No one seems to know for sure how much voter support the Chargers need to build a new downtown stadium.

San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith acknowledges that he doesn’t know, and is looking to the state Supreme Court for guidance, as Scott Lewis writes in a new story. Unfortunately, it’s a long shot that they’ll provide it before the November election.

At issue is a recent court ruling that upended the basic expectations of California politics. An appellate court earlier this year said that a tax increase put on the ballot by a citizens’ initiative can win with a bare majority of support, not a two-thirds majority, as had long been the case.

The Supreme Court has decided to review the ruling. In the meantime, it’s unclear what the law is.

Goldsmith says he doesn’t want to make the call, and is considering telling voters he doesn’t know in the section of the voter guide where he provides legal analysis. If the Chargers get between 50 percent and 66.6 percent of the vote for their stadium measure, we might not know for some time whether they won or lost.

Meanwhile, the Chargers are disputing a recent poll from the Republican Party that indicated 58 percent of voters opposed the Chargers’ plan. John Nienstedt of Competitive Edge, who conducted the poll, said it described the opinions of likely primary voters, which could change for the November electorate.

“It’s like the higher-propensity fans soberly weigh the issues and say, on balance, there might be better things we should be spending our money on,” Nienstedt said. “It’s the fans that are low-information voters that are the ones who go head over heels for the stadium because they don’t consider other civic priorities.”

 On Thursday the coalition that has materialized to oppose the Chargers vision issued a letter to members of the Downtown Partnership, urging them to oppose the stadium, too. They cited Nienstedt’s poll and listed five reasons for their opposition.

One of those reasons was that the city has “too many priorities to justify subsidizing a stadium.” It’s an interesting claim, though, because some of the folks who signed the letter had previously supported Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to subsidize a stadium without raising taxes. His plan would have subsidized the stadium simply by taking money out of the general fund, which is otherwise used to pay for all of the city’s day-to-day needs.

When the Best Way to Learn English Is Through Bilingual Education

Conventional wisdom in education often falls on a sink-or-swim mentality. How do you teach English to someone who doesn’t speak it? Throw them in a classroom where everyone speaks English.

In California, 1.3 million English-learners end up getting this exact treatment. That’s in part due to a 1998 law.

“Under the current system, thousands of English-learners are sinking,” writes Mario Koran, in a new edition of the Learning Curve, his weekly education column.

There’s plenty of research that suggests the best option for these students is to learn in their native language and English concurrently.

He breaks down the history of how we ended up with the current system, and how a ballot measure later this year might change things.

In this week’s edition of Good Schools for All, our education-themed podcast, we talked with Andy Hall, vice president at the San Diego Workforce Partnership, about the 53,000 people between the ages of 16 and 24 in San Diego who aren’t connected to the education system or employment. Not only are fewer teens getting summer jobs than used to be the case, those summer jobs also aren’t going to the kids who need them most.

Opinion: Development Dialogue Should Remember Why We Love Our Neighborhoods

The city is spending a lot of time debating how it can accommodate a growing population in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.

Some of the tension is driven by concern from residents that new developments are going to change what they know and love about the places they live.

In a new op-ed, local architects Pauly De Bartolo and Periann Hodges argue that those citizens are right to be concerned, and it’s incumbent on architects, developers and city planners to alleviate those worries by meaningfully engaging with them on what’s most important to the fabric of a community.

“The goal should be to develop a built environment that provides form and function that complements and enhances a neighborhood’s existing character,” they write.

De Bartolo and Hodges are part of the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Orchids & Onions program, which recognizes the best and worst in new San Diego projects each year. This year’s event is accepting nominations through the end of July.

Voting on How We’ll Vote

Voters in November are going to have their work cut out for them. Among the many policy choices they’ll have to make is one on the way San Diego elects its officials.

Right now, if you get more than 50 percent of the vote in a primary – in city of San Diego races – you win outright. There is going to be a proposal on the November ballot that would push the top two finishers, even if one of them gets most of the vote, into a general election run-off.

Lewis broke the proposal down in this week’s episode of San Diego Explained.

In Other News

A suburban sprawl development project in Valley Center called Lilac Hills will be on the ballot in November. Countywide voters will decide whether developers should be allowed to build the project, which requires major changes to the county’s development regulations before it can be approved. (San Diego Union Tribune)

Over the years, the project’s developers have been told “no” a number of times by various planning and development authorities, but that never stopped them.

As Maya Srikrishnan and I reported last year, they’ve found a way to keep moving forward on the project despite the repeated levels of opposition.

Chula Vista voters in November will vote whether to increase sales taxes by a half-cent to pay for streets, parks and other infrastructure. (Union-Tribune)

The California Coastal Commission approved Thursday the planned trolley line extension from Old Town to University City and UCSD. The last step is approval from the Federal Transit Administration, and construction could start before the end of the year. (KPBS)

If you’ve driven south past Tijuana, you might have seen the abandoned beach resort bearing the name of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. He has said he wasn’t really a developer of the project, that he just licensed the rights to his name on it before it went belly-up.

KPBS’s Jean Guerrero found a couple of people who were taken for a ride on the project when they purchased two condominiums in it that were never actually built. You’ll be surprised to learn they aren’t big Trump fans.

Research from the San Diego State hospitality center says the San Diego Pride parade brings in over $10 million to the region. (Times of San Diego)

SDPD released a new sketch of the man they’re looking for who has murdered and assaulted multiple homeless residents. (City News Service)

I'm Andrew Keatts, a managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at

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