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Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
Room blocks snarl Comic-Con extension, tourism guru drops by podcast, analyzing a Chargers claim, celebrating (mostly) the gay marriage ruling, and (naturally) lighting up the back country.
Every year San Diego takes time to ponder Comic Con and its local impact and whether it, like the Chargers, will threaten to leave for another city suitor. It’s been central to the discussion of an expanded Convention Center. But both Comic-Con and Convention Center representatives told our reporters Ashly McGlone and Lisa Halverstadt that it is not the size of the Convention Center keeping the massive comics and entertainment event from re-committing to San Diego for 2018.
Turns out hotels are unwilling to offer more room blocks and it has become a major obstacle in the ongoing negotiations. As VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt and Ashly McGlone report, “some hoteliers’ unwillingness to sign off on agreements to discount blocks of hotel rooms for attendees is what’s keeping the massive comic and entertainment convention from committing to San Diego.”
The VOSD Podcast’s guest is Candice Eley, director of public relations for the Tourism Authority, which devotes itself to selling San Diego as a vacation destination. She tells us about our city’s bid to mold its identity and tout its authenticity.
Not long ago, Scott Lewis explained why there’s no connection between the Trolley and the airport. Our light-rail service goes right by the airport but there’s no easy way to get to your terminal except by bus. Every year, someone asks why that is.
Looks like the San Diego Association of Governments is set to begin construction on a dedicated road and shuttle service from the Washington Street Trolley station through the new car-rental facility. It’s super close but there’s just never been a path. And just like that you’ll be able to take the Trolley to the airport.
As they plead with the NFL to let them get the heck out of town, the Chargers claim that they’ve tried — Lord how they’ve tried! — but the city just won’t cooperate with them to build a new stadium. “The Chargers have done everything possible,” declares a spokesman.
Will the NFL buy it? You know, a group of teams that’s devoted to making the teams in the group happy? Hmm. The U-T suggests there might be a chance: “Critics say… that it’s far from a slam dunk because many of the stadium proposals were flimsy, the time period included the worst recession in 70 years and public support for a stadium had been poisoned by the infamous Chargers ‘ticket guarantee.’”
As for that claim about how hard the Chargers have pushed for a new stadium over the last 14 years, here’s a timeline compiled by Jill Lieber Steeg and her husband, Jim Steeg, who was on the mayor’s task force.
• For once, the most-popular article on our site over the past week wasn’t a story about the ins-and-outs of the Chargers stadium drama. But it was close: Readers flocked to a commentary by former Councilwoman Donna Frye, who says we should keep our eye on a better prospect for Mission Valley: a river park.
Check the Top 10 list of our most popular stories here.
• Might the Raiders stay in Oakland instead of being wooed to the L.A. area to share a stadium with their arch rivals, the Chargers? Officials are considering a proposal there, but finance gurus tell a newspaper chain that “the long-awaited financing plan for a new Raiders stadium is a lousy deal for the team and will make a potential return to Los Angeles look even more attractive.” (Bay Area News Group)
• The LA Times looks into how the Navy is cutting back on water use. A top official says he wants to cut 925 million gallons of annual use by 2020.
Reflecting the changing times, Democratic and Republican local politicians lauded the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling.
Among Republicans, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, whose first election to office was a landmark, was at the Supreme Court with her partner to hear the ruling after attending a White House reception in honor of LGBT Pride Month. Former Councilman and twice-failed candidate for higher office Carl DeMaio, called upon fellow Republicans to drop their opposition. He married his partner earlier this year.
Meanwhile, hoopla erupted at the big rainbow flag in Hillcrest. A 28 year old cried as local legislator and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins spoke: “My friends in Texas can marry. I left Texas because of the discrimination I felt,” he told the U-T.
• Jim Garlow, pastor of San Diego’s giant Skyline Church, which helped lead the effort against gay marriage in California, said the ruling harkens to bad decisions about slavery and mandatory sterilization and he hinted that the ruling could destroy the country.
Earlier, he declared that “slavery took an excess of 70 years… We’re going to have to battle for a long time, once you add it all it’d take up over 100 years of fighting slavery.” After the ruling, he said the Supreme Court is “totally radicalizing the definition of marriage based upon the desire of adults, not what is best for children,” (Not long ago, Garlow became an unlikely pen pal of the Morning Report. I attended Skyline as a kid, and he got in touch when I mentioned this. He was unable to convince me to return.)
• So where do same-sex couples live in the U.S.? The NY Times reminds us with a helpful map of national hotspots for same-sex couples. San Diego County has an estimated 8 per 1,000 households, making us one of the gayest counties in the country. But we’re still behind unexpected places like Riverside County (!), and counties in Arkansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana and Tennessee.
A few years ago, a trip to New York City landed me in Central Park on a late-summer evening. I glanced at the lawn and wondered how they’d rigged it with zillions of little moving lights. Turned out a higher power than the park commission was responsible: I’d been looking at fireflies. As a native of these here parts, I’d never seen one before.
Not something you’re likely to see here, right? Wrong. The spotting of an until-now-unknown species of firefly in the L.A. area is highlighting the existence of these critters in our midst. “Entomologists have known about fireflies in our region for a long time,” the L.A. Times reports, “but they say they are rarely seen and are difficult even for the professionals to find.”
However, they’ve been spotted in our very own Laguna mountains, among other places. “f you’d like to go firefly hunting yourself, your best bet is to head for a natural water source on a summer night and turn off your flashlight so you have a better chance of seeing a glow.”
Hmm. San Diego has some of the highest electricity costs in the state. If those fireflies aren’t too busy, maybe they’d like to illuminate my living room?
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.