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Almost exactly a year ago, Chargers President Dean Spanos got the bitter news that his counterparts in the NFL had rejected his plan to move to Carson. Wednesday night, Chargers fans in San Diego got the bitter news that the team was likely moving to, well, Carson.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was first with the news that Spanos had called league executives and some fellow owners to say his team would be moving to the LA area. Then the floodgates opened with more details. Spanos is meeting with his employees at 8 a.m. this morning. Other reporters confirmed it was to let them know about the move.
NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk then reported that the Chargers would play in the StubHub Center in Carson until the stadium the team will share with the Rams is finished in Inglewood.
The StubHub Center was built for professional soccer, with a maximum seat capacity of 27,000 — about half the number of fans who went to the Chargers last game in San Diego, which was considered a dismal turnout.
• Most reporters who talked to these unnamed sources pointed out that the decision was not formally announced and perhaps not final. Many fans held out hope it was a final effort to force a deal. But even the NFL’s own corporate media team — the NFL Network — reported it as fact.
• The official fan groups released a statement saying the fight wasn’t over until “moving vans appear in Murphy Canyon.” Meanwhile, the LA Times’ Bill Plaschke has a simple message for the Chargers: “We. Don’t. Want. You.”
• The news broke the night before San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s annual State of the City address. He was undoubtedly going to talk about the team. Now, the news will surely loom over the occasion.
He can take some solace in the fact that the Chargers will have to pay $12 million to terminate the lease at Qualcomm Stadium if the team does leave this year. City officials just acknowledged a $47 million deficit for the coming budget.
— Scott Lewis
Golden Door Fights a Housing Vision that Just Won’t Die
North County’s Golden Door spa — complete with, yes, a golden door — has served the likes of Oprah and Elizabeth Taylor over its half-century of existence. Now, it could really use some healing breaths.
As our Ry Rivard reports, the spa is fighting what it calls a threat to its existence: a planned development of 2,100 housing units across the street and up a hill. It’s the same area where a previous development, Merriam Mountains, failed from lack of support at the County Board of Supervisors.
How would the Newland Sierra project harsh Golden Door’s mellow? Through, it says, traffic and noise. The spa’s general manager likens the project to others that are looking to build in rural parts of the county. As Rivard writes, the fear is that “they’ll ruin not just the Golden Door but what’s left of the wildland, turning everything out there into a series of gas stations and convenience stores.”
But the developer says it’s the David to Golden Door’s Goliath, pointing at the spa’s deep pockets.
Taxpayers on Hook for City Input Error
The City Council has agreed that the city will pay $70,000 to a non-profit to settle a claim that it failed to allow proper public comment at City Council meetings for years. The issue had to do with whether the council had to give the public time to comment during Monday meetings or whether Monday and Tuesday meetings counted as one, so just a Tuesday session was OK.
After the Supervisors Padded Pockets
There may be a good rationale for the county supervisors to vote themselves a hefty raise, as they did this week, but they’ve failed to make it in a way that’s gotten through. Now, U-T columnist Logan Jenkins goes into his time machine and recalls the situation back in 2005, when something different happened — the supervisors backed off a raise when the public erupted. County Supervisor Bill Horn, then as now on the board, made this bold statement: “It is true that we are elected, but nobody who got elected took a vow of poverty. We’re not Franciscans.”
• The U-T looks at a couple claims about the raises and finds that, over long time frames, it’s not true that the supervisors only got 1 percent raises per year or that supervisors received bigger raises (percentage-wise) than county employees.
Lawsuit Over Gang-Association Imprisonment
You may recall rapper Brandon “Tiny Doo” Duncan and Aaron Harvey, whose imprisonment over their alleged gang associations sparked a national outcry. Now, they’re suing the city in federal court, alleging their civil rights were violated, the AP reports. Duncan faced charges over his rap lyrics, while Harvey’s social media posts landed him behind bars.
As we put it in 2015, prosecutors used an obscure criminal statute “for what appears to be the first time ever in California to prosecute a group of 15 San Diego men… The DA has admitted that some of the men had nothing to do with the underlying crimes at the heart of the case — a series of shootings by Lincoln Park gang members in 2013. Rather, they’re charged with conspiracy for belonging to the same gang as the shooters. For that, they could go to prison for life.”
• CityBeat columnist John R. Lamb digs deeply into a wrongful-termination lawsuit by a former city prosecutor against the city and former City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. He talks to the former prosecutor and Goldsmith himself.
Historic Status for Chicano Park
Barrio Logan’s Chicano Park is now a National Historic Landmark. As we reported last year, park boosters hope to open a museum to commemorate the unusual park, which features colorful murals on freeway pillars.
• KPBS profiles the owner of North Park’s Queen Bee’s Art & Cultural Center, which plays hosts to concerts, weddings and other events. He won’t sell the space, even for $2.5 million: “What am I going to do, sit on the front porch with two and a half million dollars? I’m getting a lot out of this just like the people who come here get a lot out of this. I sell happiness here.”
Border as a Solution Factory
In CityLab, the heads of the UC San Diego-Blum Cross-Border Initiative talk about their visions of the border, “where different ideas and practices can cross-pollinate, yielding fresh solutions to decades-old urban problems. Using what they’ve learned, they’ve designed research-based urban intervention projects, civic engagement projects, and art installations to highlight the dynamism of the border at which they live.”
• “A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer pleaded guilty Tuesday to accepting bribes of cash and sexual favors in exchange for his willingness to wave through car loads of unauthorized immigrants at the San Ysidro Port of Entry,” the U-T reports.
Quick News Hits: …And His Dog Spot
• Our weekly North County Report recaps some of our recent stories regarding that part of the county and links to news about a vacant Encinitas City Council seat, a possible crackdown on highly skilled immigrant workers, and complaints from residents who don’t want to be stuck with the bill for the 2007 wildfires.
• The Wall Street Journal profiles so-called Property Assessed Clean Energy loans that help people upgrade their homes, noting that their growth has “eerie echoes” of the subprime loan crisis. We’ve explored how solar loans work.
• Data nerds or the just plain nosy can dig deeply into new statistics about this year’s flu season in the county. Nine deaths have been reported so far; detected cases have zoomed up over the past couple of weeks. (via KPBS)
• A few weeks ago, Slate remembered the “Late Cal Worthington, California’s Weirdest Car Dealer (And His Dog Spot).”
If you grew up in Southern California or certain other parts of the country, you may remember seeing “Go See Cal” ads on the tube, especially late at night. Or, to put it more accurately, “Go See Cal, Go See Cal, Go See Cal!” ads.
Example: “If you need a better car, go see Cal/For the best deal by far, go see Cal/If you want your payments low, if you want to save some dough/Go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal.” The jingle “worms its way into the listener’s subconscious, forever becoming an essential part of the piles of capitalist detritus that shore up our ruins,” Slate writes. (Slate, by the way, thinks too darned much.)
With a white cowboy hat and Western suits, Worthington would tout his dealerships (including one in Carlsbad) along with his “dog Spot,” who was never a dog. An elephant, a chimp on roller skates, a hippo, a killer whale, a tiger, perhaps, and once (apparently) a biplane, but not a pooch.
Fun fact: Some people apparently misheard “Go See Cal” as “Goosey Cow.”
Whatever that means, don’t go do it.
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.