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It’s been a whirlwind week of planning and meetings for the Chargers as they prep a new ballot measure that would hike hotel-room taxes and open the door to a convadium in East Village.
Scott Lewis got an outline of the team’s plan from two sources close to the talks. The team has met with Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his allies, but the sources say the mayor’s not on board so far.
If Faulconer officially opposes the plan, the Chargers are prepared to scrap their measure and instead back the Citizens’ Plan being pushed by attorney Cory Briggs, Donna Frye and JMI Realty. (Faulconer’s not down with that plan, either.)
As if things weren’t complicated enough, a new state appellate court ruling throws in another wrench: It says the California Constitution amendment, which, among other things, requires two-thirds votes to raise taxes for special projects does not apply to citizens initiatives that raise taxes. Ostensibly it would mean that citizens initiatives for things like stadiums only need a bare majority approval to be enacted.
“If the ruling holds up, it would have major implications statewide,” Lewis writes.
• The U-T followed with its own version of the news, which includes a tidbit about what the Chargers would pay in rent.
• Meanwhile, we’re hearing from NFL honchos: They want the team to stay here, ESPN reports. “Pulling a team out of its home base is a last resort,” says a co-owner of the New York Giants.
• The ballpark downtown is boasting about how it held more non-baseball events during the 2015-2016 off-season than ever before. (NBC 7)
A Big Dem Non-Endorsement
The San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee made some big endorsements and non-endorsements Tuesday. The committee decided not to endorse in the San Diego city attorney’s race, where four Democrats have been making their case. The non-endorsement though was a major loss for Rafael Castellanos. As our Andrew Keatts explained in the lead up to last night’s vote, Castellanos’ team was confident and his allies believed they had out-hustled rivals.
But Assemblywomen Toni Atkins and Lorena Gonzalez, who were rivals not long ago, united to speak against Castellanos’ bid. They support Gil Cabrera. Cabrera, Castellanos, Mara Elliott and Bryan Pease all received acceptable ratings from party.
An endorsement would have unlocked resources for Castellanos in the race and made advancing to the runoff in the race much easier. Christopher Ward, who’s running for City Council against another Democrat, Anthony Bernal, did secure the endorsement. As Keatts also revealed last week, that was a major priority of the former leader of the local Democratic Party.
What the Lilac Hills Initiative Does
For more than a decade, developers have been trying to build a big housing project in North County’s Valley Center. And for more than a decade, they’ve been stalled by the county’s review process. After we revealed a conflict of interest one of the county supervisors had with his own nearby property, a state watchdog agency let him know he should not vote on the project.
That seemed to doom it, as his was a crucial vote.
The developers of Lilac Hills Ranch are now turning to a jury of last resort: the voters. They’re gathering signatures to force a measure onto the ballot.
But the project boosters don’t want just a “yes” vote to approve the homes. Through the initiative, they’re pushing to be protected from various types of lawsuits too. As VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan explains, they’re concerned about issues that both the developers and county planners had dismissed as problems. And they want to be shielded from the effects of a state Supreme Court ruling regarding pollution.
Overhauling How S.D. Monitors Cops
KPBS takes a look at a proposal to give greater powers to the board that serves as a watchdog over the San Diego Police Department. A City Council committee will consider it today. Among other things, it would give the board “subpoena power and the ability to work with independent investigators and independent counsel.”
Last year, we explored efforts to boost those who monitor the cops.
Home Serves as Reminder of AIDS Toll
KPBS profiles a brewing rift over a Bankers Hill home that served as San Diego’s first hospice for AIDS patients. The city owns the 1910 home and is thinking of selling it because repairs would be too expensive, a prospect that disturbs those who remember the vital role it played in the gay community.
A retired public health official remembers the home’s role in the darkest days of the epidemic. ”There were people that were literally dropped off at this doorstep. Because people just had no place to go. … They would have an apartment, and a partner or a family, and next minute they didn’t — because they had disclosed that they had AIDS.”
A solution to resolve the house issue could be on the way.
Face Casts Spotlight Balboa Park’s Past, Present
Just over a century ago, Balboa Park’s Museum of Man boasted an exhibit of plaster face casts, sculptures that highlighted the diversity of the human race. The casts are rarely seen, in part because they reflect old-timey views about racial categories. But now, they’ll get their turn in the spotlight once again as part of an art exhibit zeroing in on the park’s hidden history.
VOSD’s Culture Report has the details, including information about how you can win a contest and get your own face sculpted. Also in the Culture Report: R. Buckminster Fuller, “The Kitchenistas of National City,” Comic-Con’s new TV channel and Godot (yeah, they’re still waiting for him).
• Money magazine drops by and profiles Little Italy’s dining scene, calling it not just Italian but “a melting pot of cultures.”
Quick News Hits: Don’t Look … Up?
• Bernie Sanders drew a big crowd to the Convention Center Tuesday evening, requiring multiple overflow rooms. (NBC San Diego)
• As the U-T puts it, a new audit says “a decade-long effort by the federal government’s Citizenship and Immigration Service to modernize how it processes scores of immigration documents by going from a paper-based system to computers is inadequate, over budget and behind schedule.”
• The Port has big plans for a Seaport Village redo, and dozens of developer types want a piece of the action. (U-T)
• Amid all the GOP contested convention hullaballoo, U-T columnist Logan Jenkins remembers the June 1968 California primary and Robert Kennedy’s visit here the day before his assassination: “Kennedy’s motorcade toured Logan Heights. A group of Catholic school girls waving Bobby signs on an overpass stopped the cars. Later, at El Cortez Hotel, Kennedy gave a speech in which he said he wanted to ‘bring people back together again, the black and the white, the rich and the poor, and the young and the old.’”
• Over at Reddit, a kind of massive online bulletin board, someone recently asked pilots and flight attendants to discuss their favorite and least favorite airports. Thousands of people responded. Lindbergh Field, which is now heaven (the recently renovated Terminal 2) or hell (the not-so-renovated Terminal 1), depending on the airline you use, gets a few intriguing mentions.
Specifically, Reddit folks commented on our busy single runway and the “insane” approach over downtown that scares the wits out of newcomers (and not-so-new folks) from the cockpit to the back row. Says one: “San Diego is notorious in the pilot world.”
Well, we could always follow the old rule about dealing with heights: Don’t look down! Oh wait. Here’s another commenter: “I remember the only time I ever flew in there and I was looking up at a guy in his cubicle.”
OK, just close your eyes and go to your happy place. Make sure to send me directions.
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.