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We’re in for quite a month in the Chargers saga.
For his last piece for Voice of San Diego, Liam Dillon got a hold of a price tag for the Chargers’ vision of a joint stadium and convention center annex downtown.
A well-known stadium finance guru who had previously worked for the city put it together and gave it to the mayor’s office but the mayor’s staff disregarded it. And Dillon got the mayor’s chief of staff on the record about how unrealistic and impossible to pull off that plan would be because it would, he claims, require two-thirds support of voters.
The mayor may say he’s still open to a downtown stadium but this is the only plan the Chargers like downtown. The team could pursue it without the mayor’s support.
Adding to the drama is a short timeline. The mayor still may put a tax hike on the June ballot that would itself require two-thirds support of voters but for a different plan to expand the Convention Center on its current site. The mayor and City Council have until March 10 to put that on the ballot. And the Chargers have until the end of March to outline their own plans for a November ballot initiative.
Spanos Pioneered CEQA End Run
ESPN posted an extraordinary deep dive into the battle between NFL owners to bring football back to Los Angeles. In it is an interesting revelation of how Chargers owner Dean Spanos “designed a creative development method… that would expedite the arduous process of entitling a stadium to a city council vote, overcoming legal hurdles that often take years to clear.” Spanos’s creative strategy would go on to be copied and used to sidestep environmental laws by the Rams in their proposal to build a stadium in Inglewood.
Local developers have gotten wind of the strategy and now it is becoming all the rage.
Southeastern Parents Grill School Board Leader
With the resignation of school board trustee Marne Foster now behind us, Mario Koran captured the scene of a meeting of worried parents and principals in Southeastern San Diego as a school board member tried (and failed) to help them understand what was about to happen. We know now the board will appoint a temporary replacement for Foster’s seat, but on Monday Board President Mike McQuary couldn’t yet know that plan and was subjected to questions that show how old wounds inflicted on the public from past school boards have festered.
In 2014, parents suspected Foster’s hand in the removal of the principal from the School of Creative and Performing Arts. They were right. In 2013, the board selected Cindy Marten for the role of superintendent in private, without public input. On Monday, a group of parents tired of being voiceless peppered the board president with questions. “We have zero trust in that board,” one attendee told McQuary.
“The district will be transparent,” McQuary said.
Voting For Board Trustees: San Diego Explained
The board can appoint someone temporarily, but ultimately voters will have to decide who replaces Foster in the seat representing southeast San Diego on the school board. Right now there’s two candidates who have announced they are running. Ultimately, candidates will have to run a campaign to first win voters in the southeastern district, and then another campaign against their nearest rival to win over voters city-wide. Scott Lewis joined NBC 7’s Monica Dean to break down how the process works in our most recent San Diego Explained.
Politician Blows Hot Air At Hearing
In a truly extraordinary act undertaken while sitting on a congressional committee on Thursday, Rep. Duncan Hunter defended the vape industry by puffing out a few billowing clouds of vape juice while expressing his opposition to a bill banning vaping while on a commercial airplane. Behold:
While vapes on a plane may not be illegal per-se, vape juice maker Blu still suggests vapers should explain what they’re doing to fellow passengers prior to puffing. That way, “you won’t make them nervous — and you’re being polite,” according to Blu.
Data Release Targets Public School Students
Millions of California’s public school students will have their personal information released to a non-profit who sued for access to the information and won. Aside from names and social security numbers, the database will reveal “behavior and discipline information, progress reports, mental health and medical information” of the students, NBC 7 reports. The non-profit receiving the information says it will try to safeguard the information. The database includes any student that has attended a public school since Jan. 1, 2008. You can opt-out of having information divulged, if you want to.
• The massive gas leak at Porter Ranch near Los Angeles has finally been stopped. (inewsource)
• Some of the views you can hike to at Torrey Pines are extremely popular, and that’s the problem. (KPBS)
• Mayor Kevin Faulconer gave an interview to the LA Times, which refers to him as “the artful dodger.” The piece explores how Faulconer may be a “glimmer of hope” for Republicans hoping to compete in statewide elections in coming years. (LA Times)
• Did you see a greenish blue flash in the sky across San Diego on Thursday? Not aliens. Not missles, even. Just a meteor, according to the Union-Tribune.
• For some strange reason Amazon is opening up brick-and-mortar stores. One is coming to San Diego. (LA Times)
• Animosity between small bicycle rental shops on the beach and the city’s bike sharing partner Decobike is only getting worse. (SDNews)
Tree Lobster Just Wants Love
Here’s one lobster you won’t be dining on for Valentine’s Day. The Tree Lobster is making a big comeback at the San Diego Zoo thanks to the hard work of people who rescued the huge insect from extinction by moving it off a remote island near Australia, NPR reports. “It’s a very emotional story about an animal that most people don’t get emotional about,” said the zoo’s top bug expert as the bug, larger than her hand, crawled all over her. The video of the huge gooey bug emerging from a tiny little egg definitely inspired certain emotions in me.
Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.