A model of the SDSU Aztec Stadium in Mission Valley / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This week, Voice of San Diego is examining so-called San Diego Specials – a term coined by now-Mayor Todd Gloria to refer to long-running civic conundrums that have festered without resolution as a result of a lack of leadership and vision. Often, these are relatively small-scale challenges that other cities (or even other San Diego communities) have long since solved.

Apart from this series, we’re taking the week to reset and work on long-term projects. The Morning Report will resume its normal form next week.


The saga over what to do about the Mission Valley stadium site that was once home to the Chargers might be the most iconic San Diego Special and, improbably, the one on its way to the cleanest resolution.

Several task forces and ballot measures after the dilemma first emerged, the Chargers are gone. And a new venue is rising up from the ashes of the former Qualcomm Stadium.

“No San Diego Special has changed the identity of the region like this one has,” Scott Lewis writes.

How this one finally came to an ending could provide some insight on how to solve similar problems: When the group FS Investors proposed creating a new development on the site called SoccerCity, San Diego State University saw it as a threat. That pushed the school and its supporters to assemble an unprecedented coalition to quash the plan. “That may offer a lesson for other San Diego Specials,” Lewis writes. “They will meander until something really triggers a critical mass of San Diego’s leaders and population combined. Sports and universities are uniquely suited to tap into much larger popular sentiment than, say, conventions.”

Plus, a very special podcast this week …

For this week’s VOSD podcast, Mayor Todd Gloria joined the show to discuss what prompted the creation of the San Diego Specials term, the culture that allowed for it, and his perspective on several individual San Diego Specials.

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