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Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
Former assemblywoman jumps in against Kevin Faulconer. Plus the ‘really resilient critter’ stirring up development in Otay.
It looks like we might sort of have a mayoral election this year.
Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña has decided to run against Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Saldaña spoke with me in advance of her decision for a wide-ranging Q-and-A that addresses her reasons for leaving the Democratic Party to become an independent and her plans. She said she’s running to highlight income inequality and give voters a clear contrast to Faulconer – the only GOP mayor of a top 10 city.
Saldaña also addressed in detail her interactions with former Mayor Bob Filner. Recall that Saldaña had told Democratic Party leaders about Filner’s behavior with women in advance of the 2012 election. But she didn’t go public with the information until after his sexual harassment scandal began making waves and she had even endorsed him in the 2012 campaign. I asked why and she said she was a sexual assault survivor herself.
Saldaña said she’s well aware her bid against Faulconer is a long shot. She’s hoping to get him to debate her. As if to underscore how much of a challenge it’s going to be, recently released campaign numbers from Faulconer shows he raised more than $1 million last year.
Earlier Monday, two leaders on the left – Democratic Party Chairwoman Francine Busby and labor honcho Mickey Kasparian – went on KPBS’ Midday Edition to lament that the party hadn’t fielded a mayoral candidate. But Busby hinted that a progressive, presumably Saldaña, was planning to throw her hat in the ring.
The orange and black butterfly has a lovely name: the Quino checkerspot. It’s been on the federal endangered species list for almost two decades, but because the Quino has such unusual characteristics – earwigs feast on it but it can live in hibernation for years – county planners didn’t know what to do about it.
Now, there’s a reason to take action, writes our Maya Srikrishnan. At least three proposed developments in Otay might affect the Quino’s habitat, giving everyone involved an incentive to create a plan to protect the species. The developer of a key project is on board: “I accept that as the price of development,” the developer said. “Since we’ve taken land away, we have to be careful and take care of these species.”
On Monday, Faulconer joined his pal City Councilman Mark Kersey for a press conference to rally support for Kersey’s infrastructure ballot measure. The City Council is scheduled to decide on placing the measure – which will set aside lots of future projected tax dollars toward infrastructure – on the June ballot at its meeting Tuesday. Faulconer endorsed the effort during his State of the City earlier this month and Kersey’s plan appears to have enough backing to get it before voters in June.
But at the last minute on Monday, Councilman David Alvarez released a competing plan that he hopes will give their colleagues on the dais pause. Alvarez believes Kersey’s plan ties the Council’s hands and proposes dedicating future property tax revenue toward infrastructure as a means to speed up funding.
Meanwhile, in an op-ed for us local transit and housing advocates Jim Stone and Stephen Russell argue that Kersey’s measure should include money for affordable housing. They suggest setting aside some revenue to help build new homes or offset fees that affordable housing developers have to pay.
Kersey’s measure won’t fix the city’s infrastructure problem and historical precedent has shown similar efforts have failed. The city’s independent budget analyst said Kersey’s idea was fine, but reiterated the city needs money to tackle street and other repairs.
One possibility for some money could be SANDAG, which is considering a November sales tax hike to pay for infrastructure countywide. The agency is doing telephone surveys on the idea this week. (KPBS)
• In the daily rumormongering about the future of the Chargers in San Diego, everyone’s take on Monday was that it was more likely the team was going to stay here in 2016. But then Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani came out and said those reports were not true. (NBC San Diego)
• On Facebook, local racial justice advocate Mark Jones and two of his friends tell a tale of getting detained over with guns drawn during a lengthy traffic stop at the San Ysidro border crossing.
• A 97-year-old El Cajon woman is among a number of female World War II veteran pilots fighting for full recognition from the Army. (L.A. Times)
• Imperial Beach is gearing up – zing! – for a $5 million Bikeway Village rest stop for bikers, walkers and tourists along the city’s wildlife refuge. As we reported earlier this month, it’s just one of the many projects on tap in IB. (KPBS)