The race to replace retiring Councilwoman Marti Emerald in the City Council’s District 9 pits two Democrats with similar goals against each other.
That doesn’t mean it’s a nice and cozy campaign. A mailer paid for by an outside group attacks candidate Georgette Gomez says she’s facing a political ethics probe. The problem: The claim is “misleading,” says our San Diego Fact Check outfit.
The complaint was filed by “Ken Moser, a frequent complaint-filer who has targeted Democratic candidates,” writes Ry Rivard. “Moser contends that Gomez failed to disclose all of her and her partner’s sources of income on financial disclosure forms she filed as a member of the City Heights Redevelopment Project Area Committee between March 2010 and April 2012.”
The city ethics commission cleared Gomez regarding questions over her income. Now, the state is finishing its review. “At best, the complaint against Gomez constitutes an election season bit of nitpicking for paperwork filed several years ago,” Rivard writes. “At worst, it’s taking advantage of an agency meant to ensure fair elections and using its standard due diligence as the basis for unfair attacks.”
Divide Over Housing, Stadium in District 9
The District 9 candidates both agree about the need for cheaper housing in their district, which includes many college students and some of San Diego’s poorest neighborhoods. And they both think it will help to get higher tax collections from hotel stays. But then they diverge.
Ricardo Flores, a staffer with Emerald’s office, wants to use higher hotel taxes to support housing and other projects. He opposes both stadium measures on the ballot, which would raise the taxes and then divert it for other purposes. “We’re not talking about not raising taxes, we’re talking about where we want them to go,” he tells our Ry Rivard.
Gomez, the associate director of the Environmental Health Coalition, supports Measure D, saying she hopes it will lead to student housing in Mission Valley, and she throws shade at her rival: “He’s making reference that it’s going to do everything — I don’t think it can do everything,”
Accusations Fly Over Valley Center Project
Inewsource reports on the weirdness and shadow play spawned by Measure B, the countywide measure that seeks approval for a 1,700-home project in Valley Center: “It’s made strange bedfellows of environmentalists and developers, has spawned three complaints with California’s elections watchdog and has seen a six-figure donation from a nonprofit with a checkered record that refuses to disclose its source of funds.”
For more background on Measure B, check out Maya Srikrisnan’s breakdown of why the measure represents a bigger decision for voters than just this one project.
Doorway to Nowhere
KPBS finds that travelers are enduring extra hassles at the San Ysidro Transit Center because a doorway is blocked off due to a lawsuit, forcing them to take a longer route that’s more difficult for the disabled and anyone who seeks peace during their commute. “The doorway is near an elevator that helps people dodge — depending on the route they take — what can be a lengthy, jagged walk punctuated by solicitations from people offering rides.”
The lawsuit has deep roots in conflict between the transit agency and the building’s owner.
• “A new study commissioned by the San Diego Planning Department paints a rosier picture of the city’s ability to meet ambitious transportation goals set out in the city’s landmark Climate Action Plan,” KPBS reports. The report comes out as the City Council considers community plan updates for North Park and Golden Hill.
Culture Report: How Political Rivals Would Support Art
One of the marquee local races this year is the battle to represent much of coastal North County on the County Board of Supervisors. Scandal-plagued Supervisor Dave Roberts, the only Democrat on the board, is facing a Republican, Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar. They both talked to VOSD’s Culture Report about how they’ll support the arts.
One big issue: the pots of money that each supervisor is able to dole out for arts and culture organization. Critics cry “slush fund!” Roberts says he’ll continue to support an advisory panel that he put together to make recommendations about spending his district’s money; Gaspar’s open to creating a similar committee.
The Culture Report also asked the candidates about the prospects for “cultural districts” and a countywide arts council.
Also in the Culture Report: Dancing to Leonard Cohen, artwork about those killed by cops, a dark “Cinderella” and the new “Herb & Wood” restaurant (I loved their albums in the ’70s!).
Quick News Hits: Holy (Lack of) Guacamole!
• The City Council has approved a controversial $3 billion recycled water plan, rejecting requests by neighboring cities to slow down the project. In doing so, they rejected requests by neighboring cities to slow down the project. (City News Service)
• “A 46-year-old Iranian American from San Diego said Tuesday that Iran had sentenced him to 18 years in prison for ‘collaborating with a hostile government,’” the L.A. Times reports. The paper says “a growing number of dual nationals have been imprisoned in Iran.”
• A “diversity-focused startup incubator and accelerator program” will be housed at the new football stadium/convention center annex if it’s approved via Measure C, the Chargers chairman says. (S.D. Business Journal)
• Taco Tuesday just got real. It seemed that The Great Avocado Crisis of 2016 had been resolved, but no: Local restaurants are taking guacamole off the menu because of the avocado shortage. Prices are the highest ever recorded thanks to a Mexican grower and picker strike.
Chipotle fans should be OK: The company isn’t having trouble getting avocados, and it doesn’t expect to raise guac prices. Still, you’re likely to see me haunting local Mexican joints, warbling that miserable, age-old cry: “Have-ocado? Have-ocado??”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.