The Morning Report
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One of the main selling points for supporters of Measure G, the plan to allow SDSU to purchase the former Chargers Stadium property, is that the university could build an “innovation hub” there, connecting companies with SDSU faculty and staff for exciting research opportunities.
But that’s a plan that UC San Diego has likewise pursued on its La Jolla campus, leaving it with empty research space for years. And some faculty at SDSU are concerned after watching how hard it’s been for SDSU to fill the space it already has. Plus, the real estate market in central San Diego already has a lot of similar space that hasn’t been leased up.
Altogether, as Kayla Jimenez writes in a new story, it looks like that component of the SDSU West plan – though a major selling point for supporters – is easier said than done.
We’re now within a week of Election Day, and pending some late breaking news, this is likely the end of our news coverage of the decision facing voters on the redevelopment of Mission Valley with Measures E and Measure G.
Here’s a roundup of the coverage we’ve done over the last few months.
- Many of the best goodies in the SoccerCity plan (Measure E) are contained in a letter SoccerCity’s developers sent the mayor last year. It’s not clear that those are binding promises, according to a handful of municipal attorneys (including City Attorney Mara Elliott).
- The investment group behind SoccerCity and SDSU boosters were once partners, working closely in 2016 to reach a joint solution to bring the MLS to town and secure SDSU football’s future. That partnership fell apart last year, just as the public learned of SoccerCity. Scott Lewis got behind the scenes with the players from both sides to figure out how it went wrong.
- If voters approve Measure G, it won’t do much more than grant SDSU the option of buying the land. But SDSU has sketched out what it plans to do if it eventually acquires the land – whether that happens through Measure G or by some other process should both measures fail. Ry Rivard learned that the university can’t explain how it would pay for the improvements it’s envisioned as part of that plan.
- Both the SoccerCity and SDSU West plan promise a river park that’s long been envisioned along the San Diego River through Mission Valley. But neither plan can guarantee that park will finally get built.
- As SoccerCity came together last year and its proponents pushed for a special election in November 2017, the city’s biggest developers came together to kill it.
- SANDAG’s traffic analysis for SoccerCity proved to be a political weight around the project’s neck, but if accurate it also foretold bad news about San Diego’s ability to lower greenhouse gasses by shifting people out of cars and into transit by encouraging dense development. SANDAG also conducted that analysis with a loophole it had never used before, and which it closed immediately after doing so for SoccerCity.
- Still want more? Here’s a video of the SoccerCity-SDSU West debate we hosted at Politifest.
- Andy Keatts also did a spot on Mighty 1090 Tuesday morning, explaining what voters can expect from each proposal as Election Day approaches.
County Meeting Takes on Mental-Health Crisis
County supervisors on Tuesday heard from a slew of mental-health experts and local leaders about the region’s growing mental-health crisis and ways the county might improve its response.
Kristin Gaspar, chair of the county board of supervisors, said she plans to bring an item to the board in December to direct county staff to look at ways to improve local mental-health services.
Gaspar and other county officials noted that the county is budgeting more than ever on behavioral health services but that the need far surpasses what the countywide mental-health system is now able to address.
Among Tuesday’s speakers were Mayor Kevin Faulconer who has repeatedly called on the county to step up its response to mental-health issues, including the region’s dearth of psychiatric beds for patients in need.
“It’s not about how much you spend. It’s about whether or not it’s working and we’re seeing positive change,” Faulconer said. “We both know the status quo is not working.”
Assemblyman Todd Gloria, who this year unsuccessfully pushed legislation to try to encourage San Diego County and others to more quickly spend mental-health funds, also told supervisors he’d like to help facilitate solutions at the state level.
County Health Official: Hepatitis A Crisis Is Officially Over
A devastating hepatitis A outbreak that last year left 20 dead and afflicted nearly 600 is officially over. Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, on Monday declared the outbreak is now behind us, the Union-Tribune reports.
