There’s no easy way to say this.

I’ve always loved Los Angeles more than I love San Diego.

Los Angeles has the most vibrant food scene in the world. Despite its iconic car culture, it has built a visionary mass-transit system. You can run into Jamie Foxx at the dry cleaner. And more than anything, it is a place where big things happen. Sports teams win championships. Hollywood creates the culture we all obsess over. Designers dream up the stuff we’ll all be wearing a few seasons out.

For many people, San Diego’s perks are precisely that it is not like Los Angeles. It’s chill. It’s not choked with traffic. People are real, if imperfect.

But for all of San Diego’s many pluses, I’ve always missed that electricity in the air and the sense that I’m in a place that is ahead of everyone else.

That changed this week.

In losing the Chargers – to trendsetting Los Angeles, of all places – San Diego became the trendsetter. The one out in front, doing something big.

San Diego residents collectively sent a big message in their refusal to be extorted by a billionaire. We might be chill, but we won’t be bullied.

Columnists in USA Today and The Guardian are urging other cities to follow San Diego’s lead.

It’s a fun twist of irony that it took a team branded with bolts leaving for L.A. for me to feel that electricity in the air that I thought was reserved for Los Angeles.

What VOSD Learned This Week

The Chargers really did it. As the wise men of ‘NSYNC once said, the game is over.

On top of the downright vicious reception they received from some Angelenos, they’ll have to overcome another hurdle: their attempt to trademark the phrase “LA Chargers” is already being challenged.

The team’s announcement upstaged Mayor Kevin Faulconer on the day of his big State of the City address. And, as Scott Lewis noted, Faulconer may have misunderstood the game the team was playing, but ultimately the departure was not his fault. Scott and Andy unpacked the news on the podcast this week.

Faulconer got a lot of praise for his spurned-ex line, “San Diego didn’t lose the Chargers. The Chargers just lost San Diego.”

What else did he say in his big State of the City speech? A lot! We added layers of context and comment to his speech using Genius. And we described the big challenges facing his proposal to hike hotel taxes to pay for a convention center expansion, road repairs and homelessness efforts.

And just what happens to all the big promises Faulconer makes in these speeches? We checked on the progress of some of his most memorable pledges from past addresses.

One thing Faulconer acknowledged in his speech was the need to build more housing – and to do it in a way that promotes smart growth.

That’s proving a challenge in North County. The exclusive Golden Door spa is challenging a nearby housing development – saying it would be an existential threat to the business. And in Vista, an effort to promote smart growth has flatlined thanks to a loophole.


Whenever we post a story that relates to school finances, we get asked: What about money from the state lottery system? Bookmark this explanation from Ashly McGlone about how that system works and how much schools really get from it.

What I’m Reading

• Every Martin Luther King Day, I re-read his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.” This year, I’ll be chasing it with Coretta Scott King’s 1986 letter to Congress – unearthed this week by the Washington Post – urging members to shoot down Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination for a federal judgeship. Sessions is now the nominee for attorney general.

• I believe I’m in the journalistic minority for siding with Buzzfeed on its decision to publish the Trump dossier. This column articulates many of my feelings regarding why it was the right call. And this one makes another important point: Different outlets have different purposes, and thus, different standards. (Columbia Journalism Review, Wall Street Journal)

• The qualities that got Obama elected – chiefly, his enduring faith in the goodness of Americans – is also what will destroy is legacy. (Slate)

• Living with breast cancer while broke. (Lenny)

 Minorities are continually erased from narratives about the Rust Belt. (Buzzfeed)

 The Bush twins’ letter to the Obama sisters about life after the White House is delightful. (Time)

 Beyonce interviews Solange. (Interview)

Line of the Week

“She periodically slept on the floor of her home in Hong Kong well into her 90s, just to keep from going soft.” – One among many jaw-dropping lines recounting the extraordinary life of journalist Clare Hollingworth.

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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