When Chula Vista took over the Olympic Training Center from the U.S. Olympic Committee, city leaders saw an opportunity to get a developer to build new dorms for the center for free.
In exchange for covering the cost of the dorms, the developer, Newport Beach-based Baldwin & Sons, could check off a big chunk of its affordable housing requirements related to a housing project the firm is building at Otay Ranch in Chula Vista.
The deal required the city to redefine its affordable housing rules, essentially letting the developer build a lot less affordable housing than it would under normal circumstances.
In the beginning, both the city and the developer thought they were getting a good deal. But as our Ry Rivard reports, things haven’t shaken out that well for either party.
A state agency has determined the dorms don’t count towards the city’s low-income housing obligations, and the project ended up costing the developer millions more than expected.
The Big Push for Amazon … Or Whatever
In other Chula Vista news: Elected leaders there would be happy to host Amazon’s new headquarters. The city offered the corporate giant tax breaks, free land and other incentives to lure it to the South Bay.
But as Voice of San Diego’s Jesse Marx explains, city officials were offering all of this without any certainty of what Amazon might actually bring in exchange.
The offer, though, wasn’t just meant for the eyes of Amazon. It is part of a decades-long effort to brand Chula Vista as a cool place for tech companies and other economic growth and development.
Sherman, GOP, Push for Change to Council President Selection
Still stinging from losing his chairmanship of the committee that is grappling with the housing crisis on San Diego’s City Council, Councilman Scott Sherman is leading a push to have the City Council annually rotate the job of president. Right now, the president is selected by a vote of the Council.
The City Council presidency can be a very powerful position. Not only does the president select the committee chairs, she sets the agenda. All Council members may have ideas about what should happen in the city but without the president, it’s hard to get anything heard.
Other agencies like the county Board of Supervisors and the school district rotate the chairmanship annually. But Sherman’s idea will likely not advance past his GOP colleagues. It’s just the latest in his argument that things have reached a partisan low point after a series of setbacks for the Republicans.
The Kasparian Questions
The Union-Tribune’s Joshua Stewart is surveying local Dems, asking them questions about Mickey Kasparian, the local labor leader accused by two women of sexual misconduct.
Stewart emailed local Democratic leaders a series of yes-or-no questions, asking, for example, if Kasparian should resign.
Here’s a spreadsheet with the responses so far. But on Twitter, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher explained why she wasn’t down with answering some of the questions with a simple yes or no.
“As someone who believes in worker self-determination,” she Tweeted in part. “I’d never tell a union what to do with their leader.”
Her husband, former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, responded to the questions saying Kasparian should resign.
Trump, the Border Artist
From the moment I saw the border wall prototypes go up in Otay Mesa, I thought, holy cow, these look like giant, striking sculptures by a conceptual artist.
I imagined a time, 10 or 20 years in the future, when people would visit the still-standing prototypes and learn about a very distinct era when it comes to our nation’s immigration and border policies.
Turns out, I’m not alone. A nonprofit launched an online petition seeking to have the eight prototypes designated a national monument.
One of the artists behind the nonprofit told The New York Times that the prototypes “need to be preserved because they can signify and change meaning through time. They can remind people there was the idea to have this border wall once.”
• ICYMI: I talked to three local artists and curators about border art in a new Culturecast podcast episode released Tuesday.
North County Report: License Plate Privacy
The Carlsbad Police Department is using automatic license plate readers to find stolen vehicles, among other things. The police say they’re very happy with the results.
But many people, including the ACLU, have concerns about privacy, writes VOSD contributor Ruarri Serpa in his latest North County Report.
Also in our roundup of news from the north: ICE no longer has a permanent space at the Vista Detention Facility, members of an Encinitas commissions protest the Pledge of Allegiance and more.
In Other News
• A 1-year-old child is one of the latest victims of the flu, which killed 34 more people last week and has now killed 45 in the county. (Union-Tribune)
• Neighbors near the Bahia Resort in Mission Bay are not happy about a proposed change that they say could make part of the beach semi-private. (NBC San Diego)
• President Donald Trump approved California’s request for a presidential major disaster declaration in response to the Lilac Fire near Fallbrook and other recent wildfires in the state. (Times of San Diego)
• Assemblyman Todd Gloria has a dope new title: majority whip for the Democrats in the state Assembly. (Times of San Diego)
• Rep. Darrell Issa had harsh words for a group of opponents who regularly demonstrate outside his district office for taking a knee Tuesday when military veterans played the national anthem at a nearby pro-Issa rally. (Washington Free Beacon)
• San Diego Comic-Con’s recently won a lawsuit against Salt Lake Comic Con for trademark infringement, which has caused Phoenix Comic-Con to proactively change its name to Phoenix Comic Fest. (Patch)
• In San Diego Magazine’s food podcast released Wednesday, the show’s hosts talk about the long-awaited arrival of the vegan Impossible Burger to our city, among other foodie things. I tried an Impossible Burger recently at Crazee Burger in North Park and the plant-based patty is indeed very meat-like.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the number of residents killed by the flu. Thirty-four people were killed last week, bringing the overall total to 45.