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One of the main intersections in southeastern San Diego has been empty and forlorn with a long-ago history of violence.
A local community group recently set about changing that, building wooden benches and planter boxes to turn a small island at the corner of Euclid and Imperial into a pedestrian plaza. They even threw a block party to celebrate it all.
But it was not to be.
The group never got a permit to make changes on the island, though they tried. Our Andy Keatts outlined the group’s efforts to deal with a city bureaucracy that stymied them at every turn:
A staffer in traffic engineering said he could look into the benches. The crosswalk proposal would need to go to another section, for which he provided contact information. A different staffer in traffic engineering said the proposal should go to Development Services for further review. A third staffer in traffic engineering responded with crosswalk signaling guidelines from the federal government and suggested they drop that idea entirely.
This was only the beginning of the group’s problems. As of Friday morning, the group held out hope that Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office would figure out a way to let the benches stay. But that was dashed by the end of the day. A Faulconer staffer emailed the group’s director and told him everything had to go.
The Chargers Say They’re Planning to File Papers to Go to L.A. … And Local Attorney Tells Us His Idea to Keep Them
The ESPN headline screamed that it’s over, and it may very well be. But the quotation from Chargers stadium point man Mark Fabiani didn’t say exactly that on local radio Friday. Fabiani was asked if the team plans to file relocation papers to move to Los Angeles.
“At this point yes, because there’s no sign that the other team or teams are not going to file,” Fabiani told The Mighty 1090 AM radio show. “Everyone assumes all three teams (Chargers, Raiders, Rams) will file, and in that case we can’t afford to lose our market in Los Angeles and Orange County.”
The only kind words Fabiani had for San Diego on the radio was for local environmental attorney Cory Briggs. This week, Briggs put forward a wide-ranging ballot initiative seemingly designed to solve all of the city’s problems by raising taxes to pay for infrastructure repairs, and likely a joint Convention Center-football stadium effort downtown.
Briggs explained what he’s trying to do with Keatts and our Scott Lewis on the Voice of San Diego podcast.
Former City Councilman Carl DeMaio, now a local AM talk radio host, announced he was going to fight Briggs’ measure in court, saying the state Constitution requires a two-thirds vote for it to pass, not a simple majority.
Lewis found DeMaio’s position a bit rich given that DeMaio voted for and was one of the biggest boosters of a hotel-room tax hike to expand the Convention Center without any public vote. After Briggs opposed it in court, appellate judges found that tax hike was unconstitutional.
— Scott Lewis (@vosdscott) October 23, 2015
Irony Alert, Bill Horn Edition
County Supervisor Bill Horn has been huffing and puffing against state ethics officials who won’t let him vote on an upcoming major development project because he owns property nearby. The developers, Accretive Investments, are counting on Horn’s support and the project might fail without it.
So it’s also a bit rich that the developers made roughly the same argument that’s now disqualifying Horn against a member of the County Planning Commission in an effort to get that commissioner excluded from the commission’s vote: No one with any sort of interest in a nearby property should get to weigh in on the project, Accretive’s lawyer wrote to the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission.
The state rejected that argument against the planning commissioner. Accretive’s spokesman told Keatts that they’re keeping mum these days to see if the state would reconsider its advice to Horn. This is weird given that the state told us there’s no process for reconsideration.
Sacramento: Where the Hollywood Stars Gather
In this week’s Sacramento Report, Sara Libby talks about all the celebrities who campaigned for and against legislation this year. Yes, there are big names, like Leonardo DiCaprio and Halle Berry, and yes, the funniest encounter was Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s fight with Rob Schneider. But my favorite celeb on the list is Moby, a musician who made a really great album a while ago, which I now have an excuse to listen to again this weekend.
Also in the Sacramento Report, Lisa Halverstadt details the latest (non)news about efforts to reform the state’s landmark environmental law and I talk about Gov. Jerry Brown’s (small) boost to the city’s stadium efforts.
• District 1 City Council candidate Joe LaCava sat down with Lewis this week for an extended interview on the VOSD podcast.
• A San Diego company is attempting to save us from a renowned jerk who jacked up the price of a drug that treats serious diseases. The local company, Imprimis Pharmaceuticals Inc., says it will sell doses of the drug for $1. (SCPR)
• KPBS covers a race in northern San Diego County whose proceeds will go toward hiring traffic and environmental consultants to fight development in the area.
Our Top Five
These were our five most-read stories from this week. Check out the full Top 10 here:
- The Case of the Worst-Ranked Transit Station in California
The Gillespie Field trolley station was recently called out in a big transit study as the single most underdeveloped transit area in the state. (Maya Srikrishnan)
- Principal Churn Highlights a Big Tension in Marten’s Tenure as Superintendent
Since Cindy Marten took over, about half of all principals in the district have retired, transferred or moved to loosely defined “special assignments.” (Mario Koran)
- Parents Pony Up to Get Bird Rock Elementary Air Conditioning
Amid extreme heat, parents across San Diego schools were frustrated by plans — or lack thereof — for air conditioning. One group had the resources to act. (Mario Koran)
- San Diego Environmental Groups Rake in Millions from Imperial Valley Solar Developers
Two environmental nonprofits used the state’s environmental law to extract settlements from solar developers whose projects still went forward. (Lisa Halverstadt)
- Poway Unified Offers Friendly Reminder to Staffers That Their Political Email Blasts Are Illegal
Poway Unified employees are being reminded to not use district resources for political purposes following a flurry of emails regarding a recall effort. (Ashly McGlone)
Correction: An earlier version of this post said attorney Cory Briggs sued over the Convention Center expansion financing plan. In fact, the city attempted to validate the plan in court and Briggs opposed that action, leading to the financing scheme being tossed.