Morning Report: Meet the Anti-DeMaio | Voice of San Diego

Morning Report

Morning Report: Meet the Anti-DeMaio

The top issues (and unwalkable streets) in Mission Hills, Seau’s death, pepper spraying kids and the newsrack menace.


If you’ve read any spy novels, you know what an opposite number is: It’s your equivalent on the other side of the espionage game. Politics has opposite numbers too, and City Council candidate Bryan Pease says he’s the one for Councilman Carl DeMaio.

Pease, a public-interest attorney, isn’t running against DeMaio, though. He moved into District 1 because he was so upset with the performance of the current council member, fellow Democrat Sherri Lightner.

He’s best known as a protect-the-La Jolla-seals activist. And he’s touting his progressive bona fides.

We profile Pease and his priorities, which include an unusual one for a City Council candidate: animal rights. He wants to ban the retail sale of cats and dogs and forbid circus acts from coming into the city unless they stop using a controversial device to control elephants.

Getting Here to There in Mission Hills Isn’t Easy

“Hi, I’m Lara, I’m a pedestrian and I’d like to walk down Washington (Avenue),” says a Mission Hills resident in a make-believe voice. “How am I going to do that? I’m not.”

And neither are you. Getting around Mission Hills as a pedestrian is a challenge, thanks to what our Kelly Bennett — who’s exploring District 3 this week — calls a “forbidding connecting vein.”

What does the vein need? An angioplasty? Good question.

The resident is a city planner, offering an unusual perspective on the city’s failings. We look at the top issues for her and other Mission Hill residents.

In the final stage of our council elections project, Bennett’s spending the week embedded in Council District 3 to learn about its issues and take resident concerns to the lone candidate, incumbent Todd Gloria. T

How Seau’s Death Will Affect Brain Injury Debate

The death yesterday of former Chargers star Junior Seau, who apparently killed himself at his Oceanside home, is drawing even more attention to the hotly debated topic of brain injuries in NFL players.

Check our Reader’s Guide for links to stories that examine the debate over the risks of concussions on the field. The NY Times notes that “though remembered as a hard-hitting, inspirational linebacker, Seau did not have a documented history of concussions. He missed several games in his career with leg and chest injuries.”

Seau’s death is yet another tragic blow for Chargers fans. A stunning eight members of the 53-member 1994 team — the one that made it to the Super Bowl — have died before the age of 45 of a variety of causes, including accidents (a major plane crash and a lightning strike) and disease.

Back in 2008, when the number reached five, a statistician estimated to the Washington Post that the chances of such a large toll among a group of men so young was less than 1 percent.

Last year, Deadspin called the seven deaths up that point “a combination of freak accidents and typical post-football life demises. This is a statistical anomaly, not the spectral fingers of death personified plucking Bobby Ross’s squad from this mortal plane. Still: football is a really, really dangerous game.”

Mortgage Swindler Headed to Prison

Three years ago, we uncovered a massive mortgage swindle at three North County condo complexes. Today, the mastermind of that fraud, Jim McConville, was sentenced to nearly eight years in prison and ordered to pay $7 million in restitution.

Kelly Bennett has the details of the sentencing. Check out the full investigation from 2009 here.

Delay for Convention Center Vote

The City Council’s next vote on the Convention Center expansion won’t happen this month, as planned. Instead, it’s been delayed, possibly until September, because the city wants to get an environmental impact report. It’s afraid of running into the same legal troubles it did with the Balboa Park remodel.

The importance of this: Boosters say they still plan on breaking ground this year. The deputy city attorney working on the plan didn’t think that was too realistic. 

“Believing the City will break ground on the CC expansion this year is an exercise in magical thinking,” he said on Twitter.

Not a Bridge Too Far

In letters, Judy Gervais of Allied Gardens says she likes the idea of a bridge connecting her neighborhood to Tierrasanta, even though it hasn’t gotten much traction. She says it’s crucial for fire protection: “We need the bridge through Tierrasanta so that we are not marooned in our bedroom community.”

Quick News Hits

• A CityBeat investigation questions whether county juvenile facilities are overusing pepper spray. They use it at some of the highest rates in the country; only five states (including California) allow staff members to carry pepper spray as they make their rounds.

“It’s dangerous,” a New York juvenile justice official says. “I think it doesn’t teach the young person a thing about how to manage their behavior. It really doesn’t teach staff any skills to be able to engage with young people. I don’t see it as an effective tool.”

• Federal prosecutors say DMV employees in East County took as much as $3,000 in bribes to get forged driver’s licenses. (NBC 7 San Diego)

• City Attorney Jan Goldsmith will have a pretty cushy election this year: he’s a shoo-in since he has no opponents. It’s kind of like passing go and collecting $200.

To continue with the Monopoly analogy: He doesn’t have a community chest (whatever that is), but he does have a campaign fund. And $25,000 is going to Mitt Romney’s Super PAC, the Reader reports.

Rack and Ruin (and Wasted City Time)

The San Diego County Grand Jury gets criticized around our newsroom for what some see as its useless or out-dated crusades. Well, it’s launched a new one: the grand jury is targeting the eyesore menace of decrepit newsracks, the U-T reports.

This is the best part of the U-T story on the grand jury’s report (italics added courtesy of my built-in irony detector): “the city issued permits for at least 144 newsracks that weren’t on its property. Fifty-nine of the racks were in other cities and 85 were on other agencies’ property within the city limits.”

Who says City Hall is full of red tape? Sounds like they’ll really go the extra mile, especially if it’s past the city border.

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