SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby presented investors Monday with the latest plan to recover from the two years of hits the park has been taking: the “Blackfish” documentary backlash, a Coastal Commission decision that would prohibit its continued breeding of orcas and sinking financial performance.
Their plan included phasing out its trademark killer whale shows in San Diego as soon as next year for something more conservation-based. It also includes trying to build or purchase a hotel in Mission Bay with partner, Evans Hotel Group, and make it SeaWorld-themed.
But, as Lisa Halverstadt points out, the hotel won’t be easy.
Halverstadt breaks down the obstacles to building a hotel the company would face. For instance, a hotel would have to deal with coastal height limits, meaning it could only be 30 feet tall. SeaWorld would also need to conduct an economic study to prove that Mission Bay Park actually needs another hotel. Then there are the environmental review and labor groups, which are every San Diego developer’s nightmare. Oh, and don’t forget Coastal Commission approval – SeaWorld doesn’t have the best relationship with the regulatory body right now because of the whole orca-breeding decision.
DA Declines Prosecution in Police Killing, Questions Linger
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced Monday she would not prosecute the police officer who shot Fridoon Rawshan Nehad in the Midway neighborhood several months ago.
But while she describes the controversial video at the center of a debate about the incident, she refused to release it herself and thinks a judge should decline our and many other media entities’ request to let the public view it.
Liam Dillon explains what’s still in dispute.
Encanto Row with Mayor — an Update
In the next episode of … those planter boxes and benches in Encanto. A community group tried to revitalize a small island at the corner of Euclid and Imperial – an intersection historically plagued by violence – but they didn’t have a permit. The group was going to remove them, but then left them, because they thought they didn’t have the permit needed to remove them either. Now, the city told the group to get rid of the sidewalk improvements or pay thousands of dollars in fees to get the proper permit. (KPBS)
• Cornel West, the philosopher and activist, will be speaking at Lincoln High School next month. West agreed to speak after learning that San Diego prosecutors used an obscure criminal statute to charge 33 men, including rapper Tiny Doo, for a string of shootings in 2013 and 2014 by arguing they benefited from the shootings, despite being not actually being involved in the incident. (KPBS)
• Schools in San Diego County are trying to find former students from as far back as 2006 who never received diplomas because they failed a state exit exam. Under a new law, some of those students are eligible for retroactive diplomas. So far, the San Diego County Office of Education has identified 150 students, but some schools are having trouble tracking down students, like the Sweetwater Union High School District, which has been through three information systems since 2006. (Union-Tribune)
• The Ocean Beach Community Plan was approved by the San Diego City Council Monday. The previous plan has been in place since 1975 and this one has been in the works since 1999. (City News Service)
• A mapping specialist at California’s oil and gas regulatory agency brought a whistleblower complaint against Gov. Jerry Brown after being ordered to prepare a map of the oil and gas potential, history and geology of the governor’s family ranch. (Associated Press)
• A grade of a C-minus earned California a second place position in the State Integrity Investigation from the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity. California scored F’s in Judicial Accountability and Public Access to Information (which may be fitting, given that a San Francisco senator who pushed for stronger public records laws turned around and pleaded guilty to taking bribes from FBI agents and political racketeering).
This seems promising, America.