Over the last year, city leaders have told us over and over that the hurdles to building a stadium downtown were high. It’d “increase costs by hundreds of millions” and “take years longer” than building in Mission Valley. At the top of the concern was the fact that multiple owners would need to cough up land for a site.

Lately, though, “the perceived barriers to building the convadium are coming down,” Andrew Keatts writes in a new story.

Keatts obtained emails between the Chargers and MTS, whose massive busyard has long been thought of as the biggest hurdle of all, that reveal MTS is ready to play ball. “The emails show that while MTS is now asking that formal negotiations begin, informal negotiations to make sure the agency comes out OK have been happening for some time,” Keatts write.

Things are looking more viable in other ways, too. It turns out the city actually owns a lot of the land at the proposed site.

The Chargers are expected to unveil the details and designs of its proposal this week.

• One of the biggest hurdles, of course, was the old assumption that the city and Chargers would need a two-thirds vote to increase taxes to pay for a new stadium. People across the state and beyond are still grappling with the implications of the new ruling that may mean citizens initiatives to raise taxes don’t need two thirds. Here’s former San Diego planning director and longtime California land-use maven Bill Fulton marveling at the potential consequences and questioning the logic of the decision.

• 10News’ Ben Higgins notes that JMI Realty, one of the parties that wants to see a downtown convadium happen, is set to unveil a vision for the Mission Valley Qualcomm site that would include an SDSU campus expansion, plus an MLS stadium.

Bernal: I’m No ‘Stealth’ Republican, I’m a Politician

Earlier this month, Keatts reported on a memo sent by former local Democratic Party chair Jess Durfee, which recommended the party endorse Chris Ward in his bid for City Council District 3. Durfee’s reasoning? The other Democrat in the race, Anthony Bernal, had received donations from folks who’ve contributed to Republican candidates.

“It certainly does not bode well for our traditionally progressive Council District to be represented by a person so indebted to the right wing,” Durfee wrote.

In a new VOSD op-ed, Bernal fires back at that logic.

Accepting donations from people who have also donated to Republicans doesn’t make him a Republican, he writes. It makes him a regular, old politician.

Ward, too, has accepted funds from people known to support business and conservative interests, Bernal notes: “The fact that Durfee isn’t bothered by Ward’s acceptance of these contributions seems to imply that there is some sort of ‘acceptable level of funding’ from the other side. So that begs the question: What is it?  And who decides?”

Hello, $15 Minimum Wage

California lawmakers reached a deal over the weekend for a statewide minimum wage hike that’ll eventually hit $15 an hour, bypassing a November ballot measure.

According to the L.A. Times:

the negotiated deal would boost California’s statewide minimum wage from $10 an hour to $10.50 on Jan. 1, 2017, with a 50-cent increase in 2018 and then $1-per-year increases through 2022. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees would have an extra year to comply, delaying their workers receiving a $15 hourly wage until 2023.

Future statewide minimum wage increases would be linked to inflation, but a governor would have the power to temporarily block some of the initial increases in the event of an economic downturn.

As the Wall Street Journal notes, “Until now, efforts had largely been focused on the local level. Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco have all opted to phase in $15-an-hour minimum wages in coming years. States appear to be the next battleground.”

Indeed, a local measure set for the June ballot, would initially raise San Diego’s minimum wage to $11.50 an hour, and give workers five sick days a year. And it’s those sick days that one legislator said was worth still pushing for locally.

Alvarez Takes on the Sidewalk Paradox

Lately, Councilman David Alvarez has been speaking out about a paradox that Liam Dillon highlighted a couple years back: “property and business owners are responsible for fixing broken sidewalks outside their homes even though the city remains legally on the hook if someone trips and falls over the same stretch of sidewalk.”

The city pledged to address the issue more than two years ago, yet here we are.

Alvarez told 10News in the latest in its Newsmaker series that he’s working to address the discrepancy: “I was calling on the Council to adopt a policy, and I’m going to be pushing for that in the next few weeks so that the city takes full responsibility of sidewalks and fixes them.”

Alvarez also said he believes the majority of footage from policy body cameras should be made public, something that pits him against Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, who wants to keep the lion’s share of footage private, and who recently said the city shouldn’t even develop a policy to lay out when to release footage.

Quick News Hits

• Chula Vista’s city clerk disqualified two City Council candidates for the first time in the city’s history when both failed to produce “20 good signatures” from voters in their districts. (Star-News)

• The Navy wants to upgrade the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station to the tune of $100 million so it can handle more large warships. (L.A. Times)

• The Union-Tribune has revealed some of the results from its records search of public employees saying things like “yikes” and “OMG.” The projects that triggered the reactions include high quotes to build fences and a mold infestation at a Poway middle school.

Sara Libby

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

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