The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
Monday, the San Diego City Council will decide when to put the SoccerCity plan on the ballot. FS Investors and supporters of the project got the signatures they needed rapidly and pushed hard for a special election this year.
They’re probably not going to get it. The City Council already rejected a special election this year for which the mayor lobbied hard. So the question now is whether Major League Soccer really will cut San Diego off from its expansion process if the decision is punted to the November 2018 ballot.
If SoccerCity goes down, many will claim the kill shot. But our Andrew Keatts explores why almost every single one of San Diego’s major developers rallied against the project — some of them putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into a campaign against it.
Some of them have competing visions for the land. Some of them don’t believe it’s a good project. Some think it will hurt their own projects and other plans for Mission Valley.
• The Union-Tribune’s Tod Leonard found all 12 markets vying for an expansion Major League Soccer team are facing at least some complications similar to SoccerCity’s.
San Diego’s most viable competition for now, Leonard found, is in Sacramento, Tampa, my hometown of Cincinnati and Phoenix, where I once covered another professional sports saga.
The Real Deal on Lost Conventions
Tales of lost events abound among those convinced San Diego needs to expand its Convention Center.
This time, one of those boosters offered some numbers. Mayor Kevin Faulconer claimed in a tweet that San Diego lost 1,000 conventions and events in the last two years due to lacking capacity at the current center.
Our Ashly McGlone gave the mayor’s claim the fact-check treatment and found Faulconer’s estimate – and the implication of the sheer volume of events San Diego could pull in with an expansion – off.
Instead, McGlone found studies showing San Diego more likely lost close to 675 events due to its space issues and that it’s not likely to recapture all of them with a Convention Center expansion.
Sacramento Report, State Budget Edition
Legislators approved a $183 billion state budget this week. Sara Libby caught up with San Diego representatives to get their take on budget items – or items that didn’t make the final budget – that they felt mostly strongly about.
This week’s Sacramento Report also includes an update from Maya Srikrishnan on Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s efforts to increase transparency on school spending plus Chula Vista’s decision to endorse a bill from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher to reform SANDAG – and give Chula Vista more sway over regional transportation debates.
• The Wall Street Journal sheds light on two policies passed along with this week’s budget deal aim to block new immigration detention centers and provide free legal representation for immigrants fighting deportation.
VOSD Podcast: The Comeback Kid
More than a decade after ultimately unproven corruption charges knocked Mike Zucchet off the City Council, he’s again representing the public from an influential political post.
Zucchet was appointed last week to San Diego’s Port Commission, an influential board that holds sway over development and business on San Diego’s waterfront.
Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts chatted with Zucchet, who also leads the city’s largest employee union, on this week’s VOSD Podcast about how he fought the allegations against him and found a new role in San Diego city politics.
Keatts and Lewis also did a history of city politics of sorts, how leaders are still learning what power they have and how they have gotten more partisan.
• San Diego’s seeing a rush of plans for new pot dispensaries following loosened city and state laws. (Union-Tribune)
• The city’s plan to buy up a Nestor hotel and make it transitional housing for chronic offenders who’ve fallen into homelessness isn’t going over well with nearby residents. (Reader)
• District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ case against a Kearny Mesa medical-marijuana operator raided last year rests on that man’s communications with his attorney, a rare legal and controversial legal move. (Union-Tribune)
• A developer is hoping to build more than 2,000 new homes in a rural area north of San Marcos. (KPBS)
• It’s the weekend. Have a beer and celebrate…the fact that a new report declared San Diego the top market in the nation for operating craft breweries. (Business Journal)
The Week’s Top Stories
These were the most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of June 9-15. Click here to see the full top 10 list.
1. With Veto, Faulconer Targets Political Opposition
Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto and cuts to specific Council district budgets send a clear message. But it’s still not at all clear that he’ll prevail in holding his special election, which is up for a vote on Monday. Here are a few things to watch as that unfolds. (Andrew Keatts)
2. The Truth Behind Claims of Vast Piles of County Cash
Advocates and labor leaders claim the San Diego County Board of Supervisors stockpiles reserves instead of spending it on vulnerable residents. Here’s the truth. (Lisa Halverstadt)
3. What It Would Take to Make San Diego’s Transit System Faster and More Reliable
The 215 Rapid bus averages only 12 mph. It’s not much faster than a cyclist. Offboard ticket purchasing and allowing all passengers to board at any door could speed up service. There are more radical — and controversial — solutions San Diego could try, too. (Alon Levy)
4. The Myth That ‘Everybody Wins’ When We Invest in Conventions
The people who live on our streets deserve as much investment as those who prosper from tourism and conventions. (John Auther
5. Bombshell Appraisal Puts Qualcomm Stadium Land at $110 Million as Is
The SoccerCity Initiative would require investors pay “fair market value” for the land. A new appraisal puts the value at $110 million. If the investors agree to pay a sum in that ballpark, it could be a game-changer for the politics of the situation. (Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts)