Private developers have long shied away from building in the historically black and poor neighborhoods of southeastern San Diego. In a bid to improve things, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation has spent a decade trying to boost affordable housing and job opportunities on nearly 60 acres it owns in the area. But the process hasn’t gone quickly amid community opposition and internal problems.

Now, the Jacobs Center is asking developers and planners for their ideas to put together one master plan for all the property it owns in the area. It hopes to get the final plan approved next year and finishing its project — including plenty of housing — within a decade.

Challenges remain. For one, the center will need public money to help subsidize the projects, but the demise of state urban renewal programs has thrown a wrench into the works.

VOSD’s Andrew Keatts explains the timeline, the basic outlines of the vision, and the variety of obstacles have kept it from coming to life, including community complaints and trouble at the Jacobs Center itself.

Well Hi, John Moores

John Moores, the former owner of the Padres, jumped back into San Diego city politics Wednesday, with an announcement that he supported the so-called Citizens Plan: The initiative devised by attorney Cory Briggs and his allies that would overhaul and increase the city’s hotel-room tax, stop an expansion of the Convention Center in favor of adding a separate annex, preserve land in Mission Valley for universities and perhaps clear away environmental permitting hurdles for a new football stadium either downtown on in Mission Valley.

Most importantly, Moores said he would help fund the initiative, which will help signature gathering efforts underway. Political consultant Tom Shepard is helping coordinate the effort.

In a statement, Moores said he felt comfortable it wasn’t hurting Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s efforts at all and was most interested in protecting the Mission Valley site of the current stadium for expansion of San Diego State and UC San Diego. But JMI Realty, the development company that bears Moores’ initials, also has advocated for constructing an expansion to the Convention Center as an annex on their property — where the company would also build a new hotel. The company said it would not build the hotel if the Convention Center is expanded on its current footprint.

Here’s Scott Lewis’s reporting on why what makes the Briggs proposal so attractive may also be its biggest problem.

• The San Diego Aztecs have had the same home for almost 50 years, but team stalwarts aren’t big fans of that big football stadium in Mission Valley. It’s huge but Aztec audiences aren’t, so it looks empty when games are played there. Then there’s the matter of upkeep. If the Chargers leave, this match made in the late 1960s may fall apart for good.

KPBS explores the various options, such as tearing down the current stadium and building a smaller one to hold the Aztecs and, maybe, a soccer team. But that’ll be pricey. Meanwhile, San Diego State doesn’t seem to have any space for a stadium of its own.

Goats, Chickens and a Battle in Encinitas

For some people with green tendencies, protecting the environment means instilling the outside into everyday life. Like, say, raising chickens and goats in the yard.

That might be just fine if you live in the backcountry. But what if you live in an urban city? The response is often a simple one: No sale on that hay bale. Just look at Encinitas in North County, which is trying to find a way to make most people happy most of the time when it comes to citified agriculture.

VOSD contributor Ruarri Serpa digs into what’s going on. One councilwoman thinks residents are too closed-minded: “I knew there was a problem when city staff received a letter that said, ‘We support healthy food — we shop at Whole Foods.’” But another council member bristles at wide-open rules. What if, say, someone wants to raise bees near a kid who’s allergic?

North County Report: Water Rates on Rise

VOSD’s weekly North County Report checks in with news about rising water rates in Carlsbad, Encinitas and Oceanside (where they’re jumping by 19 percent). Meanwhile, a local performing arts center is struggling (for once, it’s not the one in Escondido), indoor shooting ranges may come to Carlsbad, and Ramona has ambulances on its mind.

Opinion: Make It Easier for the Hungry to Get Help

The state and the federal government work together to give a daily food stipend to poor people to pay for produce. It’s not much, writes local legislator Shirley Weber in a VOSD commentary, but it’s crucial: “Just a single child, armed with enthusiasm and enough food, can lift up an entire community.” So why are a third of eligible San Diegans not getting the benefit?

“A number of reasons including the dauntingly complicated enrollment process, the shame and stigma associated with government assistance and lack of public awareness that the benefits are even available to them,” Weber writes. The good news: An outreach effort is working.

In Probe, D.A. Found Cop-Friendly Consultant

The U-T uncovers details about the district attorney’s hiring of a cop consultant to help it figure out if an SDPD officer did anything wrong when he fatally shot a man in the Midway district. The case is controversial, and several media outlets (including VOSD) are trying to persuade a judge to let the family release video of the incident.

According to the paper, the consultant says most of his work is “in support of law enforcement personnel.” He has not always testified in favor of cops, however.

The DA’s office refused to disclose the consultant’s report or any information about his work, making the unusual argument that it would expose what the paper calls “investigative techniques” and “chill” (in the words of the DA’s office) the process of figuring out if a crime took place. That process, however, seems to be over.

Governor Takes, Gives Heat

Governor Brown is under fire from critics who say an email is a smoking gun revealing that he took a power company’s side in the ongoing battle over the demise of the San Onofre power plant; Brown’s office denies the allegations. KPBS has the play-by-play and notes that a judge will rule on whether more related emails should be released.

Meanwhile, Brown is heading to Paris for the big climate change conference but first scorched state officials in West Virginia and Texas over their attitudes toward global warming. (L.A. Times) In related climate news, a scientist tells NBC 7 that we can look forward to more big and damaging tides.

Quick News Hits: How Dry They Aren’t

• Several grocery store chains are snapping up 8 of 25 local empty Haggen stores. (NBC 7)

• KPBS found more than 100 local medical marijuana delivery services.

Yikes.

• Social media posts about my family’s wacky get-togethers have become, as one local wag puts it, “a treasured holiday tradition.” (One post from yesterday: “Area Sons Brace for Being Asked If They Need to Go Potty Before Dinner.”) Check in via Facebook or Twitter.

• The city of Carlsbad is now limiting outdoor watering to once a week because it’s had trouble meeting state goals on water-savings, KPBS reports.

OK, I’ll say it since it’s now totally appropriate: Oh go dry up, Carlsbad! You’re all wet. For more 1940s-style insults with modern relevance, look for my upcoming anthology.

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 randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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