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I’ll never forget the way my heart sunk one weekend when Andy Keatts texted me from a wedding, where he’d met a couple who was so engaged with news that they knew all about the Marne Foster situation, all about the Lilac Hills development and other stories we’ve broken and covered obsessively. The one thing they’d never heard of was … Voice of San Diego.
It continues to amaze me how in some ways our work is ubiquitous, shaping civic debate at the highest levels, and in other ways we’re relatively unknown.
Earlier this week, I noticed the word “convadium” — a word we came up with years ago to describe the dream of a combined downtown stadium/convention center — was being thrown around by both the Union-Tribune and CityBeat. Readers who pick up either of those publications might not know they’re also, in a way, experiencing VOSD’s work.
Our influence also peeked through when Scott Lewis got a copy this week of a speech Mayor Kevin Faulconer made recently to a group of downtown insiders. The speech was a White House Correspondents Dinner-style joke fest, where the mayor needled everyone from Councilmen Mark Kersey and David Alvarez to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. And, of course, he needled us. Faulconer mentioned former Mayor Bob Filner, and said:
Filner obviously made a lot of mistakes. But this year he did something every politician knows you NEVER do. He did an interview with the Voice of San Diego. C’mon. Who does that? Rookie mistake, man.
Not much of a better badge of honor than that, I guess.
But it just goes to show this awkward position we’re often in — some people and institutions are obviously paying attention to the work we do. But there are plenty of others — the folks you might meet at a wedding — who still give you a blank stare and a polite nod when you mention Voice of San Diego.
Reaching those folks is what we’re constantly striving for. Help us out, won’t you? Maybe forward this email on to a few of your friends? Eh? Eh?
What VOSD Learned This Week
After two bond measures that stressed the need for school repairs, one tax hike and $1 billion spent, San Diego schools are actually in worse shape. On the podcast, Scott and Andy unearthed a 2012 clip of Andy Berg, who now leads oversight of the bond, assuring voters that the bond was badly needed to improve facilities.
Of course, we’ve also learned over the years that gleaming new facilities don’t magically make schools great. Lincoln High, which got a multimillion-dollar makeover in 2007, is still struggling with longstanding tensions, as a recent brawl at the school laid bare.
The fight at Lincoln, by the way, involved a student who was tased and an officer who’s now severely injured. Mario Koran detailed the power and practices of San Diego Unified’s obscure police force.
Now that the Chargers have signed onto the so-called Citizens’ Plan that they hope would enable a downtown stadium, they’ve got a strange needle to thread: They must defeat the hoteliers’ top priority, but also win them over.
Then there’s another measure voters will be weighing in on this year – whether to increase the city’s minimum wage. There are plenty of people who feel strongly on both sides, but it’s looking like the fight over the proposal won’t be much of a fight at all.
Balboa Park’s got a list of needs that could top $300 million, and no real plan to get anything done. Mission Bay Park, however, is swimming in long-term plans and the cash to pull them off. Lisa Halverstadt explains how that happened.
What I’m Reading
• Some of my favorite writers got together in a room to discuss what a Donald Trump presidency might look like. (New York)
• There were, of course, a million navel gaze-y think pieces on “Spotlight” taking home Best Picture at the Oscars. This one, though, smartly urges journalists to take the story’s message – to uncover systemic rather than individual problems – and apply it to racial issues like academic inequality and police violence. (Chicago Tribune)
• This profile of celeb divorce attorney Laura Wasser highlights the absurdity of Hollywood (a vegan client tried to change a custody arrangement when her ex fed their kid a burger) and the increasing privatization of the justice system. (Bloomberg)
• A senior Justice Department official believes 3-year-olds can learn the complexities of immigration law well enough to represent themselves in court. (Washington Post)
Line of the Week
“He had the face of a man who has used his third wish and realized too late that ‘may my family never starve’ could be twisted to mean that the genie should murder his entire family.” – A hilarious piece describing Chris Christie’s terrified, hostage-like expression as he stood behind Donald Trump at a press event.