This is your leadership, San Diego.

With just a little more than six weeks to go before the election, Mayor Kevin Faulconer still won’t say how he feels about perhaps the biggest issue facing the city — Measure C, the Chargers’ convadium plan.

Scott Lewis said this week he’s “never seen a politician so paralyzed by a decision.”

Faulconer’s got some company, though. Also this week, County Supervisor Dave Roberts told us that he won’t say how he feels about Measure A, the countywide sales tax hike that would fund transit and road projects. The reason: It’s controversial. Let that sink in a minute. An elected official won’t be upfront about his position on a major issue facing his constituents because some of them might not like what he has to say.

There are times when circumstances really do prevent a politician from weighing in on an issue — when they have a conflict of interest, for example, or if they might have to vote on related issues in the future. This is not the case for Faulconer or Roberts. They just don’t want to say.

But it’s also possible to make a decision and still show a lack of leadership.

That seems to be the case with SDPD’s approach to rape kits. Earlier this month we reported that the department is doubling down on its decision not to test all kits, even as other departments across the nation scramble to secure funds to test all of their kits. That decision is frustrating on its face. But this explosive Daily Beast story, about a rape ring in the Gaslamp, drives home the impact of that decision even further. Here’s a sampling (emphasis mine):

It’s unclear whether police tried to find or apprehend Jonas in his hostel that night. The San Diego PD did not respond to a request for details on that investigation and the court case file is thin. It’s also unknown why it took three years to test her rape kit. Nevertheless, it eventually was tested—and came back with a match for Jonas Dick.

Since it’s a long story, let me break down this specific piece of it. This man raped an underage girl in 2012. That rape kit sat on a shelf for three years. He went on to rape at least one more person in 2013, but possibly countless others.

Since our untested rape kits story came out, both candidates for city attorney have come out and said they support testing all kits.

I’m a little loathe to call this leadership, since, again, this is something that is uncontroversial among many law enforcement agencies. But at least it’s something.

What VOSD Learned This Week

Earlier this week I commiserated with an L.A.-based journalist on Twitter, since both of us were prepping presentations to explain the #bananasballot. On top of the 17 statewide measures, he lamented, Los Angeles also has six local measures. “That’s cute,” I told him. “San Diego has 12.” Fourteen if you count the two countywide measures.

We vetted several of them this week.

Maya Srikrishnan broke down the broader impacts of Measure B, which would approve the Lilac Hills Ranch project but also set some big precedents for development countywide. And she examined the county supervisor candidates’ positions on Measure A, the SANDAG tax (that’s the one Dave Roberts doesn’t actually have a position on).

Some cities and counties across California are moving to tackle homelessness through ballot measures. San Diego, though, isn’t one of them – and Lisa Halverstadt dug into why.

Then there’s Measure C, the Chargers’ plan to build a convadium. If that goes through, it would likely mean the end of the historic Wonder Bread building as we know it. And it wouldn’t be the first time the building’s owner has been forced to surrender a property for a downtown stadium.

Finally, Halverstadt exposed some bubbling opposition to Measure J, a parks bond meant to expedite and fund projects at Mission Bay Park and other regional parks. When Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the measure, it seemed pretty noncontroversial. But some Mission Bay Park supporters now worry it could harm their favorite park more than help it.


Last week, Ry Rivard told you about a curious $1.8 billion potential project being discussed by the San Diego County Water Authority that even its own board members are unsure about. (The head of the Water Authority wrote in this week to say there’s nothing curious about it at all, by the way.)

This week, he shed some light on another major project being proposed that you might not have heard anything about. It’s a new natural gas pipeline that could ultimately cost “about $2.1 billion over coming decades.” Why spend so much on natural gas when California is facing mandates to use more renewable energy, and less natural gas? That’s what environmentalists would like to know.


A few years ago, a middle college program at Lincoln – one that lets students take community college classes and earn college credit while in high school – was touted as a way to address a “state of emergency” plaguing the school.

Just two years in, the program is in serious trouble.

What I’m Reading

• Here’s hoping David Fahrenthold wins a Pulitzer for his incredible work investigating Donald Trump’s charity dealings. (Washington Post)

• Instead of writing a glorified press release about Leonardo DiCaprio’s beach house, LAist did this – and it is amazing.

• I soooooooo hope that President Barack Obama dishes out even a fraction as much #realtalk once he leaves office as former Mexican President Vicente Fox. (GQ)

 If you don’t understand the Black Lives Matter movement after the death of Terence Crutcher, you never will. (Vox)

• I am the nerdiest of presidential history nerds – I collect campaign buttons. I visit presidential libraries. This interview between Obama and Doris Kearns Goodwin, talkin’ presidential history, is my everything. (Vanity Fair)

• This essay about the kindness of neighbors who don’t speak the same language left me a little teary. Sometimes this world is all right. (Globe and Mail)

Line of the Week

“A kale-apple-ginger cold-pressed juice? Yeah, right. I’m from New York, where we’re given a lipstick-stained mug filled with dirty hot-dog water to carry down Sixth Avenue until a big drop of what is either Legionnaire’s-disease-infected air-conditioner leak or somebody else’s spit lands in it, then we drink that to get our immune-system boost, thank you very much.” – From a wonderful sendup about smug New Yorkers who move to California.

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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