The center of iconic Balboa Park is likely to get a major overhaul if money rolls in to support it.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer and park leaders recently announced they’re committed to moving forward with the so-called the Plaza de Panama plan that had previously been tangled up in court. The plan’s faced lots of criticism but it’s now part of the city’s long-term development blueprint for the park, meaning a City Council vote on a financing plan and, well, money, should be enough to ensure its revival.
Now that it’s back on the table, I decided to offer a refresher on what the makeover might look like and what its backers aim to accomplish – namely, restoring plazas now crawling with cars to pedestrian space while still allowing cars to enter the park through the popular west entrance.
Big Ballot Gets Even Bigger
San Diego voters, you’ve officially got two more measures to study: the Citizens Plan and the Chargers convadium initiative, both of which could spike hotel taxes to pay for a downtown convention center.
The Union-Tribune has the details on Monday’s City Council decision to put both measures on the November ballot and a fun fact: These are the first San Diego citizen initiatives that seek tax hikes to ever be placed on the ballot.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has decided both measures would need a two-thirds vote to pass and is planning to ask the state Supreme Court to weigh in if one or both of the measures are approved by a majority of voters but less than two-thirds.
As our Scott Lewis has reported, a two-thirds vote would be a high hurdle for the Chargers, who could pack up for Inglewood if things don’t pan out. The Chargers apparently didn’t make an appearance at Monday’s City Council meeting.
Border Report: Deported Vets Stuck for Now
A group of deported U.S. military veterans who turned themselves over to Customs officials, asking for special permission to return to the country, didn’t get the welcome back they were hoping for earlier this month.
In the latest Border Report, contributor Brooke Binkowski writes about the dilemma those deported veterans face and one lawmaker’s legislative attempt to help them.
Also in this week’s Border Report: Binkowski sheds light on a poll that drives home border communities’ opposition to the new wall presidential candidate Donald Trump is pushing, the latest on border waits and the not-so-new Baja wine scene.
The Con Is Almost Upon Us
Last week, tourists descended on downtown San Diego for the MLB All-Star Game. Next up, a visit from tens of thousands of costumed convention-goers.
Turns out those costumed convention-goers are also big trolley fans.
The Metropolitan Transit System tells Inewsource Comic Con’s the region’s “biggest ride generator event” and typically adds 200,000 to 300,000 extra trips to the service during the month of July.
To put that in perspective, Comic-Con’s historically drawn an estimated 134,000 to the city. For even more perspective on the con’s local impact and how it compares to those others popping up across the nation, check out the Comic-Con mini-series I worked on last July.
• Don’t have a badge but want in on this week’s Comic-Con action? KPBS has a comprehensive guide for you.
Quick News Hits
• The San Diego City Council could vote to ban plastic bags today. (KPBS)
• Rep. Duncan Hunter, who’s already reimbursed his campaign account for thousands of dollars of in apparently mistaken charges, has hired some legal help. (Union-Tribune)
• The man who’s believed to have killed three Baton Rouge, La., police officers and injured three others was once a Marine sergeant assigned to Camp Pendleton, MCAS Miramar and the Marine Corps Training Depot. (NBC 7)
• San Diego law enforcement officials and community leaders gathered at Balboa Park Monday to call for unity and support for police officers. (City News Service)
• A wildfire near Barona burned through dozens of acres Monday, leading the Sheriff’s Department to call for evacuations. (10 News)
• Today in very weird news: A dead, 22-ton humpback whale named Wally whose remains repeatedly washed up on SoCal coastlines was finally laid to rest Monday after a final stop in Leucadia. (Union-Tribune)