The San Diego River is fenced off. / Photo by Ry Rivard

The backers of two competing ballot measures plan not only to revitalize the Mission Valley stadium site. Both are promising to create a park along the San Diego River, which is typically just a few feet of water.

The transformation of the area is a major selling point to the public. But Ry Rivard reports that neither ballot measure guarantees what has long been envisioned.

Two years ago, the San Diego River Park Foundation released a plan that included restored habitat and protected wildlife, with links to a regional trail system, all of which encompassed about 60 acres, or roughly 45 football fields.

The foundation’s board has declined to support either the SoccerCity or SDSU West initiative (though it officially opposes SoccerCity).

Rivard lays out what each plan envisions, and the limitations of each.

Diane Harkey, Media Critic

The latest San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board interview is with Republican congressional candidate Diane Harkey, and the sitdown appears to have gotten a bit combative.

Harkey at one point threatened to shut the Q&A down after the U-T’s pointed questions about a lawsuit with which she was once involved, and she also bristled at the editors for bringing up reporting by the Sacramento Bee.

“If you listened to the Sacramento Bee all the time, I feel sorry for you,” Harkey said.

Elsewhere in the interview, Harkey said she appreciates President Donald Trump’s tax reforms, and when asked directly whether she believes climate change is manmade, she declined to say that it was.

Her elevator pitch: “I’ve been at every level of government and I will be able to hit the ground running and I love the district, I love the people, the industry’s great, you know, and I know how to work across the aisle.”

We’ve invited Harkey to appear at Politifest and as a guest on the podcast, but she declined both offers.

The Inclusionary Housing Policy’s Impact

City Councilwoman Georgette Gómez and others want to rewrite a policy to force developers to build more affordable units.

For more than a decade, developers have had a choice of reserving 10 percent of units for low-income renters or pay a fee that helps subsidize other affordable housing projects.

But, as Lisa Halverstadt notes, the policy isn’t responsible for all that much affordable housing construction.

“Units tied to the city’s inclusionary policy over the past 15 years — whether built within market-rate projects, or built through the fees developers pay instead — represent the equivalent of just 8 percent of the affordable homes the state called on the city to build by 2020 to meet local demand,” Halverstadt reports.

No Criminal Charges in McNeil Death, But Civil Case Likely

A medical examiner’s report says Earl McNeil a black man who fell into a coma after he approached National City police suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen, brought on by a combination of meth, agitation and “respiratory compromise.” The manner of his subsequent death was listed as “homicide” because the actions that contributed to McNeil’s death while he was in custody “were purposeful and potentially dangerous … although not apparently intended to cause his death.”  

The report was released at end of day Friday, hours before San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced that she’d cleared law enforcement personnel of criminal liability. “The homicide label is used for anything that involves human hands in a situation like this,” Stephan said, according to NBC 7.

McNeil’s family is considering a federal civil rights suit.

Politics Roundup

  • Talks between SoccerCity and SDSU West began pleasantly enough — with plans for a new joint soccer-football stadium in Mission Valley but ended in opposing ballot measures. On the podcast, hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby explain what happened.
  • A citizen’s initiative with more funding for homeless services could go before voters in a special April 2019 election. But as Lewis and Keatts report, that depends on whether officials can successfully argue the initiative constitutes an emergency. U-T columnist Michael Smolens said the announcement was “more of a reprieve than a cause for celebration.”
  • San Diego has a corporate board diversity problem. But even those businesses willing to acknowledge the problem weren’t necessarily keen on a bill by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins that required California-based public companies to have at least one woman on their board of directors.
  • At the same time, school boards that have made the switch to district-based elections aren’t producing a greater number of candidates of color as they hoped. (Union-Tribune)
  • In deep-blue California, Rancho Santa Fe businessman and gubernatorial candidate John Cox is attempting to chip off Democratic and independent voters by appealing to their pocketbooks. Although an endorsement from President Trump helped boost his profile among Republicans, Cox has avoided core conservative issues such as gun rights and abortion on the campaign trail. (Los Angeles Times)

In Other News

  • Lawyers for a group that’s trying to halt a rural housing development project in North County are expected to ask a judge Monday to hold San Diego County in contempt of court. (Union-Tribune)
  • Military families living in the southwest corner of the Tierrasanta community get only one non-voting representative on the community planning group, while everyone else elects 14 voting members. That’s unfair and undemocratic, argue three Navy vets in a new op-ed.
  • Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered the state finance director to audit the state DMV in response to public outcry over long wait times and delays. (The Los Angeles Times)
  • More evidence of a healthy economy: payrolls in San Diego County grew between July and August as the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 3.4 percent. (Union-Tribune)
  • UC San Diego could get a school of public health. A wealthy inventor has donated $25 million to get the idea started. (Union-Tribune)
  • Richard Sipe was memorialized this weekend in La Jolla. The psychotherapist’s research on child sexual abuse among the priesthood fueled the Spotlight team at the Boston Globe and other reporters, exposing the complicity of church leaders. For that, Sipe told the U-T in 2015, he’d been “blackballed” by the San Diego Diocese.

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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