The City Council race that will set the balance of power at City Hall just changed a lot: Joe LaCava, the civil engineer, Democrat and activist running for the District 1 seat bowed out Friday. That leaves Democrat Barbara Bry and Republican Ray Ellis alone in the race. Unless someone else makes a late decision to jump in, it means that the election will be settled in June as either Bry or Ellis will get more than 50 percent.

At first, the move seems to hurt Bry, who will have to win a majority of voters in the June primary election, where Republicans often have better turnout.

Democrats like Mickey Kasparian, the leader of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, have argued that without three candidates or more in competitive races like District 1, their candidates have a hard time winning. Kasparian and City Councilman Todd Gloria want to eliminate the rule that allows candidates to win a seat outright in primary elections if they get more than 50 percent of the vote.

But Lincoln Club Executive Director Ryan Clumpner said LaCava’s move won’t change much. “He was never going to get many votes and they were all going to come from Bry,” Clumpner wrote.  LaCava, for what It’s worth, shared the view that he was only splitting votes with Bry.

Chargers Relocation Application Emerges, Sort of

In his application to move his team to Los Angeles, the owner of the St. Louis Rams positively disparaged the city of St. Louis saying it could not support an NFL team, was struggling worse than any other city in the country and any NFL team that took the deal it was offering for a highly subsidized riverfront stadium would be courting financial ruin. Needless to say, St. Louis public officials took offense.

It makes us wonder what Chargers owner Dean Spanos said about San Diego.

But Daniel Kaplan got the Chargers application. “The document, while not expressly naming the Rams appears to try to draw contrasts: the Chargers played by the relocation rules; the Chargers business would significantly suffer with a team in LA; the Chargers lease prevents litigation from San Diego if they relocate. The undercurrent is that is not the same for the competition,” Kaplan wrote.

Here’s the U-T’s read.

• County Supervisor Ron Roberts decided he wanted to say some things so he issued a prediction that the Chargers would join the Rams and play in the stadium in Inglewood that the Rams owner is proposing.

Lakeside Businesses Bet the Farm on CEQA

To keep a farm equipment megastore out of Lakeside, a bunch of small farming-related businesses have a powerful ally: the California Environmental Quality Act.

The stores are working to slowdown a commercial development company based in Alabama that’s trying to build a Tractor Supply Co. megastore. The store would be part of a national chain of stores that sells everything from chickens to tools and could offer some stiff new competition for existing businesses.

The county, though, is trying to speed up construction of the new store, Maya Srikrishnan reports.

County officials said the store doesn’t need a new environmental review for elements of its operations. Instead, it said the new developers could glom onto a review done for an old project pondered for that location, which was approved in 2008 but never built. The county concluded the difference between the two projects doesn’t seem to be that much.

The smaller, existing stores disagree.

We’ve talked about how the environmental law, known as CEQA, is a convenient and powerful weapon to wield against new projects.  Our CEQA archives are filled with examples of how the law is used across the region.

Sacramento Report

In this week’s Sacramento Report, Anita Chabria talks about why San Diego got a call-out on the first day of the new legislative session, says Assemblywoman Shirley Weber is likely going to come back swinging with another attempt at teacher evaluations this year, and gives us a rundown of how Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez took on the Orange County Register’s editorial page and won.

San Diego Explained: Paying for Public Art

On this week’s San Diego Explained, Kinsee and NBC 7 San Diego’s Monica Dean discuss San Diego’s public art policy and its effect on the community.

Storm Drains Fail

When it rains it pours and when it pours it floods. But some floods may be more preventable than others. Michael Turko, KUSI’s consumer advocate, talks with homeowners who blame the county for failing to protect their homes from a bad storm drain. The Union-Tribune find a similar example but involving a city storm drain. In both cases, the reporters said officials were warned ahead of time that something bad would happen. In both cases, nothing was done and something bad happened.

Destroying Public Records

The city of San Diego is considering destroying public records in order to save money. The city currently retains its official emails forever, an unusual practice among other California cities, but one that seeks to guarantee that the public can access information about how the government operates and how it operated in the past.

Significant decisions often only become clear with time, or are hidden while they are happening, so the loss of this electronic paper trail would curtail accountability and government transparency.

In a report on the city’s Public Records Act practices, a panel studying the issue noted that the city spends will spend about $11.6 million over the next five years to store officials’ emails indefinitely. The panel gave a few different options for cutting costs, mainly by destroying the records after some period of time. If the city saved emails for only two years, it would save about $4.6 million over the next five years.

Most-Read Stories

Our list of the 10 most-read VOSD stories of the week is here. And below are the Top 5:

1. SD Schools Superintendent Left Out Major Context in Explaining Principal’s Removal
New information suggests Superintendent Cindy Marten’s explanation for removing a high school principal omitted crucial context. (Mario Koran)

2. Those Giant Tides Are Worse Than Ever and May Be Hint of What’s to Come
So-called king tides are predictable and happen every year. But local scientists say the king tides are getting more severe and causing flooding more often. (Matthew Baldwin)

3. 7 Big Projects to Watch in 2016
Here are seven major projects to keep an eye on in 2016. (Maya Srikrishnan)

4. Culture Report: The (Risky?) Business of Opening a Bookstore
Keeping old books and East Village’s artsy past alive, new public art coming to the Port and more in our weekly arts and culture roundup. (Kinsee Morlan)

5. Sheriff’s Deputy Disciplined for Making German-Speaking Arrestee Watch Hitler Speeches
When Clifften Korsch was being booked into jail in August 2014, he refused to communicate with sheriff’s deputies in English, instead speaking in his native German. So one deputy made him watch a video of Adolf Hitler speeches. (Kelly Davis)

Ry Rivard was formerly a reporter for Voice of San Diego. He wrote about water and power.

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