It was almost as though you could have predicted it: Representatives of 19 local governments unanimously approved a $204 billion transportation plan for the San Diego region.

KPBS quoted Todd Gloria, who withstood much criticism from liberal friends to support the measure.

“Because this plan dedicates for the foreseeable future three-quarters of funds to transit, because it’s a marked improvement from the last plan that only gave half of the money to public transit and because this plan exceeds all of our state requirements when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, I will support this plan,” he said.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer didn’t go to the meeting. Lorie Zapf, the councilwoman who was there in Faulconer’s stead, said they hope, in the future, the San Diego Association of Governments will move up the timeline for the Purple Line Trolley. That  would run along the 805 from the border to Kearny Mesa.

There’s no funding for the Purple Line at the moment. Now attention will turn to whether SANDAG will put a sales tax increase on the ballot that would help fund the Purple Line and other projects in the giant transportation plan that don’t actually have money behind them yet.

David Alvarez, the councilman who has been lockstep with Gloria on many issues, blasted Friday’s vote.

“If your commute to downtown on Blue or Orange lines simply takes too long, this plan says you have to wait 20 years for major improvements. And worst of all, those who support this plan want to raise your taxes to pay for these delays,” he wrote.

VOSD Podcast: Meeting of the Minds

Engagement Editor Kinsee Morlan joined the podcast this week to relive the best moments from last week’s Meeting of the Minds event on groundbreaking discoveries happening in San Diego.

Also this week, we broke down Faulconer’s disinterest in SANDAG’s $200 billion transportation plan, gave some early impressions on the race to be the next city attorney and analyzed the implications of a report that skewered the region’s ability to make way for new development that supports the billions of dollars spent on a modern light-rail system.

Downtown Stadium Idea Gurgles

Cory Briggs, the controversial public interest lawyer, is touting a ballot measure that would eliminate the city’s Tourism marketing district. That would lower the effective hotel room tax rate to 10.5 percent. But he also wants to set the effective rate at 15 percent. In a related measure, he wants voters to approve a split convention center design and, possibly, an adjacent football stadium.

We’ve heard about this for a while. Now U-T columnist Kevin Acee is pumping it, saying Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan for a stadium in Mission Valley (which we’ve spent millions of dollars on) is dead on arrival at the NFL and we desperately need to offer the Chargers something better.

I, for one, never pictured Briggs would lay out a ballot initiative, a stadium plan and tax hike nor did I imagine the U-T would drive it as Acee did and the editorial board before him.

Acee hints that John Moores’s development team, JMI Realty, would finance Briggs’s idea.

Acee does quote Steelers president Art Rooney II: “We still have the home cities that are putting together their final proposals,” Rooney said.

This must be frustrating to the mayor. He’s got his proposal, after all. It can’t get better without a vote of the people that he says won’t happen without the Chargers.

One point, apparently the mayor has been circulating a new term sheet for the stadium to NFL owners. We’ve requested it and (surprise!) they won’t give it to us.

Get Your Big Glorious Sacramento Report Here

Some weeks in Sacramento are slow. Not this one.

Sara Libby has made it amazingly digestible, though, as she explains which local reps got which of their bills signed and some of the drama in between.

Our Andrew Keatts went into one of them in more depth: The governor’s huge decision to veto Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’ bill that would have given the City Council oversight over major building projects downtown already approved by Civic San Diego and conforming to zoning laws.

“I think the governor saw through that this was based on other agendas and didn’t have a lot to do with Civic San Diego,” said Reese Jarrett, the president of Civic San Diego. Those “other agendas,” he clarified, were “related to a lot of the missions of the labor movement.”

Jarrett said the agency can now start plotting its future once again. Before it began fending off lawsuits and existentially threatening bills, Civic San Diego was trying to expand its authority into other low-income parts of the city, especially Encanto.

Marty Block: Poll Shows I Beat Atkins If People Think Hard

State Sen. Marty Block, who’s trying to fend off a challenge from Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, released a bizarre internal campaign poll Friday. The poll shows that Atkins has a 40 percent to 26 percent lead over Block. But Block’s campaign said that after respondents were told that Atkins was trying to help the Chargers secure a new publicly funded stadium by easing environmental laws, they flipped, supporting Block by 46 percent to 35 percent.

Pollster John Nienstedt, not involved in the campaigns, tweeted that Block’s news release saying the poll showed he had a double-digit lead was highly misleading.

“The headline of Block’s release is malpractice,” Nienstedt wrote.

Nonetheless, many have been wondering how the two candidates with almost exactly the same priorities would distinguish themselves. Perhaps by hammering each other over the Chargers, it seems.

Mayors Struggle With Dicey Land-Use and Flood Questions

Four local mayors were featured at a San Diego County Taxpayers Association Event Thursday and our Maya Srikrishnan collected the four questions they had trouble answering.

Faulconer sidestepped perhaps the most controversial of all: How will the city deal with short-term vacation rentals?

We Respect You, But We’re Suing You

The Coastal Commission broke state law when it denied the Port of San Diego’s plans for a new Harbor Island hotel, citing a lack of affordable coastal lodging, the Port alleges in a lawsuit filed in Superior Court Friday.

In a statement, Port Chairman Dan Malcolm said, “The legal action initiated by the San Diego Unified Port District is intended to gain much-needed clarification regarding the provision of lower-cost, visitor-serving accommodations and land use planning for the unique needs of San Diego Bay. We respect and value our ongoing relationship with the Coastal Commission, and it’s important to recognize that this litigation is intended to be clarifying, rather than adversarial.”

The Boy Is Coming

I love this quote in the L.A. Times from a NASA climatologist, Bill Patzert.

“There’s no longer a possibility that El Niño wimps out at this point. It’s too big to fail,” Patzert said.

Hope that doesn’t mean taxpayers have to bail it out if it weakens.

Other News

• A recall petition against Poway Unified School District board member Andy Patapow has already been invalidated, reports SD Rostra.

• UC San Diego TV has a new series on the HIV epidemic in Tijuana.

• The Washington Post has a big story about police shootings and body cameras. Here’s our story from earlier in the week about when police can kill.

Here are our top five most-read stories from the past week. Check out the full Top 10 list here:

1. San Diego Floats a Surprising Question: Do We Really Need to Keep Saving Water?
In the California drought rages on, local water authorities are asking state regulators when they can stop telling people to save so much water. (Ry Rivard)

2. Ex-Lincoln High Principal: Foster Played a Role in My Removal
The polarizing former principal of Lincoln High School is speaking out about the events that led to her departure from the district. (Mario Koran)

3. Why Women Don’t Get Into Politics
The San Diego civil wars rage on, anti-vaxxers fall short in their referendum effort, why SANDAG wants California to loosen the rules of an affordable housing program and more in our weekly Sacramento roundup. (Sara Libby)

4. District Docs: Foster Wanted a Fake College Official to Question School Counselor
School board president Marne Foster was willing to get a little creative in investigating a school counselor who wrote a college letter for her son. (Mario Koran)

5. San Diego Can’t Afford to Wait for New Transit Projects
Under SANDAG’s new regional plan, trolleys would come faster and go to more places. The bad news: We’d have to wait far too long to see it happen. (Colin Parent)

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.