Local attorney Charles Black is the city’s go-to guy on the proposed expansion of the Convention Center. He’s also helping a company with a lease on land that’s crucial to the expansion.
Is this a conflict of interest? Councilman David Alvarez, the Council’s resident squeaky wheel, says it is indeed. He’s sounding the alarm about the attorney’s role. But the city, as VOSD’s Ashly McGlone reports, says there’s no problem since Black didn’t provide legal services to the city.
Indeed, the city’s chief operating officer brushed off Alvarez with a memo including this zinger: “Your concern appears to be based on a misunderstanding of both the facts and ethical standards.”
• About 100,000 snippets of body camera video from San Diego-area cops are expected to land in the hands of county prosecutors this year.
No Deal Yet, Chargers Say
No, the Chargers declared Wednesday, they aren’t ready to sign a deal to move to Inglewood and share a stadium with the Rams. A news report via Twitter got some buzz for suggesting they had a deal, but the reporter later clarified that details were still being “hashed out.”
Meanwhile, local officials say they’re happy to work something out with the team, even if that means building a stadium downtown, an option that’s had a rocky reception. But Mayor Kevin Faulconer doesn’t want to throw more taxpayer money at a stadium. (U-T)
If you’d like to catch up on the dilemma facing the Chargers — go or stay? — check this USA Today analysis. The story points out that the team will want to move now, before a March deadline, if it wants to move to L.A. and share a stadium with the Rams: I “would want to be in on the project as early as possible to exert maximum influence and reap maximum benefit.”
• The U-T checked in with Chargers owner Dean Spanos. “This result didn’t catch him entirely by surprise, but he had to figuratively be picked up off the floor, dusted off and told to make a decision.”
• Hate the owner but love the team? Get some catharsis by heading over to the Deadspin blog where foul-mouthed commenters are gleefully beating up on Spanos.
• The L.A. Coliseum is set to be a temporary home for the Rams. What if the Chargers want to join them? According to USC’s athletic director, the Coliseum Commission and the California Science Center Board would have to give the OK for a second NFL team to play there.
Poway Schools Chief’s Play on Pay
“Poway Unified School District Superintendent John Collins may be trying to negotiate an exit deal, but he’s also jockeying for a 4 percent raise for himself, his three associate superintendents and district managers before he goes,” VOSD’s Ashly McGlone reports.
Collins, one of the highest-paid district superintendents in the state, is on his way out. But he’s still negotiating salaries, and he’s still facing potential legal problems because he automatically gets the same raises that his managers get. As our story explains, these “me-too” clauses raise questions about a conflict of interest, and they seem to have become less common.
Rolling the Sea Lions Away
Now here’s an idea: Keep those pesky sea lions off the bluffs at La Jolla Cove by “setting up rotating plastic cylinders that will roll the marine mammals off the rocks as they try to jump out of the water.”
No, seriously. This is a real idea getting some real consideration in La Jolla, which continues to grapple with The Stench — the inglorious stink of sea lion droppings.
The barriers, KPBS reports, would be attached to the bluffs via drilling and have a “one-way safety release that would allow sections of the fence to open so sea lions who are caught on the bluffs can get back into the ocean.” Locals think this is a better idea than a fake shark or an ultrasonic fence.
North County Report: $7M Campaign in Carlsbad
That big luxury shopping center in Carlsbad is snarfing up support from politicians and businesses, says VOSD’s weekly North County Report, but it’ll still be up to voters whether to approve it. Supporters have spent $7 million on the campaign in favor of the mall, while opponents have only spent $80,000, much of it from a competing shopping mall company.
Also in the North County Report: An embattled charter school company plans to open a campus in Oceanside, teeny-tiny Del Mar wants to build an $18 million civic center and Oceanside may allow medical marijuana deliveries.
Quick News Hits: The Sea Is Serpentine
• Former Councilwoman Donna Frye’s is pushing a proposed ballot initiative that would declare communications on private devices like cell phones and computers to be public if they are from city officials and meet criteria to be considered public records. Now, Times of San Diego reports, the City Attorney Jan Goldsmith is going to weigh in as the Council considers whether to put the matter on the November ballot. Goldsmith has been sued for access to emails from his private account.
• A new law says cities like San Diego, which use controversial electronic surveillance technology, to post policies about their use. San Diego hasn’t done so yet. (U-T)
• How’s your flood insurance? Surprise: You probably don’t have any. But the feds are here to help. (L.A. Times)
• Vintage San Diego, a fun page on Facebook, has photos of David Bowie performing at the Sports Arena in 1978 (just $9.75 for a ticket). Commenters are reminiscing about the show, which appears to have featured Bowie in an all-white outfit with a crazy pair of pants.
• Uh-oh. Another one of those venomous sea snakes has washed up, this time in Coronado.
Hmm. Instead of a fake shark or a rolling whatchamacallit, maybe we should just let a few hundred sea serpents loose in La Jolla Cove. If they don’t scare the sea lions away, at least they’ll keep people — and their stench-averse noses — from coming anywhere near.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.