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Demonstrators celebrate Congressman Darrell Issa’s retirement announcement. / Photo courtesy of Ellen Montanari

Congressman Darrell Issa won’t be seeking reelection.

The unexpected retirement announcement Wednesday caused San Diego County Republicans to scramble to save the seat. Assemblyman Rocky Chavez quickly announced he’d be making a run to represent the 49th Congressional District, which includes parts of northern coastal cities in San Diego County and stretches up to coastal Orange County. (Union-Tribune)

Our Jesse Marx talked to sources inside the local Republican party who said there were several other Republicans well-positioned to run. The list includes County Supervisor Bill Horn, former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio and San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar. The conservative website San Diego Rostra also put together a list of candidates who might be geographically positioned for the seat.

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The group of demonstrators who’ve been holding weekly protests outside of Issa’s office in an attempt to flip the district from Republican to a Democratic leadership celebrated Issa’s retirement Wednesday by dancing in the streets and baking a goodbye cake, which they left outside Issa’s district office door.

Ellen Montanari, one of the demonstration’s main organizers, told us in a past VOSD Podcast that she and others are waiting to see which Democratic candidate emerges with the most votes in the primary before backing someone. Four high-profile Democrats are in the race for the 49th, which was once a Republican stronghold but is now seen as one of the most vulnerable GOP seats in the country.

• The Washington Post digs into how close California could get this year to an all-Democratic House delegation. “Should things go the Democrats’ way this November, they could emerge with 47 of the state’s 53 House seats — enough by itself to reduce the Republicans’ 46-seat majority to a 30-seat one,” writes the Post’s Philip Bump.

San Diego County’s other Republican congressmen, Duncan Hunter, has a political future that’s in doubt because he’s under federal investigation. The Union-Tribune has the latest scoop on the investigation. The paper obtained documents revealing that a federal grand jury is slated to hear evidence soon regarding questionable campaign transactions.

• Jessica Hayes is the chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party. She talked to KPBS about Issa’s retirement news (“I think that he did the wise thing”), plus discusses other races in the upcoming 2018 elections that local Democratic leaders are focusing on.

• The Times of San Diego reports that Tony Krvaric, the longtime chairman of the San Diego County Republican Party, told a La Mesa group that he may step down at the end of the year.

The Differences Between the Old and New Pitch to Bankroll an Expanded Convention Center

The push to expand the Convention Center sure is persistent, eh?

The newest hotel-tax initiative backed by business and labor leaders is a lot like Mayor Kevin’s Faulconer’s pitch last year, but differs in a few key ways. Our Lisa Halverstadt breaks down the biggest differences in her latest.

The new measure promises to invest more money in homeless services and opens up the possibilities for a Convention Center expansion that isn’t on the waterfront. It would also raise the hotel tax higher than has been proposed in the past.

North County Report: A Republican Rift on Weed

This week’s North County Report leads off with the big Issa news, but also includes highlights from a debate between Republican candidates for the District 5 supervisor seat.

At the debate, San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond said he could be counted on to carry his opposition to marijuana to the Board of Supervisors. Meanwhile, Oceanside City Councilman Jerry Kern said he would work to regulate marijuana operations.

And on housing, Desmond said building new housing needs to be balanced against an increase in traffic. Kern said building more homes for the middle-class should be the focus.

Also in the North County Report: the mayor’s seats in Oceanside and Carlsbad are up for grabs, rebuilding the Rancho Monserate Country Club one month after it was ravaged by the Lilac Fire and more.

Made in San Diego

Brian Beevers organizes several farmers markets in the region. He also owns Simply Local, the store in North Park that only sells goods made by San Diegans.

In a new episode of I Made it in San Diego, VOSD’s podcast about the region’s businesses and the people powering them, Lisa Halverstadt talks to Beevers about the challenges inherit in building a farmers market business, mainly that its success is so heavily reliant on finding the right locations.

Today in Toking

One day after San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate called on law enforcement to crack down on online marijuana marketplace Weedmaps, the Irvine-based company responded with charts and graphs.

In a letter Wednesday, Vice President of Government Relations Dustin McDonald said he’d be happy to provide the city with research and analysis for policy purposes. But “it seems the real issue is that the City had enacted a licensing and zoning system so limited that it ensures a robust unlicensed market that will drain taxpayer dollars and rob the city of jobs and tax revenue.”

Earlier this week, VOSD’s Jesse Marx wrote that many independent marijuana deliverers had found themselves in the New Year without work, because the city only allows drivers who work for one of the 17 legal outlets. Some have decided to keep delivering illegally.

Cate was unimpressed with the Weedmaps response. “Good to know they didn’t want to address the main point of our letter. Evaded it altogether,” he wrote.

• Opponents of legalized recreational marijuana still think weed is bad. The Union-Tribune checks in with some of the most vocal critics of California’s Proposition 64.

The folks behind the Del Mar Fairgrounds hope to have a clear cannabis policy in place soon. Other fairgrounds in the state have benefited from hosting massive, multi-day weed festivals. (Del Mar Times)

Meanwhile in Santee, there’s a proposal in the works to ban smoking – of cigarettes or anything else – in public parks. (NBC 7)

In Other News

• The president of United Way of San Diego County, Rabbi Laurie Coskey, is out after just 18 months. (Union-Tribune)

• In a blistering new op-ed for CityBeat, outspoken homeless advocate Michael McConnell railed on Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s work to house the homeless last year, calling the mayor’s policies “Band-Aid approaches to addressing homelessness” and calling for more effective policies and actions in 2018.

• Writers are usually quite good at telling other people how to run things. We rarely are handed the reins. But a baseball analyst for the statistics-heavy website FanGraphs just got called up to the Padres to help the team set up a research department. Read the writer’s take on how it all happened.

• A day after she got blasted on social media, Jen Campbell, a San Diego City Council candidate, walked back some of her comments about how people begging for money on the street were likely faking their poverty.

• No surprises here: A new study out of San Diego State found that men still dominate the film industry.

• East County Magazine has a list of San Diego State stories to watch this year.

• The city of San Diego wants to know how satisfied you are with its public services. (Times of San Diego)

• San Diegans are still moving to Tijuana for cheaper rent (and good food). (WBFO)

Kinsee Morlan

Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture...

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