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Morning Report: San Diego's Avocados Drying Up

In the ’80s, that game day bowl of guacamole likely included some avocados grown in San Diego. That’s because the region produced about half the state’s avocados back then.

Now, according to the latest estimates from the California Avocado Commission, Ventura County is on track to produce about as many avocados as San Diego this year.

VOSD’s Ry Rivard looks into why San diego is losing its grip on the avocado market.

The drought and its effect on San Diego’s water supply and prices is, of course, one of the biggest challenges facing local farmers. San Diego’s growers have been hit with much higher costs and a supply of saltier water.

And it turns out that salt, while essential for good guacamole, is bad when you’re trying to grow avocados. The salty situation has veteran growers like Jerome Stehly thinking about replacing his avocado groves.

“We’re always looking for the next great crop that can take what we call cruddy water,” he said.

The Shermanator Targets the Convadium

San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman was not very positive about the Chargers plan for a new stadium funded with a hotel tax increase when it first emerged but he was not one of the politicians to come out against it.

Well, he’s coming out, and, surprise, he’s not into it. But Sherman has decided to go hard at the central rationale for the project.

In an op-ed for VOSD, Sherman is releasing a new white paper detailing the uses of the Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts. In the team’s pitch for a new convadium, the Chargers have often touted the Indianapolis joint-use facility as a shining example of what they hope to do here.

Sherman’s staff scoured data from the events and attendance at the stadium in Indianapolis and found little in the way of conventions that Indianapolis was able to attract because of it.

“Looking at the types of events that used the Indianapolis facility, it becomes clear that it essentially operates as just a stadium and doesn’t really offer much on the convention side of the ledger,” he writes. In other words, we could just build a stadium with a roof and get those same type of events. The Chargers’ proposed convadium would cost $1.8 billion.

Sherman writes that he’s against the project unless the Chargers can prove him wrong.

The City’s Pension System and Its Problems

The city of San Diego has problems keeping its dispatch center fully staffed, which has resulted in occasionally long wait times for those who call 9-1-1, as VOSD and others have reported.

Last week, the program manager for San Diego’s 911 dispatch center resigned. (NBC)

Now, the U-T reports that Mayor Kevin Faulconer has tapped San Diego Police Department captain Jerry Hara to take the reigns of the beleaguered city service. A spokesperson for the mayor says Hara will lead the charge in quickly filling the dispatch vacancies.

Folks have argued that the part of the problem with finding people to answer 9-1-1 calls relates to San Diego’s Proposition B, the 2012 ballot measure that did away with the very attractive benefit pensions for new city workers (aside from police). Critics say that the city can’t compete with neighboring agencies offering better benefits for the same work.

Last week, for example, we talked to the candidates running for a City Council seat in District 9, and all of them believe offering pensions would likely help the dispatcher problem.

Over the weekend, the U-T editorial board argued the other side and said the importance of upholding Prop. B relates to bigger issues surrounding the lawsuit attempting to overturn the citizen-approved measure.

• Speaking of pensions, the U-T digs into a controversial deferred retirement program that’s resulted in 11 firefighters getting big-time pension payments exceeding $500,000 last year.

San Diego Weekend News Roundup

• The Padres won, but not everyone’s happy with the way things shook out Saturday night. San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus was slated to sing the National Anthem. The group took to the field, but something went wrong and a recording of a woman singing the song played instead. The Gay Men’s Chorus released a statement about the incident, saying they were left awkwardly standing on the field while no attempts to stop the recording were made. According to the statement, Tweeted by the U-T’s Jay Posner, the group reportedly left the field to taunts of “You sing like a girl.”

• San Diego 10News sat down with all the candidates for San Diego City Council District 1 for a talk about their united dislike of a downtown stadium, their thoughts on minimum wage and more.

• A new indoor skydiving business in Oceanside was given the green light by the city’s Planning Commission despite an appeal from residents who say they don’t want the facility in their neighborhood. (U-T)

There’s definitely an indoor skydiving trend going on in the region. The first one opened in Mission Valley earlier this year and one’s soon scheduled to open downtown on Imperial Avenue close to Petco Park. (San Diego Fox 5)

• National City was feeling the Bern Saturday night. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders filled the city’s Kimball Park with thousands of followers, where he discussed inequality and more. (Los Angles Times)

Sanders also dropped by Friendship Park, the iconic park that butts the U.S.-Mexican border fence where folks on both sides of the border can go to meet and talk. (Times of San Diego)

• Bill Clinton was also in Bonita and Rancho Santa Fe over the weekend talking up his wife’s presidential run. (NBC 7 San Diego)

San Diego continues its brief run as the epicenter of the presidential campaign this week. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a rally at the Convention Center on Friday.  (CBS 8 San Diego)

The local “Dump Trump” contingent is trying to rally its Los Angeles contingent to show up to protest Trump’s arrival.

Area congressman confessed he just made [expletive] up when he spoke on behalf of the Trump campaign in this New York Times magazine profile of Trump’s crowning as the presumptive GOP nominee.

San Diego Social Media Moments

• The Cure played in San Diego Friday Night and fans Tweeted their glee. NBC’s SoundDiego blog has photos for you.

• Looks like a good amount of tech-savvy folks showed up to the SmartCity Hackathon event held over the weekend. Xconomy.com has more on the event organized by the city and others to come up with innovative ways to help meet the requirements of the newly adopted Climate Action Plan.

 These dudes in creepy white gorilla suits were just some of what you missed at Saturday’s North Park Festival of the Arts.

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