To build wealth from nothing, start by selling bologna sandwiches. That’s what Spanos family patriarch Alex Spanos did 70 years ago, and he continued to build the business into a family fortune that is estimated at $2.4 billion, which includes ownership of the San Diego Chargers.

But back to those bologna sandwiches, which Spanos admitted were “not an appropriate menu” in his autobiography (he also writes that he quickly changed the food offerings). Ry Rivard reports those sandwiches were for immigrant farmworkers called braceros. By charging more than the sandwiches cost to make and limiting options for access to other food sources, Spanos was able to turn a good profit from each worker, despite rules that meals be provided at cost. “There’s no question they were getting gouged,” one professor who studied the braceros told Rivard.

Spanos turned his profits into the foundation of his real estate investments. And those investments landed him the opportunity to purchase a sports team.

The Learning Curve: What Prop. 58 Means

The statewide initiative Proposition 58 will appear on voters’ ballots in November. It seeks changes to a 1998 law stating that California’s students should be taught “overwhelmingly in English.” The goal of the ballot measure is to “do away with the requirement that parents must sign waivers before enrolling their children in dual-language programs,” Mario Koran reports. Doing so would allow more schools to offer bilingual education approaches that many parents desire for their kids. “The most popular language programs in San Diego Unified turn away hundreds of parents each year,” Koran writes.

Opponents claim the bilingual approach was attempted and failed prior to the 1998 law and fear a return to those failures if Prop. 58 is passed. “Slapping a bilingual label on [a school], without regard to meaty concerns like curriculum or staffing, would likely produce dire results,” Koran writes. But if dual-language programs are executed effectively, there can be a big payoff: “Being multilingual makes you more competitive in the workplace, and in fact just might make you smarter.”

The Plan to Help Pedestrians Exists; Just Do It

“Between 2001 and 2015, 270 people were killed by cars while walking and more than 8,000 were injured” in San Diego, writes Circulate San Diego’s director of advocacy, Kathleen Ferrier. “The city auditor released a report earlier this month outlining 18 recommendations the city should take to improve pedestrian safety and help save lives.”

That report includes findings of 214 intersections that have hosted at least five injuries. Ferrier wants city leaders to take more aggressive action to implement the “Vision Zero” plan adopted by the City Council that aims to stop pedestrian injuries. “We also need drivers to act more responsibly behind the wheel,” she writes.

Olongo Family Steps Forward

The family of Alfred Olongo spoke out on Thursday demanding a full release of the video showing the man’s confrontation with police. Olando died after a confrontation with El Cajon police on Tuesday. The video of the incident captured by a bystander is in the possession of the district attorney’s office, but El Cajon police released a single still image from the video depicting the moment of standoff between Olongo and two officers. Olongo’s family also urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully. Olongo’s mother told reporters her son “was distraught at the time of the shooting due to the death of a close friend,” KPBS reports.

Meanwhile a lot of other reporting has been trying to put Olango and the police officer who shot him into further context. (KPBS)

Forfeiture Law Reformed

Gov. Jerry Brown signed and vetoed dozens on of laws sent to him by the Legislature on Thursday. Among the bills he signed was SB 443, which aimed to reform the process known as civil asset forfeiture, in which law enforcement agencies can take property and money from people without a warrant or without even charging them with a crime. The new bill, sought by many but opposed by law enforcement agencies, closes a loophole that allowed agencies to skirt California’s tougher rules and also raises the threshold for confiscating cash.

Spanos: My Way or No Way

True to form, Dean Spanos told the Union-Tribune that there are no other options he would consider for the Chargers other than Measure C, which is the plan he has put to voters in November proposing to raise hotel taxes and build a football stadium downtown with the money. He also mentions regretting the bad feelings he evoked from fans last year when he inartfully threatened to move the Chargers to Los Angeles. “At the end of the day, it’s business and that was the best business decision I could make at the time,” Spanos said.

We still don’t know if Mayor Kevin Faulconer approves of Measure C because he continues to be silent on the issue. A vote on Measure C being taken by the business group San Diego Downtown Partnership on Friday could help move things along, though. If that group votes to oppose the plan, it could be a mortal blow to C’s chance of passage. But the group’s vote could provide political cover for the mayor to follow their lead.

Lightning Round

A proposal to build a large homeless intake center to house the homeless in beds and in tents is getting more support among key stakeholders, KPBS reports. San Diego has an emergency shelter crisis that is pushing many homeless onto the streets.

A new health and exercise researcher hired at UCSD comes to the school with a background of doing health research funded by Coca-Cola. (Union-Tribune)

The Atlantic has a visual feast of photographs taken from many locations on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

This D.C. resident and frequent visitor to San Diego compares similar walks from home to the nearest public transit in the two cities and explains why ours is so much worse. (Greater Washington)

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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