Two years ago, Encinitas residents gathered to roast city officials for letting developers try to build low-cost homes. The residents wanted to keep a lid on growth even if it came with more opportunities for poorer people to find a place to live.
Their target: A state law that lets developers build more units if they build some affordable units — it’s the only thing that makes some projects pencil out.
City leaders have gotten their constituents’ message, and they haven’t been shy about their attempts to avoid following state law. In fact, “they’ve routinely said one of their top priorities is finding ways to disobey it,” reports VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan.
How’s that working out? Well, the city’s unique defiance has spawned lawsuits and plenty of drama. In her new story, Srikrishnan provides an explanation of what the city wants and how it’s trying to gum up the works and change the state law.
• VOSD’s weekly North County Report checks in on new data that shows the region’s unemployment rate is very low, even under its pre-recession level, but housing costs are high.
How high? Very high. You may have heard of a guideline that says renters shouldn’t spend a third or more of their income on rent. But half of renters in North County do just that. Meanwhile, “economists are worried about a shrinking labor pool, and attracting young, educated people to the area.”
The North County Report also checks in on drama erupting in the Oceanside City Council race, a $24 million mental health facility on the way in Oceanside, and surveillance drones overhead. As if we tall people didn’t have enough to worry about.
Opinion: Convadium’s Bad for Business
We’re on the cusp of a big decision, writes planning blogger Bill Adams in a VOSD commentary: “San Diego can either decide to help East Village on its current path of transforming into an innovative, economic district or it can bend to the will of billionaires and stop the neighborhood’s progress by plopping a huge stadium and convention center annex right in the heart of it all.”
Adams is part of the new East Village People group (yes, we are proud to have broken the news that is really its name) which is raising land-use and design concerns about plans for a football stadium and convention center expansion downtown.
By the way, if you’re looking at the sketch accompanying the commentary and wondering “hey, what’s that?”: It’s central library architect Rob Quigley’s ideas about what to do with downtown’s pesky bus yard and Tailgate Lot. He foresees mid-rise apartments of various styles situated around a public park, almost like a college quad.
City Attorney Rivals Debate Cop Videos
One might assume Democrats would be more open than Republicans to an all-access approach to video captured by cop body cameras. But prosecutor Robert Hickey, the only Republican in the race for city attorney, told a debate audience this week that his “default” is to release all such videos. Two Democratic candidates had more nuanced views.
The U-T has a run-down of the debate, which also featured discussion of the prosecution of protesters and the privacy of private email accounts of city employees. Some employees use their own accounts to discuss city business, raising questions whether open government requires them to be opened to the public.
We previously surveyed the candidates on this issue.
• The mayor has two high-profile opponents, one a former legislator (Lori Saldaña) and the other a former interim councilman (Ed Harris). CityBeat finds that one debate is scheduled, but it’s only 30 minutes long. The story also quotes Saldaña as saying the two encouraged each other to run. For what it’s worth, the mayor’s political consultant, Jason Roe, reached out to NBC and VOSD Feb. 25 to see if we were co-host a debate and to say they were in if we would.
• Dave Roberts, the scandal-ridden county supervisor (and the only Democrat on the board of supervisors), is running for a second term. He filed the paperwork this week, as did Escondido Sam Abed, a right-wing Republican. Kristin Gaspar, the Encinitas mayor and another Republican, is also expected to join the race, the U-T reports.
The county paid $310,000 to three former employees of Roberts to settle legal claims regarding allegations of inappropriate behavior. Roberts says he’s doing a better job of running his office now.
• Councilman Todd Gloria thinks I was onto something in yesterday’s Morning Report when I described the city’s infrastructure ballot measure.
Quick News Hits: What ‘Quietly’ Means in a News Story
• In the wake of the Marne Foster scandal, the San Diego school board has approved new rules about how board members must get along with the superintendent. Board members who try to manhandle the school district will get one strike before their actions are discussed publicly.
And if a board member has a kid in the district, “the staff at the student’s school will meet with the superintendent and the board member to clearly define and draw a clear line between interactions as a parent and interactions as a trustee,” City News Service reports.
• There are now computer algorithms that police departments can use to predict whether cops will “go bad,” 538.com reports.
• How many hours did a Navy admiral spend looking at online pornography while serving on a San Diego-based ship? Quite a few. (U-T)
• Correction: Yesterday’s Morning Report linked to a story about a potentially fatal illness suffered by SeaWorld killer whale Tilikum. I misstated the number of human deaths linked to the whale. It’s three, not two.
• “Appellate Justice J. Anthony Kline, one of Gov. Jerry Brown’s oldest friends, has quietly stepped away from handling a case involving Brown’s communications with the Public Utilities Commission,” the Sacramento Bee reports. The move comes in a big legal battle over whether ratepayers should have to pay to shut down the San Onofre power plant; former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre is major player in the case.
For the record, “quietly” is journalist-speak for when someone does something without calling a press conference to announce it. For example, I “quietly” had lunch yesterday without my usual media entourage. Maybe they were stuck in traffic or something.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.