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Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
Battles break out over ballot statements, homeless man says SDPD won't help him find place to sleep in car, 10 years of living wage law, ITT Technical Institutes fold, VP candidate in town and S.D's tiki history.
The official ballot statement in support the Chargers initiative — to build a new stadium/convention center expansion in downtown — makes a bold claim: It “would relieve existing obligations at Qualcomm Stadium that are currently paid out of the general fund totaling $15 million per year.”
The statement was signed by five supporters including former Mayor Jerry Sanders and U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas.
The line is a definite selling point. We’ve previously documented just how much the city loses on Qualcomm Stadium and why. It’s a lot! The old football stadium is expensive to run and in need of pricey repairs. In addition, we are still paying off loans for its 1990s facelift. But our Scott Lewis runs this claim through San Diego Fact Check and finds that it is Misleading.
For one thing, the city will be paying off that debt through 2026. There’s nothing in the measure that changes that. There are other factors that challenge the claim too.
• Donna Frye, the maverick former city councilwoman and almost-mayor, is suing the city over descriptions of her own Measure D, a competing stadium/convention center expansion initiative. “She claims the language the city approved to describe her initiative, on the ballot and in the voter’s guide, is false, misleading or inaccurate, and wants it replaced with language she suggests in her complaint,” Courthouse News Service reports.
• Meanwhile, foes of Measure A — the sales tax hike to pay for transportation improvements — are challenging the pro side’s ballot statements in court. (City News Service)
A local man named Joseph Santilli and his 80-year-old father are homeless, and they’ve been living in a car. That’s not a problem during the day, he writes in a VOSD commentary, but nighttime is a whole other matter.
“The city and county make finding a place to sleep so challenging, it’s become one of the biggest hurdles keeping me from getting off the streets and back into a home,” he writes. Santilli says cops have rustled him and his father out of Fiesta Island and gave him a $52 citation he can’t afford.
Santilli says he tried to get a police officer to direct them where they could legally sleep overnight in a car, but the officer couldn’t help.
Recently we wrote about what is shaping up to be the fiercest battle in San Diego politics this season: Measure K. Jeff Marston, co-chair of the Independent Voter Project, took issue with the piece. In a commentary, he writes that journalists need to stop with the notion that everything is about parties and business and labor.
This week’s VOSD Culture Report starts off with news about the San Diego Opera’s unusual outreach program. It’s transforming into an opera company that performs in a variety of ways, not just lush productions on stage. Now, it’s launched Opera on Track, a series of performances at trolley stations. They’re all about “training an audience about what contemporary opera can be,” says the opera’s head honcho.
Also in the Culture Report: Even more art in Barrio Logan, a horror film festival and a South Bay Pride event.
• The city is in a snit with the popular Small Bar in University Heights, with the owner saying she’s accrued $30,000 in fines over a supposedly unpermitted outdoor patio. “It’s quite clear that the city does not care about me or my staff,” she tells westcoastersd.com. “They just want money. I pay my taxes. The entire situation is so disheartening.” The blog post doesn’t include the city’s perspective.
The city is picking up the pace on its endless project to bury all power lines underground. The U-T says it will more than double the number of projects over the rest of this fiscal year, although everything isn’t supposed to be finished — all power lines underground and not over our heads — until the year 2070. Yes, 2070, when today’s millennials will be teleporting to their shuffleboard tournaments.
“While undergrounding reduces fire risk and eases maintenance while also boosting aesthetics and property values, many neighborhoods have decided those benefits are outweighed by construction hassles and unattractive utility boxes blocking sidewalks,” the U-T says.
Modern Healthcare, a medical industry trade journal, profiles the battle to serve San Diego sick people that’s pitting UC San Diego against Scripps Health. UCSD is opening up a $943 million hospital in La Jolla, a firm jab at the rival Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla across the street.
There’s muttering within the medical world about another possible motive: the new hospital “could signal the beginning of a reduced UCSD presence in Hillcrest,” where two hospitals within blocks of each other (Scripps Mercy and UCSD Medical Center) “run busy emergency departments serving a high percentage of uninsured or underinsured patients.”
• A decade ago, the city approved a law that required it to pay a “living wage” to thousands of contractors. How’s that going? inewsource says not as poorly as critics had predicted.
• ITT Technical Institutes, that mainstay of late-night TV ads, is going kaput: The for-profit chain is shutting down all of its more than 130 campuses, including local ones, and blaming the feds for cutting off financial aid to its students. (L.A. Times)
• “San Diego port district staff have recommended a proposal by locally based OliverMcMillan Inc. to develop hotels, recreational canals and other elements on 57 waterfront acres at Harbor Island.” (NBC 7)
• Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence is scheduled to headline a local fundraiser today that’s co-hosted by former U-T publisher Doug Manchester and his wife Geniya. “The basic price of admission to the lunch, according to a recent invitation, is $1000, but a ‘photo opportunity’ can be had for $2700, or $5400 per couple,” the Reader reports.
• A website called classicsandiego.com is chronicling our fair city’s restaurant history and recently posted a tribute to San Diego’s embrace of the 1950s Tiki craze. That’s when South Seas-themed restaurants took the nation by storm.
Drop by the site’s Tiki page and you’ll find historical trivia about places like the South Seas Cafe, Hula Hut and Chi-Chi along with photos of matchbooks, ashtrays and napkins emblazoned with barely clad ladies in leis.
If you want to get into the 1950s Polynesian spirit yourself, you may try making a mai tai. But leave the lei-wearing to the professionals.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also past 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.