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There are a million reasons to love Balboa Park, but diluted urine dripping onto museum exhibits really isn’t one of them. That’s one of the more jaw-dropping finds from Lisa Halverstadt, who talked to scores of stakeholders to uncover the biggest challenges the park faces.

One big one is the staggering number of repairs and the inability of the city and nonprofits to tackle them all. Halverstadt found that because the city often goes with the lowest-bidding contractor, sometimes even when it does fix things, problems arise. Hence, after a series of repairs to make a restroom in the park more handicap-accessible, the workers packed up, leaving an overflowing urinal that “repeatedly leaked from the men’s restroom onto collections at the Model Railroad Museum.”

Other big challenges Halverstadt identified include a leadership vacuum, and swaths of park space that’s not being used as park land.

Goldsmith Floats a Chargers-Led Initiative

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith seems to be floating a new trial balloon in the quest to get the Chargers a new stadium.

If the team led a citizens initiative, it could get them more money by allowing for development on the Qualcomm site that could help pay for a stadium.

Remember that the environmental report for a Mission Valley stadium that the city rushed through last year does not include development around the stadium. Going to the ballot could avoid that problem, and it’s a route more and more people trying to build stadiums, malls and other projects are taking.

Again, though, this route would mean the city marshaled millions of dollars and lots of effort into an environmental impact report that went nowhere.

Dangerous Cartel Sets Its Sights on Tijuana

The Union-Tribune’s Sandra Dibble has a disturbing story on the rise of Mexico’s fastest-growing drug cartel, Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion, which is starting to expand its reach into Tijuana.

“The group’s growing presence coincides with a surge in homicides in Tijuana that started last spring, authorities said, and have continued in these first weeks of the new year, with many of the perpetrators and victims described as low-ranking members of the city’s neighborhood drug trade,” Dibble reports.

Law enforcement officials on both sides of the border say they’re watching the group closely, and a USD professor says whatever happens with the cartel will “reshape the landscape of drug trafficking in Mexico.”

Gonzalez: Voting at 16 Gives Kids — and Parents — More Say

10News has been doing a series of long-form interviews with local officials, and this week talked with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez about her proposal to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in school board races, and community college board races.

Gonzalez said it makes more sense for kids to register to vote when they’re 16 and taking in civics lessons every day than when they’re 18 and going through a busy transitional period.

“The other reason is: Young people don’t feel like they have a say in what’s going on. A lot of them have jobs, they’re paying taxes. And obviously they’re going to school every day with decisions that are made by a board, where, sometimes not only they don’t have a vote but maybe their parents don’t have a vote either. Because in this region, their parents might not be eligible to vote,” Gonzalez said.

If the bill clears the state Legislature, it would go before voters on the ballot in 2018.

Quick News Hits

• The city is hoping to revamp its website. Here’s hoping it’s a much quieter affair than The Great City Logo Scandal of 2016. (Union-Tribune)

• The U-T’s politics editor summarized the reaction to that provocative op-ed on our site last week that predicted redistricting five years ago contributed to likelihood that Republicans would win a majority on the San Diego City Council.

• A Republican Party official in Los Angeles who gleefully tweeted about Democrats’ scandals, including that of ex-San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, is now in the midst of his own scandal. (L.A. Times)

The AP reports San Diego currently has the highest average gas prices in the continental United States. And Dan McSwain at the U-T says it doesn’t have to be this way. California law requires a special blend of gas but it may not be worth it, he argues.

The L.A. Times’ Sacramento guy says there will be potentially 22 (!) statewide ballot initiatives this year. That doesn’t include what we’ll do locally on tax hikes, convention center expansions, stadiums or whatever else we come up with.

• Storm water has become the next front in what amounts to a fundamental restructuring of Southern California’s relationship with its intricate water network.” (New York Times)

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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