The Morning Report
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Avocados, like movie stars, aren’t native to California, but they’ve become an integral part of living here. And San Diego County is the statewide leader: If you’re eating guacamole, there’s a good chance it’s been mashed from local avocados.
But while our avocado business is a century old, it didn’t boom until the 1970s. Up until that time, avocados weren’t a major American food (many people didn’t even know what they were), and local farmers preferred more profitable produce.
What happened? As part of our deep look at the local avocado business (click here for our coverage of the industry’s big struggles), VOSD’s Ry Rivard takes a spin through farm history. Turns out that avocados boomed “thanks to congressional bumbling and some sharp-eyed tax planning… In 1970, there were about 18,000 acres of avocados in California. By 1980, that number snowballed to 50,000 acres, half of them in San Diego.
And Then There Were Two
We have found another candidate for a city of San Diego office who is supportive of — or at least not trashing — the Chargers proposal to pay for a new convadium in East Village with a hotel-room-tax hike. Democrat Justin DeCesare, who is running to oust Republican Scott Sherman from the District 7 seat on the City Council, says he does not want a stadium in Mission Valley and voters should decide if they want it downtown.
DeCesare joins city attorney candidate Bryan Pease, the only other city candidate we know of who outright supports the Chargers measure.
Charger fan groups are passing around a voting slate. They recommend supporting Barbara Bry in District 1, for example. But she’s made it abundantly clear she not only opposes the Chargers plan but a downtown stadium in general.
Sherman earlier this week came out against the Chargers proposal with a long analysis of it.
• In a VOSD commentary, Bry — a Democrat — writes that she supported Propositon B, the ballot measure that overhauled the city’s notorious employee pension system.
“My opponent, Ray Ellis, told the Union-Tribune editorial board that I did not support the appeal, and he continues to misstate my position on Proposition B. To be clear, I voted for Proposition B, supported the City Council’s decision to appeal [a] ruling against it and continue to support its implementation,” Bry writes.
• Mayor Faulconer promises that if re-elected, he’s not going to skip town and run for governor in a couple years. Never mind that he’s seen as a rising star — one of the only ones — in the state’s troubled Republican party, a GOP politician whose business-friendly but socially moderate positions might be a good fit for higher office. (AP)
North County Report: Carlsbad’s Big Land Fights
VOSD’s weekly North County Report digs into a pair of related land-use battles. Voters killed off plans for a luxury mall south of Agua Hedionda Lagoon, but residents worry that the city is trying to find a backdoor route into building the shopping center after all. At issue now: The fate of land that’s going to be freed up by the demolition of the city’s power station.
Also in the North County Report: Homeless people want to sleep on the Oceanside Pier, Escondido has a new fire chief, the director of the Oceanside Art Museum is history, and Oceanside will get an indoor skydiving facility despite miffed neighbors.
It’s Raining Spam Robocalls
It’s not just you. Spam robocalls are harassing people across the country, Slate reports, despite the existence of the Do Not Call list.
So should we blame the government? Nope. The blame, Slate says, belongs with “the telecom giants could take more steps to make life better for customers, and they haven’t. And to top it all off, their lack of aggressive action has allowed the government to take the bulk of the blame.”
What’s at issue? Ways to make blocking easier just aren’t being implemented.
Here’s a Morning Report pro-tip: If you have a home phone, forward calls to your cell phone. You can then block them, perhaps after googling the numbers to find information about them. (Many websites pinpoint spam numbers.)
More About That Great Obit
In yesterday’s Morning Report, we directed you to the fabulous obituary of a part-time San Diegan named George O’Donnell. He’s the guy who’s described affectionately, warts and all, even down to his “washing down his morning vitamins with screwdrivers, starting on martinis at noon and finishing each evening with Manhattans.”
The U-T follows up by talking to one of O’Donnell’s daughters about what the newspaper describes as “one of the greatest obits ever.” She tells the paper: “I wanted to tell the truth. He loved life, and I feel like he lived the life he wanted to live, and I wanted to express that.”
Yes, he caroused and womanized and drank, a lot, and the boozing may have killed him. Yes, his addiction counselor daughter tried to get him to quit the alcohol. And he sounds like quite the rogue, for better and (clearly) often for the worse.
“It was just part of my journey,” his daughter says, “to accept him the way he was.” What a way to live, what a way to go (he would have “absolutely loved” the obituary) and what a daughter to have.
Quick News Hits: Bear With Us
• Point Loma High is getting bright stadium lights despite opposition from neighbors. (NBC 7)
• The mayor says refinancing will save the city $300 million on loans over the next quarter century. (U-T)
• Up in Oregon, the city of Portland is trying to break up homeless encampments by letting transients sleep on sidewalks and erect tents each night, much like they do in parts downtown San Diego. The “safe sleep” policy isn’t winning over everybody. (L.A. Times)
• U-T columnist Logan Jenkins has a “whoa if true” story to tell: “Nearly 62 years ago, a North Island pilot saved the Hotel del Coronado from exploding into an inferno. Or maybe not.”
What’s definite is that a jet crash-landed on the Coronado beach in 1954 — sans pilot. But did an escort plane push it away from crashing into the hotel? The details are, amazingly, classified.
• In honor of Flashback Thursday, check out this awesome 1916 image promoting the San Diego Exposition. It depicts a standing bear holding a sideways map of California with San Diego highlighted.
The name of every other city is in small type, but ours is in big print and we even get our own star. Take that, citywide inferiority complex!
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.