It was all for nothing. The move by San Diego City Councilwomen Sherri Lightner and Lorie Zapf to clarify city law in a way that would leave no doubt that short-term vacation rentals are not allowed in most residential neighborhoods turned out to have the support of … just Lightner and Zapf. After several hours of testimony for the Council meeting — which was moved to Golden Hall to accommodate the throngs of public speakers it attracted — all seven of Lightner and Zapf’s colleagues rejected the proposal.
Instead, they decided to ask the mayor to come up with a plan to better enforce current law and also return with better regulations for vacation rentals.
On stage, Lightner apologized to the people still there when the marathon meeting ended.
Council Race Gets Mean
In some ways, the two candidates running to replace the retiring Marti Emerald as the City Council representative for District 9 could hardly be more similar. Georgette Gomez and Ricardo Flores are both San Diego natives, both Democrats. They both work in the public policy sphere. And they agree on most issues — with a couple big exceptions.
For one, they disagree over Measure D, the hotel-tax-hike-and-Mission-Valley-land-sale-authorization-plus-roundabout-way-to-build-a-convention-center-and-maybe-a-football-stadium initiative on the ballot. For another, they disagree over which one of them is closer to Donald Trump.
Wait, what? Those are fightin’ words among Dems. But this race has gotten mean, as our Ry Rivard reports, with both candidates throwing accusations that involve the GOP presidential candidate.
“But on both style and substance, neither has much in common with Trump,” Rivard writes. “Flores is a lifelong aide to Democratic politicians; Gomez works for a nonprofit that tries to protect people’s health and the environment. Flores and Gomez both talk admiringly about the incredible diversity of District 9.”
The district, by the way, serves neighborhoods such as Kensington, Talmadge, College Area, City Heights and Mt. Hope.
• The claim in an anti-Flores mailer is pretty simple: “We pay him $116,000 a year, but Flores skips work nearly every day” to campaign.
That makes it sound like Flores is slacking on the taxpayer dime, a major charge. A similar one helped crush former mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher’s bid. But there’s no evidence that Flores is doing any such thing. Flores has gone to part time at work to make time to campaign, so he’s not making that salary.
The Gomez campaign tells our San Diego Fact Check service that the mailer is carefully worded in order to be accurate. But San Diego Fact Check wasn’t born yesterday. The claim is “misleading.”
U-T Editorializes Off of Our Find
The U-T editorial board opposes Measure A, which would boost sales taxes to support transportation projects. “Now there’s another reason to question Measure A,” the paper says, pointing to our big story questioning optimistic assumptions about how much revenue will actually be raised.
Opinion: Mayor, Almost-Mayor Debate Measure J’s Park Plan
In a VOSD commentary, Mayor Kevin Faulconer stands behind Measure J, which he writes will “set in motion a grand restoration of Mission Bay Park, Balboa Park and other regional parks for generations to come.”
It will, he writes, “make more than $1.5 billion available for our parks without raising taxes.”
But in another VOSD commentary, Donna Frye, the influential former councilwoman and almost-mayor, writes that “Measure J breaks the promise made to the voters in 2008 that the raid on Mission Bay Park revenues would finally end and the long-awaited public projects would finally begin.”
Frye and Faulconer were partners on that 2008 plan.
Opinion: Stop Prop. 58’s Bilingual Ed Bossiness
In a VOSD commentary, State Senator Joel Anderson, a Republican, bashes Prop. 58, which would make it easier for schools to offer bilingual education. He says that form of teaching English has failed. “Under current law, parents can ask for bilingual education for their children. No one should be forced into bilingual education at the cost of their educational success so that we can ensure the existence of union jobs.”
For a pro viewpoint, check our interview with a Prop. 58 supporter.
Gannett Checks Itself Before It Troncs Itself
It’s official. Gannett “abruptly ended its six-month bid to acquire Tronc,” the L.A. Times (the U-T’s sister paper) reports. The company owns the LA Times, U-T and many other papers. A deal “was hampered by a last-minute withdrawal of support last week by bankers expected to finance the transaction.”
