I have something I need to get off my chest.

This will, no doubt, bring an onslaught of actually‘s, but here goes. I suppose it’s two bones, really.

The first is with Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, and the second is with everyone who covers him. The thing is, Rivers is not good at being quarterback of the Chargers. This may come as a shock to you, as the only thing you will hear about Rivers is how amazing he is, and how he’s really the only thing the Chargers have going for them.

Last week’s game against the Packers, in which Rivers set all kinds of records for passing and completions, was the nadir of this coverage.

“Chargers Can’t Rely on One-Man Army Philip Rivers to Do it All” reads a typical headline, from Bleacher Report.

“Philip Rivers smashes franchise records in close loss” is how the NFL put it.

In this narrative, Rivers accomplishes extraordinary feats, but simply can’t make up for the rest of the team’s ineptitude. Think about this for a second. What good are 43, or even 4,003, completions if they don’t eventually result in points? Specifically, more points than the other team has managed to score?

I’m a runner. If I regularly ran 1,497 meters of a race in record time but just as regularly tripped and knocked myself out cold three meters short of the finish line, people would pretty quickly discern that I wasn’t very good at racing.

The Chargers have lost twice as many games as they’ve won. Yet previews for Sunday’s intersquad scrimmage against the Raiders exist in this weird alternative universe in which the Chargers, thanks to Rivers, are a team to be feared. Up in the Bay Area, they’ve determined that the Raiders’ big challenge is “How to slow Philip Rivers’ record-setting pace.”

What VOSD Learned This Week

We’ve said it before, and this week we said it again in many different versions: In California, all roads lead to CEQA.

Lisa Halverstadt has been unraveling the explosion of solar developments in Imperial County – particularly several groups’ fights against various solar projects. Included in that list is a labor union. The regional Laborers’ International Union of North America filed two suits over solar developments that just happened to not have so-called project labor agreements. It’s almost as if the union’s environmental suit sprung from non-environmental issues!

Indeed, of the eight CEQA lawsuits filed against solar developments that Halverstadt studied, she couldn’t discern any obvious changes to the projects that benefited the environment. The groups got plenty of other benefits from the suits – for themselves.

There’s another CEQA issue brewing in Carlsbad, where an L.A. developer is taking advantage of a recent court ruling to sidestep the law before building a mall there. Maya Srikrishnan broke it down with NBC.

Mr. CEQA himself was on the podcast this week.

And, of course, CEQA looms over the plan to build a new stadium here. This week, Gov. Jerry Brown granted stadium boosters’ request to fast-track any CEQA challenges over the stadium.


The name Michael Beck has come up a few times since Ry Rivard started reporting on water for us. There was this strange sand mine project that Beck insists is actually good for nature. Then the developers of Lilac Hills said Beck, a member of the Planning Commission, had a conflict of interest and shouldn’t vote on the project (state and county watchdogs disagreed; Beck voted). Rivard dug more into Beck’s various jobs and found it’s hard to stick a straight “good” or “bad” label on his environmental legacy.

Let’s go back to that charge from the Lilac Hills developers, though. Andrew Keatts noticed something strange about the developers’ argument for why Beck should recuse himself. Their reasoning would mean that Supervisor Bill Horn, whose support they’re counting on, would support the case that his property will increase in value if the project goes forward.

In other conflict-of-interest news, Poway Unified’s trusty consultants – the ones who helped with that notorious bond deal but kept working with the district – might have one now too.


Mario Koran examined the unintended consequences – namely, instability for schools and students – to come of 80-plus principals leaving their schools in the last few years.

And for a rundown of how the process of moving a principal works, check the latest Learning Curve.


Let’s talk for a second about mobilizing to get something done. It went well for these parents in Bird Rock. And it went less well for a community group in Encanto.


Joe LaCava loves community planning groups. Now he wants to be part of another group that deals with communities and planning, the City Council.


How El Cajon ended up with the worst-ranked transit station in California.

What I’m Reading

• We hear a lot about accidental shootings by children in the moment but not much about what happens later. My friend Monica Potts examines the story of Sean Smith, who, as a 10-year-old, accidentally shot and killed his little sister. (The Trace)

• This is an absolutely bonkers investigation –states like Nebraska are getting their execution drugs from a random guy in India whose last few jobs were at call centers. (Buzzfeed)

• Some of you might like it when I link to articles about Drake. Others might enjoy links to stories about growth and city planning. Now watch me blow all of your minds: Here’s an awesome article about Drake. Here’s an awesome article about growth and planning. HERE’S AN AWESOME ARTICLE ABOUT DRAKE AND GROWTH AND PLANNING. (Grantland, Politico Magazine, CityLab)

 A Baltimore mom emerged as a hero during the recent riots in that city. That didn’t go so well for her. (Washington Post)

 Meet the nomadic foragers who help get coveted mushrooms from Oregon soil to Tokyo markets in a matter of hours. Come for the story, stay for the amazing photos. (California Sunday)

Line of the Week

“Someone please keep an eye on Mila Kunis and her murderous baby.” – Normally this is where I’d give you a summary of the story, but that’s really all you need to know.

Sara Libby

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

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