishers of The San Diego Union, the Evening Tribune and the ultimately merged product known as The San Diego Union-Tribune (except for a brief Manchester sojourn as “UT San Diego”).

Quick News Hits: ‘Con’-Don’t Spirit

• Union-Tribine columnist Logan Jenkins predicts that two of the county’s five House reps will support the president on the Iran deal. However they vote, it’ll be a tough choice for the Democratic duo of Scott Peters and Susan Davis. Peters is a perennially endangered congressman in a swing district, while Davis is Jewish, a fact that puts her in a difficult position regarding the pact’s effects on Israel.

• Economists predict the drought will cost the state billions this year alone and eliminate 10,000 farm worker jobs. (Reuters)

• San Diego Comic-Con is still fighting to prevent Salt Lake Comic Con from using that name. But a court hearing isn’t scheduled until October 2016, and a trial will be after that.

“Technically, San Diego has the hyphenated version of ‘Comic-Con’ trademarked, not ‘comic con,’” The Salt Lake Tribune reports. “However, its legal team has argued that the similarity of ‘Comic Con’ in Salt Lake’s name, without the hyphen, has confused people into thinking the event is somehow associated with San Diego’s convention.”

The Salt Lake comic conventioneers say a defeat could spell the demise of the names of dozens of other “comic con” events around the world.

If only there was someone who could help … Wait! Look! Up in the office tower! Faster than a speeding subpoena and able to leap tall torts in a single bound. It’s … Superlawyer! Oh wait, she’s just been shut down by a trademark suit. Never mind.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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