A couple weeks ago, I talked to San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. He plainly didn’t know what he was going to tell voters about what portion of the vote the Chargers needed to declare victory in their push for a new stadium.
On the one hand, raising taxes for things like a stadium or transit system has long required approval from two-thirds of voters. On the other, an appellate court ruling had apparently created a loophole: You could raise taxes with a citizens initiative and only need a bare majority of voters to enact it.
But then the California Supreme Court decided to review the case. So it’s not law. Or it is. It’s unclear.
Late Friday, Goldsmith’s office published his staff’s analysis that said, yep, the Chargers need two-thirds of voters to approve their stadium plan. What’s more, he advised the city clerk that the Citizens Plan, the measure crafted in part by Donna Frye and Cory Briggs, also requires two-thirds approval. Briggs disputes this, and it’s possible the Chargers could sue under the same rationale as the case heading to the Supreme Court.
Goldsmith also released a letter he sent the Supreme Court asking for an expedited decision and clarity on what happens if one of the initiatives gets a majority voter support, but not two-thirds.
No word yet on how exactly the court will ignore him.
Podcast: Padres Quibbles and Azano Trial
For this week’s podcast, we reviewed my story on the Padres concerns about the Chargers stadium plan. And then we called up old friend Liam Dillon, who helped walk us through the background on this week’s big court case in San Diego: the trial of Jose Susumo Azano Matsura. Azano is accused of illegally funneling money to various campaigns in San Diego.
Thursday, Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s name came up in the scandal for the first time when a political consultant said “he felt pressured by some in the 2012 mayoral campaign of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to find a way to put $100,000 of ‘fishy’ campaign funds to work for her,” according to the U-T’s report. KPBS also had a report from court.
Dillon’s investigation last year into the whole saga is worth reviewing. My favorite is his riveting Part 3, where he uncovered how Azano fell from Mexican business tycoon to being charged with political corruption.
Peter Navarro Guides Trump
Peter Navarro, the one-time anti-growth, populist candidate for San Diego mayor, was named one of Donald Trump’s 13 economic advisors. He’s the only academic on the team, which includes no women but a rather impressive number of guys named Steve.
Bloomberg says Navarro’s ideas guide Trump. He’s one of the only economists in the academy who argues free trade is bad for the country.
Water Restrictions Easing, Depending on Where You Live, At Least
Our Ry Rivard has a nice round up of a curious phenomenon. The drought seems to be easing and we’ve cut water use, a lot. But both of those factors are leading to overlapping and contradictory water-use suggestions depending on where you live in San Diego County.
California law students could be required to do 50 hours of pro-bono work before they can pass the bar, if a new bill makes its way into law.
It’s from San Diego’s Marty Block. In this week’s Sacramento Report, Sara Libby talked to a smattering of experts about the new potential requirement. She also helps with a guide to the big week coming in the Capitol when they cram in as much as they can before the session ends.
In Other News
• For this week’s San Diego Explained – the video series we do with NBC 7 San Diego – we review what Imperial Beach is doing to prepare for sea-level rise.
• The U-T reports that many schools report having zero bullying incidents. Some doubt that can be accurate.
Most-Read Stories of the Week
Here’s a list of our Top 10 most-read stories of the week and below are the Top 5:
1. Exclusive: Padres Chairman Lays Out Concerns with Chargers’ Plans
When the Chamber of Commerce endorsed the Chargers plan for a new stadium in downtown San Diego, one member of its board of directors abstained. We wanted to find out why and ended up with an exclusive interview with Padres Chairman Ron Fowler. (Scott Lewis)
2. When Your Noisy Neighbor Is the United States Military
During the public comment period for the Navy’s new Coastal Campus, Coronado said the community is “already significantly impacted with traffic,” hearing noise from traffic and aircraft, breathing air degraded by soot from trucks and airplanes, and dealing with “ever diminishing access along coastal shorelines.” (Ry Rivard)
3. Meet San Diego’s Craft Beer Attorney (Trademark Pending)
Helping small craft breweries trademark their names or products is a big chunk of Candace Moon’s business. She said the friendly craft beer culture often helps with mediation efforts when conflicts over trademarks come up. Things haven’t gone as smoothly, though, as she fights for her own trademark. (Kinsee Morlan)
4. The Kindergarten Shock
Like with anything in education, equipping more children to enter kindergarten prepared won’t be easy. We could extend transitional kindergarten to all students. We could expand slots for universal preschool and vouchers for good preschools. We could massage the standards. But whatever we do, new parents need to know right away that they must set their kids’ educations in motion from the beginning. (Scott Lewis)
5. San Diego Explained: The Colorado River’s Waning Water
In this week’s San Diego Explained, NBC 7 San Diego’s Monica Dean and Voice of San Diego’s Ry Rivard talk about the Colorado River’s receding waters’ impact on San Diego, and dig into why the region’s water officials aren’t part of the doomsday discussion. (Kinsee Morlan)