The Chargers will spend at least another year in San Diego.

Chargers owner Dean Spanos announced Friday afternoon that the team remain here for the 2016 season and, he hopes, over the long haul with a new stadium.

“We have an option and an agreement with the Los Angeles Rams to go to Inglewood in the next year, but my focus is on San Diego,” Spanos wrote in a letter to Chargers fans. “This has been our home for 55 years, and I want to keep the team here and provide the world-class stadium experience you deserve.”

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and County Supervisor Ron Roberts quickly responded with a statement.

But there’s a bit of a ticking clock they aren’t mentioning, Scott Lewis writes.

The Chargers have long eyed a downtown stadium and Faulconer recently said he’d be open to any option the NFL team might want to pursue.

Yet the mayor pledged in his State of the City speech to put a Convention Center expansion on the ballot. It’s his preferred option and it could kill the downtown stadium concept the Chargers once preferred. If the mayor wants to put it on the June ballot — and not let it compete with another Convention Center measure — he would have to decide to do it, well, now.

Tallying San Diego’s Homeless

Friday was a big day for local homeless advocates. Volunteers descended countywide as part of the so-called point in time count, an effort to tabulate San Diego’s homeless population that drives federal and local decision-making on homeless-fighting efforts.

It’ll be weeks before we learn whether San Diego’s seen a rise or decline in homelessness in the last year but a prominent business group’s more regular counts hint at a spike in one part of the city.

I got my hands on the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s monthly counts of unsheltered homeless in certain downtown neighborhoods. They reveal a significant upsurge in homeless living on downtown streets.

The organization recorded an average 18 percent year-over-year increase for all downtown neighborhoods. Things got more dramatic in the final months of 2015. East Village alone saw an 86 percent spike in unsheltered homeless counted in December 2015 compared with the same month the previous year.

• The Union-Tribune reports the county Board of Supervisors is set to vote next week on a partnership with cities, the San Diego Housing Commission and local nonprofits to provide more comprehensive care for homeless San Diegans with serious mental illnesses.

The Learning Curve: Size Matters

San Diego County has one massive school district, dozens of mid-sized ones and a handful of really small ones.

The bureaucracies of the big ones can frustrate parents and make them question whether small ones might be easier to navigate.

In the latest Learning Curve, Mario Koran finds small districts can be more responsive to parents and students, but that there are some financial advantages for the biggest districts.

• A trio of San Diego school districts have recently tussled with public charter schools and their arguments ignore the most important question, writes Jeff Rice, founder of the California Personalized Learning movement, in a new commentary: “What’s in the best interest of students?”

Block, Out

Anita Chabria leads this week’s Sacramento Report with Democratic state Sen. Marty Block’s big announcement that he’ll step aside from a Dem-on-Dem election battle with House Speaker Toni Atkins. Also on the docket: Details about all the bills that moved out of the House this week. They include one by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber that aims to ensure appraisers are on the rooftop solar bandwagon, another from Assemblyman Brian Maienschein that looks to usher in more housing for the homeless and a foursome from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who’s tackling everything from diaper taxes to holiday pay.

VOSD Podcast: San Diego’s New Taxpayer Advocate

Lewis and Andrew Keatts chatted with Haney Hong, the new chief of the influential San Diego County Taxpayers Association, and take on this week’s big news the tell-all book by ex-Mayor Bob Filner’s former chief of staff and ex-Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña’s jump into the mayoral race.

News Nibbles

• A nationally-known televangelist’s plan to build an 18-acre mixed-use development in Mission Valley is catching heat from both community groups and the UC San Diego Medical Center. (KPBS)

• The Democrats for Equality opted not to endorse a candidate for city attorney this week but the bigger news out of the group’s Thursday gathering was an ex-county Democratic Party official’s takedown of candidate Rafael Castellanos over his references about a woman who accused him of sexual harassment. (Free Press)

• El Niño’s expected to fire back this weekend. (NBC 7)

Most-Read Stories of the Week

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

1. How Bob Filner’s Chief of Staff Went From Public Servant to Pariah
Lee Burdick, who served as former Mayor Bob Filner’s chief of staff, offers her own account of why she stuck in the role as things came crashing down. (Lee Burdick)

2. The 5 Craziest Moments From the New Filner Book
Bob Filner’s former chief of staff Lee Burdick has written a deep insider account of the nine insane months Filner was San Diego’s mayor. We’ve pulled out the most explosive anecdotes. (Liam Dillon)

3. Saldaña: Voters Deserve ‘a Clear Contrast’
Lori Saldaña talks about her disgust with the local Democratic establishment and her desire to drive a conversation about San Diego’s future. (Liam Dillon)

4. Weber Staffer Will Challenge Marne Foster for School Board Seat
LaShae Collins, a staff member in Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s office, will make a run for Marne Foster’s seat on the San Diego Unified school board. (Mario Koran)

5. Why People Care About Schools But Not School Board Elections
School board trustee Mike McQuary strolled onto the school board without facing a challenger in 2014. Trustee Marne Foster is being investigated by the DA’s office but so far isn’t facing any serious opposition. (Mario Koran)

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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