As we’ve reported this week, a company called FieldTurf sold some local schools an artificial turf product that failed and used that as a chance to upsell them to stuff that would not fail. And districts kept on buying.
“Grass blades quickly faded, laid flat or tore out entirely, causing shedding and bald spots,” our Ashly McGlone reports. “In some cases, the fields raised safety concerns and caused dilemmas for districts that sometimes ended with them shelling out more public money to FieldTurf.”
How did this happen? The last article in our four-part investigative series digs into the why. One major factor: No-bid, sole-source deals. “Had local schools not used FieldTurf for all their turf jobs,” McGlone reports, “they may not have been so negatively impacted by the defective product. They likely would have saved some serious money, too.”
Other turf companies exists, and they’ve tried to get an opportunity to bid. San Diego Unified, for one, turned them down.
Opinion: Mend It, Don’t End It
In a VOSD commentary, architect Jack Carpenter calls on the city to fix the existing football stadium: “Aside from some code upgrades, the Q is a perfect framework for a refurbished state-of-the-art stadium. Plus, rehabbing an old building rather than building a new one is better for the environment.” It can be a “great sports facility once again,” he writes, with the help of “multiple new video boards, reconstructed sky boxes, public toilets and locker rooms.”
• The Kept Faith podcast hosts talk to their British friend Hugh John Noble from the band Slum Summer about his first experience attending an NFL game at the football stadium. Then they talk about the future of the Chargers.
Issa Claims Election Could Be Rigged
North County’s Rep. Darrell Issa, sounded the alarm about a threat to his possible re-election: “I won, but now the liberals are trying to steal the election,” he said in a fundraising message, the U-T reports. He added: “Democrats will attempt to force the Registrars to allow thousands of illegal, unregistered voters to influence the election.”
However, it looks like Issa won.
Cops, Schools Won’t Play Ball with Trump
As immigrants worry about the futures, the Cal State university system’s chancellor said its schools won’t help enforce immigration law unless they’re forced to: “Our university police do not contact, detain, question or arrest individuals solely on the basis of being … a person that lacks documentation.” (L.A. Times)
Earlier, the chief of the L.A. Police Department declared that his cops won’t enforce immigration law under Trump. For decades, department has prevented “officers from initiating contact with someone solely to determine whether he or she is in the country,” the L.A. Times reports. And in recent years, the department has “stopped turning over people arrested for low-level crimes to federal agents for deportation and moved away from honoring federal requests to detain inmates who might be deportable past their jail terms.”
The police chief said: “We are not going to work in conjunction with Homeland Security on deportation efforts. That is not our job, nor will I make it our job.”
San Diego officials have not issued any statements like counterparts in other cities.
• The county took in about 50 percent more refugees in October compared to the same month last year; 76 were Syrians, the group that’s been specifically attacked by the president-elect. (U-T)
North County Report: More Housing Drama in Encinitas
This week’s VOSD North County Report leads off with news about how Encinitas must still grapple with how to meet state affordable-housing regulations now that Measure T has failed. Now, its foes have to figure out what to do next.
Also in the North County Report: Local hot spots for Trump donations (you’ll never guess where… OK, you totally will), the future of the old Palomar Hospital site in Escondido, and a CEO who’s no longer a CEO because he threatened the president-elect online.
Quick News Hits: Going My Way, Asty Baby?
• The regional transit system is finally going to allow riders to put money on their transit cards and use it for single rides over time rather than only allowing them to buy it for the full day. But not for a while. KPBS says the roll-out has been delayed until next year, just like its new, more useful ticketing app.
• KPBS examines the debate over municipal pension reform and how it will affect the city’s ex-workers.
• A new report suggests that local jail prisoners are using drugs more than they have in 16 years, with three-quarters of men showing signs of illegal drug use. (City News Service)
• “Habitat for Humanity’s plan to build an affordable housing complex for veterans on city-owned land in Poway was shot down this week by the City Council after a dramatic debate that had one councilman near tears.” City leaders worried about congestion, taxpayer spending and density. (U-T)
• On top of everything else we have to worry about right now, the L.A. Times gives a new danger to obsess over: An asteroid collision. And not just anywhere on earth. They’re talking about an asteroid smacking us right here in Southern California.
Last month, NASA and FEMA held a drill of sorts and simulated an asteroid collision here in SoCal or in the Pacific Ocean nearby. What would they do, Well, “one of the best plans experts have right now is straight out of the movie Armageddon: They would build a spacecraft and ram it into the asteroid.”
The story notes that astronomers have discovered 15,000 “near-earth” asteroids, and not one appears likely to sock us anytime soon.
When the next one comes by, will it take hitchhikers? Asking for a friend.
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.