I wanted to write the first Morning Report of the year, mostly because everyone else had Monday off. But it also gave me a chance to do something before we get to the news: Say thank you to the hundreds of people who donated to Voice of San Diego in December.
It was remarkable to watch the contributions stream in. We’re still tallying all the pledges and checks that just came. I’ll have an update for members as soon as possible.
We’ll lay off the fundraising messaging for a while; I know that’s not the most entertaining of our programming.
Stormwater Regulation Is as Messy as the Problem
I’m very proud to lead the New Year with the first of a three-part series from Ry Rivard revealing the mess that is the state’s stormwater regulations.
Across California, there could be tens of thousands of businesses dodging environmental rules and sending pollution into local waters. State officials literally do not know.
The businesses that do comply and test the water that runs off their properties into rivers, lakes and the ocean face sporadic enforcement. That means billions of dollars in potential fines loom over thousands of businesses in San Diego and elsewhere.
And then there’s the kicker from Rivard: “Some current and former environmental regulators wonder if the rules that few are following even make sense.” Great!
He’s done some excellent research. Parts II and III are even better, so stay tuned.
Homeless Task Forces Prep to Merge
San Diego has a homelessness problem. It’s like a big, gaping wound on the city just festering in front of us, getting worse with each day.
Every day, I hear about some other civic leader who is now motivated to address it. Now there’s some news.
After Rick Gentry became chair of the Regional Continuum of Care Council, the board decided to merge with the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, Lisa Halverstadt reports. The new organization will hire a new leader to streamline efforts and perhaps try to lay the groundwork for big public investment in the issue. This is different from the mayor’s newly hired director of housing solutions, Stacie Spector.
“For years, San Diego’s been without the leadership, coordination and oversight that have proven crucial in success stories elsewhere,” Halverstadt writes.
Correction: Friday’s Morning Report misstated the number of homeless people sleeping on the streets downtown in a recent count. It was 1,415.
Quotes of 2016
If you missed it, Randy Dotinga collected some of the more colorful quotes from 2016 in this roundup.
Chargers and Time Are Flat Circles
It’s a New Year, which means we have a fresh collection of 362 more days to talk about the Chargers and whether they will move to Los Angeles.
There was some actual news Monday. U-T columnist Kevin Acee reported the city and county officials, (along with perhaps SDSU?) have offered the Chargers $375 million in subsidies for a new stadium, which still could be downtown.
That’s still not enough. Acee reports that the team is asking other NFL owners to chip in more to make a deal work.
A few things to keep in mind:
• This would ostensibly be the same deal Mayor Kevin Faulconer and County Supervisor Ron Roberts offered the team last year but with $25 million more.
• The county, for now, requires a public vote to subsidize a stadium. The city doesn’t necessarily require a public vote but the mayor and others have pledged to hold one. A vote would likely not happen until 2018, so the Chargers and NFL would have to be OK with uncertainty until then.
• Roberts and Faulconer boasted last year that their offer was the largest public subsidy of a football stadium in California history. This would be even bigger.
• Many members of the City Council are on record opposed to any public subsidy of a stadium. County supervisors, except for Roberts of course, have largely dodged the discussion.
• Chargers owner Dean Spanos will announce soon whether he plans to stay another season in San Diego.
• The Chargers fired their coach, Mike McCoy. At the press conference to discuss it, John Spanos, the head of football operations, said he wished he knew where the team was playing next year too.
Who Run the (Local Arts) World
This fall, Kathryn Kanjo stepped in to her new role as director of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, joining the growing ranks of women leading major arts organizations across the city, Kinsee Morlan notes in a piece examining the heavy presence of women leaders in the local arts world. Several institutions now have a woman at the helm for the first or second time in their history. Many still see ways the arts community could embrace diversity even further — the boards of directors for most local arts and nonprofit groups remain overwhelmingly white and male, one leader notes.
“People don’t think the arts are a place where gender is still an issue, because it’s supposed to be a field that’s more progressive than that,” said Christy Yael-Cox, CEO of Intrepid Theatre Company. “But we obviously need to still be talking about it.”
• Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is now officially Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher after she and former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher announced their impromptu New Year’s Day wedding. Here’s the L.A. Times story.
• Restaurants are responding to increases to the minimum wage with surcharges on checks. However, there’s an almost imperceptible break coming: The sales tax across the state is going down a quarter cent. The U-T reports that, for most cities in the area, that means sales tax is now 7.75 percent.
• A San Diego nonprofit went broke celebrating Fleet Week. (L.A. Times)
• This is crazy: The brand new, $555 million courthouse in San Diego … does not have enough room for evidence. (U-T)
• SeaWorld San Diego is ending its theatrical orca shows this week. (NBC San Diego)
Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled Stacie Spector.