The mayor has spoken, at last. And he’s still talking. After finally taking a stand on the pair of battling stadium ballot measures — he’s endorsing Measure C, the Chargers initiative — Kevin Faulconer explained his reasoning to our Scott Lewis in an interview this week.
“Look, it’s important that we have professional sports teams, just like we have symphonies and museums and arts and culture as part of who we are as a city,” he says. “That’s why I spent the time that we did over the last couple months — to try to get additional safeguards and protections that I think will set this city up for success.”
What about the criticism that the safeguards aren’t binding? Faulconer says there will be opportunities to head the measure off at the pass if the team fails to follow through. “There are so many future votes and areas of action by the Council and myself that would be required if Measure C passes, having these commitments in writing — this is not a document the Chargers have ever produced before — was very important to me.”
• Lewis also takes a look at how this has been a godawful year for plans to expand the convention center at its current location instead of building a separate convadium.
Its most prominent backers are falling off, one by one. The city of San Diego no longer even controls the land it would need. The plan faces a passionate foe in court. Yet its remaining backers are still deeply committed – and think there’s a chance they could overcome all of that
Except it’s not dead.
“Remaining backers are deeply committed. They think they can get the land back — maybe just have the government seize the lease. They think the legal challenge will fizzle, as will the competing initiatives. And the mayor, well, they will note the mayor says he doesn’t really think the competing plan he supports will pass.”
• The Chargers are touting a new report — released and funded by the team — that says Measure C’s stadium plan could bring $400 million to the region. Critics, of course, say stadium deals are boondoggles. (NBC 7)
Commentary: City Already Failing Its Climate Action Plan
In a VOSD commentary, two top environmental leaders — Nicole Capretz, executive director of Climate Action Campaign, and George Courser is conservation chair of Sierra Club San Diego — warn that draft community blueprints for North Park, Uptown and Greater Golden Hill are failures from a climate protection perspective, specifically the city’s much-touted Climate Action Plan. None of the drafts “conform to the plan nor meet the minimum thresholds set for shifting commutes to biking, walking and transit…,” they write. “The better option, and in our opinion the only option, is to do these community plan updates right in the first place and prioritize better transportation infrastructure in the urban core.”
We previously reported that the issue could end up in court. That lawyers could hold the Climate Action Plan accountable in court was, of course, the reason it got so much national attention. Just how it can be enforced, however, is kind of fuzzy.
Election Roundup: Condom Controversy
The New York Times finds that there’s plenty of high-profile opposition, including from both major political parties, to a state ballot measure that would require makers of pornography ensure that male performers wear condoms.
Here’s a twist in Prop. 60 that’s turning off critics: “Under the measure, any private party would be allowed to sue producers of pornography if the state’s workplace safety agency failed to act on a reported violation. If such a lawsuit prevailed, the plaintiffs could get a cut of the judgment.”
Opponents also fear that the measure would force performers to publicize their identities. For more, check our chat with a local adult performer about why she opposes Prop. 60.
• KPBS looks at the City Council race in District 9, which serves neighborhoods like City Heights, Talmadge, Kensington, and the College Area. Issues in the district include “mini-dorms,” traffic congestion and affordable housing.
• “Donald Trump has pledged to build a ‘beautiful wall’,” The Guardian reports, “but America’s frontier with Mexico is already aggressively defended by the drones and fences of the US border patrol. It’s a strategy that is causing ever more migrants to die in hostile terrain.”
• The sole Democrat on the county board of supervisors joined his Republican colleagues (with one absent) to unanimously oppose legalizing recreational marijuana via Proposition 64. (City News Service)
• The Republican candidate running against Democratic Rep. Scott Peters is distancing herself, sort of, from you-know-who at the top of the national GOP ticket. (Times of S.D.)
Why October’s Often a Firefest
This is a big month for wildfires in California. In fact, it’s the biggest month of all. According to The Mercury News, “five of the six most destructive wildfires in state history, ranked by the number of homes burned down, have occurred in October.” That number includes the largest wildfire in state history, 2003’s Cedar Fire, which devastated our county.
Why is October so bad? The story points to two reasons: Dry brush that often hasn’t seen rain since the spring and high winds. Santa Ana weather conditions, common in September and October, cause the wind to blow in Southern California. Here’s something you may not know: High winds in Northern California are called Diablo winds.
The story quotes a famous passage from mystery writer Raymond Chandler, who lived in La Jolla and is buried here, about the crazy-making powers of Santa Anas: “those hot dry winds that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen.”
We may get another lesson this coming weekend: A Santa Ana is on the way.
Culture Report: Council Candidates on the Arts
This week’s VOSD Culture Report checks in with the City Council candidates in District 9: art fan Georgette Gomez and former film student Ricardo Flores.
One of the candidates won’t promise to put 9.5 percent of the city’s hotel tax collections toward the Commission for Arts and Culture; another supports it but wants to make sure that big, high-profile institutions don’t hog the money.
Also in the Culture Report: A shakeup at the Junior Theatre, a big-name gallery moves out of La Jolla, new teaching credentials for dance and theater teachers, women on motorcycles and much more.
Quick News Hits: Chargers as Choke Artists
• Does a landlord have the right to evict residents in order to fix up a property and charge more rent? Such upgrades are “a common tale across San Diego’s low-income communities as demand for housing increases,” KPBS reports. “But there’s a city ordinance that could disrupt that tale.”
• The Washington Post has an extensive report about a new lawsuit against Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego that accuses it of discriminating against her transgender 15-year-old son, who committed suicide after being treated at the facility. The boy’s mother claims the hospital traumatized her son by referring to him as a girl.
• Local librarians continue to grapple with the challenge posed by homeless people who often turn libraries into quasi-shelters. Many of the homeless are mentally ill. Now, librarians are getting training in “mental health first aid” so they can defuse conflicts and refer patrons to help. (KPBS)
• The Chargers have been choking a lot lately, blowing games that they should have won. How bad is it? Really, really bad. “The Chargers Are Unprecedented Late-Game Failures,” says the headline on the data-obsessed 538.com. In fact, only one team has had a worse 2-year stretch on this front since 1966, and that was the Oilers more than 20 years ago.
The team could still turn things around. Unfortunately, the guy behind the Heimlich maneuver has been too busy with other things like saving a life — to lend the team a, um, helping arm.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.