But the ramifications of the grisly outbreak remain. Ten states have reported more than 6,500 hepatitis A infections since January 2017, according to CNN, and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention committee recently recommended routine hepatitis A vaccinations for homeless people.
San Diego County officials first declared the local hepatitis A outbreak last March and local leaders had an initially sluggish response as it ramped up.
Then, after VOSD and other news outlets published stories about the escalating outbreak, city and county leaders began scrambling. City and county officials rushed to put on mass vaccination events and the city began power-washing sidewalks and rushed to open new bathrooms and shelters for homeless San Diegans.
Dr. Jonathan Fielding of UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health told the U-T that regional leaders must maintain their focus and coordination to continue stave off this outbreak and other health crises.
“The need for resources and cleanliness does not end just because the hepatitis A outbreak is over,” Fielding told the U-T.
Culture Report: A Homegrown Project at the San Diego Ballet
The San Diego Ballet is showcasing homegrown talent in one of its latest projects – literally.
In this week’s Culture Report, VOSD contributor Julia Dixon Evans showcases “Homegrown II,” a series of dances set to selections from the KGB-FM “Homegrown,” a 1970s project that held annual contests for local bands to write and record locally themed songs.
Also in this week’s arts-and-culture roundup: The story on giant Dia de los Muertos puppets now at the airport, some previews of San Diego Beer Week and much more.
Foundation Head Chides Carlsbad Mayor Over Trump
The CEO of the local Leichtag Foundation, a powerful nonprofit focused on causes in coastal North County and Jerusalem, announced earlier this week that he was withdrawing his endorsement of Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall.
Leichtag CEO Jim Farley said he would instead back Democrat Cori Schumacher.
“I say to Republican leaders that have chosen to align with a national political party that is debase of any moral leadership, your time is up,” Farley wrote on Facebook. “Only Democratic leadership at the local, state and national levels can change that calculus and save our nation.”
Farley’s post comes in the midst of a competitive race for mayor. Hall has served on the Carlsbad City Council since the 1990s and ran unopposed in 2014, but he’s now fighting to hold onto his seat. Hall alienated some residents in 2015 when he threw his support behind the Caruso mall, which Schumacher opposed and rose to political prominence.
Farley isn’t the only notable Republican in town to endorse Schumacher. Former Councilwoman Lorraine Wood is supporting her, even though she ousted Wood from office two years ago.
- In a new VOSD op-ed, taxpayer advocate Richard Rider says the San Diego County Taxpayers Association no longer seems to be interested in advocating for taxpayers.
- The City Council approved a new community plan for Old Town earlier this week that The Union-Tribune reports aims to triple the area’s population while still holding onto the neighborhood’s historic character.
- A site funded by District Attorney Summer Stephan’s campaign committee highlighting Jewish billionaire George Soros’ support of Stephan’s former opponent has gone offline since Soros was mailed a pipe bomb last week. This week, in the wake of a synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Stephan wouldn’t answer Times of San Diego’s questions about the site.
- Home sales are down nearly 17 percent year-over-year in the county, 10News reports.
- The Union-Tribune reports that city on Tuesday agreed to settle two lawsuits involving dancers who claimed they were unlawfully searched and held against their will at two strip clubs for nearly $1.5 million.
Happy Halloween! You Might Be Strolling Over Dead Bodies, BTW
If you feel like you’re cursed every time you circle a full parking lot in the city, consider instead that the lot might be haunted.
That is, “To an unusual extent, San Diegans unknowingly walk, drive, shop and play over corpses and coffins,” Randy Dotinga notes in his latest piece detailing San Diego’s spooky history.
Over the years, San Diego has developed over many of its graveyards.
“It’s pretty stunning to live in an area where there are dozens and dozens of graveyards and cemeteries that have been developed over,” Seth Mallios, a San Diego State professor who studies cemeteries, tells Dotinga. “I’ve never seen a ghost, but I consider San Diego to be spooky because of how it treats its permanent residents.”
The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.