Culture Report: The Books of His Life
This week’s VOSD Culture Report starts off with local writer/poet Jimmy Jazz, who’s self-published a 627-page opus about his life and every single book he’s read since he was a young adult.
Also in the Culture Report: Celebrating women via nightstands, remembering influential Chicano musician Ramón “Chunky” Sanchez, secretive employee sackings at San Diego Junior Theatre and more.
Election Roundup: Boy, Is He a Live Wire
He’s come out in favor of global warming because it would make life more difficult for our Muslim enemies. He’s expressed his hatred for Chinese Communists (“Chi-Coms”), likened homeless people to the Viet Cong, and promises to “nail and identify the weakest Democrat seat in California and then we will marshal every Republican insurgent to get rid of that Democrat.”
Meet Randy Voepel, the mayor of Santee and the likely next assemblyman from the 71st district, which covers a big chunk of San Diego County. The L.A. Times profiles Voepel, who’s as outrageous as ever. We’ve heard him say crazy things too.
• Pollster John Nienstedt has some bad news for the Chargers.
• Donald Trump is tweet-stumping for endangered local Rep. Darrell Issa.
• You can visit local AMC theaters next Tuesday night and watch CNN coverage of the election on a big screen; there will be a “red” and a “blue” theater locally, but AMC Stub members can go to either one. “In San Diego County, you’ll head to AMC Mission Valley 20 if you’re part of the Democratic party and to AMC La Jolla 12 if you favor the Republican party,” NBC 7 reports.
Election Roundup: Beyond San Diego
• A new poll says Hillary Clinton is ahead of Trump in California by 56 percent to 35 percent; that’s a bit of a dip for Clinton and a jump for Trump, perhaps reflecting an apparent trend in other states where Republicans are “coming home” and supporting their nominee. The poll also suggests that voters will legalize marijuana.
• The L.A. Times examines the battling claims over the potential savings the state would incur if voters eliminate the death penalty (Prop. 62) or support a faster legal process for executions (Prop. 66).
• Orange County could go Democrat for the first time since it supported FDR over Alf Landon in 1936. (L.A. Times)
• As of yesterday, almost a third of 1.1 million early ballots had been returned in the county. (Inewsource)
Big 1933 Quake Linked to Oil Drilling
A new study suggests that the devastating Long Beach earthquake, the deadliest to ever hit Southern California, could have been caused — 2016 Oklahoma-style — by oil drilling that triggered a fault.
The magnitude 6.4. quake killed 120 people and, the L.A. Times reports, “prompted officials to ban new construction of unreinforced brick buildings.” The quake also focused heavy attention on the safety of school buildings.
The good news: Today’s oil drilling in SoCal may not have the same effect.
Quick News Hits: Neon Dentistry
• Barrio Logan residents are worried that the expansion of a marine terminal will barrage their neighborhood with more truck traffic that brings pollution and noise. (KPBS)
• New research suggests that Uber and Lyft drivers discriminate against black people; some drivers seem to be making decisions about whom to pick up (or decline to pick up) based on assumptions about race based on names.
“The findings — based on roughly 1,500 combined trips in Seattle and Boston — come on the heels of similar racial discrimination accusations against Airbnb, the vacation rental website, where people with African-American-sounding names found it harder to rent rooms than their white counterparts,” the N.Y. Times reports.
• San Diego Magazine has put together a nifty collection of photos of San Diego’s past. Among the gems: shots of a streetcar on University Avenue near the Georgia Street Bridge in 1930, the Gaslamp Quarter in 1876 (back in the olden days when sin was sold), and the Hillcrest sign and environs around 1930.
Look closely at the Hillcrest photo and you’ll spot a neon sign for a dentist (flashy sign, flashy teeth?) plus a “Hillcrest Frock Shoppe.” And here you thought the pretentious use of ye olde-timey English words was a modern development. You’re not a pioneer, University Towne Centre!
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.