SeaWorld pays the city rent for its use of land on Mission Bay and that rent is based on the park’s revenue, which, if you ask, gives residents a sort of sneak peek into the park’s performance.
It is not going well.
VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt looked at the SeaWorld’s lease payments to the city. Those payments fell by 16 percent from 2013 to 2014, and attendance dropped by about that much. Over the first 9 months of this year, meanwhile, payments were 9 percent under the same period last year.
What’s next? Perhaps SeaWorld could follow the lead of other parks and focus on a wide array of thrill rides instead of attractions like killer whale shows. But if they try that here, that could violate the city’s rules regarding the role of education and conservation at the park.
NFL Show: Lots of Boos But No News
Charger fans got their chance to vent at NFL executives and boo Mark Fabiani, the special counsel to the team who has been its chief spokesperson on the stadium search. No news was made and the NFL staff sat mostly quiet. Here’s Dan McSwain’s take at the U-T and NBC 7 San Diego’s.
Mapping Local Police Body Cameras
Every city police department in the county plus the Harbor Police and the Sheriff’s Department have either put cop body cameras into action or are looking into doing so. We’ve put together a handy map to help you see what your local police agency is doing.
Did Schools Chief Make Up a Story?
Cindy Marten, the superintendent of San Diego Unified schools, recently told the story of a real-estate agent who talked smack about the quality of an elementary school in the upscale Kensington neighborhood. When she sold homes, Marten said, the agent “would say, ‘Great, buy your house here. But as soon as your kids turn 5, you’ll have to go to another school.’ Like, try to avoid looking at Franklin (Elementary) because she didn’t think it was a great school.”
Not exactly School Supporter of the Year. Marten says she managed to win over the agent, who then began touting the school’s principal.
Mario Koran used the anecdote in his story about principal turnover in the district.
But here’s the twist: The principal of the school contacted Koran and said it isn’t what happened. He said, actually, the agent has always been a supporter of the school. Koran reached the agent herself who was appalled at the characterization.
• In essence, Godwin’s Law states that every online spat will eventually degenerate into a comparison involving Hitler or Nazis. It didn’t take long to reach that point in the debate over a recall effort in the Poway school district. Just check this rant on the conservative blog sdrostra.com.
San Diego’s Missing Medics
Why is the ambulance service that contracts with the city having such a hard time meeting expectations in how quickly it responds to calls? Things got so bad that the city fined Rural/Metro $230,000. CityBeat checks with an official with the company who blames workload and staffing: “[W]e, along with other EMS providers in the county, have faced a decline in readily available paramedics to hire and put through the city’s field training process.”
North County Report: Dump the Dump
The Oceanside City Council has come out against the proposed Gregory Canyon landfill in North County, which has been a controversial project for decades. “You don’t put a trash dump on a riverbed,” says Oceanside’s mayor, who fears the dump will affect the city’s water supply even though the landfill would be 20 miles inland. Meanwhile, the state Coastal Commission is getting involved too, despite the distance from the coast, and it’s skeptical of the project.
This news from our county’s northern hinterlands comes via VOSD’s weekly North County Report, which also features links to stories about Escondido, San Marcos, Carlsbad, Encinitas and Poway. The most unusual story in this week’s mix: Encinitas might ban glyphosate, the main active ingredient in the Roundup weed killer.
VOSD Journalists on Stage
Come see VOSD journalists talk about making it as writers. On Nov. 7, managing editor Sara Libby, reporter Andrew Keatts and I will be among the speakers at a free day-long conference about surviving as freelancers, book authors and more. Anyone can attend the “Moving Forward: How To Survive In & After Journalism” event at Point Loma Nazarene University, sponsored by the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Journalists and Authors, which I serve as president. Register soon since space is running out.
Estimate: 500 Homeless in River Valley
“Homeless advocates are scrambling to help unsheltered men, women and children ahead of El Niño,” KPBS reports, “especially those living along the flood-prone San Diego River.” An estimated 500 homeless people live along the river, which runs for more than 50 miles and winds through Mission Valley.
The big question: What are the homeless people supposed to do about the risk? Where are they supposed to go? The story says there’s limited space to house them.
• San Diego Food Bank is taking over North County Food Bank. (U-T)
Quick News Hits: Miller Time (in Court)
• Wow. Video reveals the impact of those local high tides. (NBC 7)
• The Washington Nationals are poised to hire Bud Black, the former manager of the Padres, as its manager. (Washington Post)
• The California State University system may boost tuition rates, potentially every year. (LA Times)
• The purchase of Rite Aid by Walgreens could lead to higher drug prices. (LA Times)
• Political infighting continues in Tijuana in the wake of a mess that erupted over supposed plans to highlight the city’s red-light district. Now, the city’s mayor and tourism chief are fighting. (U-T)
• Los Angeles is hiring a “Creative Catalyst Artist in Residence” who “will be embedded in the city’s Department of Transportation, to focus on how to save bike riders and pedestrians from being maimed or killed by automobiles.” Are you listening San Diego?
• A local man named Evan Parent got a lot of online mocking earlier this year when he sued MillerCoors because he felt misled by its Blue Moon beer product. He claimed MillerCoors fooled him into thinking Blue Moon was a craft beer.
Now, a federal judge has tentatively ruled against him, saying there’s no law preventing what MillerCoors is doing, Courthouse News Service reports.
But the judge says Parent could try another tactic. Perhaps he’ll come up with a strategy that’s more “Artfully Crafted” than Blue Moon beer claims to be.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.