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Talk about an animal house. In this election season’s political mailers, one City Council candidate compares himself to a mongoose (or is it a meerkat?) in the battle against potholes. Another has a virtually identical ad but says he’s a lion.
Meanwhile, the GOP can’t get a handle on political mailer typos, a Democratic candidate’s supporters seem to be slagging his opponent for living in downtown, and people hanging from fishhooks are running amok in a creepy ad opposing another Democratic candidate.
Our Scott Lewis has the rundown on these peculiar political ads that are making their way to a mailbox near you.
• Hillary Clinton is finally going to make a campaign stop in town today. She’ll make a major national security speech at a ballroom in Balboa Park. (U-T)
Um, about that California primary … A new poll shows Clinton and Bernie Sanders neck and neck. (NBC)
• Refugee activists in City Heights are pushing for their communities to play a bigger role at the ballot box. (KPBS)
What Stinks? Smells Like a Landfill Lawsuit
Something’s been stinking up the University City and Clairemont neighborhoods, and two government agencies are at odds over what it is. At stake: the stench and, potentially, the city’s money that could be vulnerable in a big lawsuit.
As VOSD contributor H.G. Reza reports, the nasty odor might be coming from the nearby Miramar Landfill. The Air Pollution Control District, which has gotten more than 100 complaints since Jan. 26, thinks the dump is the source, although it hasn’t fined anyone yet.
“I’m sensitive to smells. I want to be outside, and I love to work in my yard,” says a University City resident who’s filed a pile of complaints. “You can’t function when the smell is really bad. It’s equivalent to walking through a trash pile.”
The city, which runs the landfill, says the odor claims are bogus, although the dump did make a small change to its operations. For now, the complaints have gone down, although it’s not clear if residents have given up or if the smell has dissipated or if they’re focusing on a class-action suit that’s now in the early stages.
More About That S.D.-Bound Startup
Yes, it’s enormously expensive to live in San Diego. But a Bay Area tech company is moving to San Diego because it’s cheaper here.
You may have already heard about the relocation of a company with the name of Bizness Apps. The CEO wrote a story about it a few weeks ago, and his firm’s arrival in town made a splash, even drawing the mayor for a ribbon-cutting. Now, the CEO is out with another piece via TechCrunch about the big move.
Here’s what the update says: “our operational costs plummeted by 14 percent; our employees’ rent reduced by 37 percent on average, and their commutes are down to less than 30 minutes; our overall profitability has rocketed by 21 percent.” (Keep in mind that the firm just moved last month.)
And yes, rent, even for offices, is cheaper here. There’s another plus: “San Diego ranks No. 4 in the nation in VC dollars per capita, and has more VC funding than Seattle and Austin — combined.”
Is there a bad side? The CEO, Andrew Gazdecki, is surprisingly open about the challenges of the move, such as the unwillingness of employees to move and a dip in morale, which the company actually measures.
• Up go the San Diego house prices, with the median (not the average) jumping by more than 6 percent over the year ending in March. (L.A. Times)
Dystopia: When the Rains Never Come
The magazine Pacific Standard has a very long piece titled “Droughtlandia” about how climate change could push Californians to the Northwest. Climate refugees or climate migrants, you might call them.
The story mentions a role-playing game in Seattle in which local officials pondered a future in which water is scarce: “To promote the event, the council posted a mock newscast on YouTube in which two female newscasters describe the re-naming of a small town on the Washington coast ‘Little San Diego’” and a newscaster warns “if Seattle can’t crack down on illegal water trading the city will have no choice but to move all public park reservoirs underground.”
• Lake Mead, part of the Colorado Water system that feeds Nevada, Arizona and California, is shrinking big-time. Now you can watch it from above via satellite photos. (Vox)
Insurance Gaps and the Price Paid
San Diego bus driver Maria Spivey tried desperately to get help for her struggling teenage daughter, but Kaiser Permanente told her that no one-on-one therapy was available. Never mind that she’d made a suicide attempt. All she got was group therapy. Two years ago, her daughter killed herself.
Kaiser Permanente has been under fire for mental health gaps, KQED reports, but the insurer isn’t an outlier: “Other insurers don’t have a centralized call center that tracks appointment wait times, like Kaiser. They have fragmented networks of self-employed therapists. There’s no way to count how many calls a patient makes before they find one who’s available. Or how many patients simply give up.”
Today in Trump: Alleged Scam, Papa ‘John’ & More
Thanks to a court ruling, we’re getting a glimpse into allegations in the Trump University lawsuit that’s now before a federal judge in San Diego: “Trump University gave employees detailed instructions on how to entice people to enroll in its real estate seminars, from targeting people making at least $90,000 a year and choosing words of flattery that are most persuasive to picking music for the gatherings — The O’Jays’ ‘For the Love of Money.’”
• Remember Doug Manchester, the eccentric hotel magnate who notoriously bought the U-T and insists on being called “Papa Doug” by people who aren’t related to him?
Well, last week, Trump gave him a shout-out during his rally here, mistakenly calling him “Papa John.” (No, I’m not making this up, and yes, I would like some pizza.)
Trump also declared that Manchester, one of his supporters, would build a border wall if Trump couldn’t do it: “He’ll get it up.” Fox 5 asked Manchester about this. His response: “He has no filter. It was an honor for him to mention me … he’s a great friend and is what we need for our country.” No word, the TV station says, on whether Manchester will pay for a wall.
Baseball Has Been Very, Very Weird to Me
The Padres have lost their dang minds. As Deadspin puts it, “the Padres are trash, but at least they know how to lose in funny ways.”
• A “FanFest” is scheduled before the All-Star Game at Petco Park next month, but you’ll need to cough up $35 for adults and a cool $30 for most kids. On the bright side, you’ll get to see how Rollie Fingers and his glorious mustache are doing these days. (L.A. Times)
North County Report: Del Mar to Dump Sheriff?
La Jolla has spent decades trying to secede from the city of San Diego, in part to get better police protection. (Never mind that many La Jollans face no greater threat than a misplaced participle.)
Now, Del Mar is on a similar mission. It’s preparing to jilt the Sheriff’s Department and create its own tiny police department with just 15 full-time officers. This news comes via our weekly North County Report, which also has details about affordable housing in Encinitas, big spending against ultra-vulnerable County Supervisor (and sole Dem) Dave Roberts and a possible hate crime against an LGBT center.
Quick News Hits: Californi-Stay-Cation?
• Are San Diego cops arresting patrons of illegal medical marijuana shops and then not prosecuting them? CityBeat is on the case.
• Methinks the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce is going to ignore a CityBeat column titled “Living among OB’s tweakers, stabbers, punks and hippies.”
• Somehow, Chula Vista ranks dead last in a list of the best and worst places to have a “staycation” in the U.S. The county’s second-largest city and hometown of multiple beloved celebrities (like Mario Lopez, Tom Waits and your beloved Morning Report scribe) ranks a pathetic 150th out of 150.
What’s going on? The city ranks really low in terms of recreation, food and entertainment (including bowling costs and per-capita beer gardens) and “rest and relaxation” (including the cost of house-cleaning).
Never mind that most of those things are within minutes by car. As for beer gardens, they’re as close as a backyard and a six-pack. Or so we’ve heard.
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.