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Programming note: This afternoon’s Culture Report will be the last – for a while, at least. We’re taking a bit of a hiatus to step back, refocus and figure out how Voice of San Diego in particular can add value to local arts coverage. Got ideas? Lay ‘em on us.
Oh, the suspense! Watching the Chargers dance unfold would almost be fun if public dollars – many, many public dollars – weren’t at stake.
Later today, city and county negotiators sit down with NFL vice president Eric Grubman and Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani. And Grubman’s going to ask a question: Just how does San Diego plan to pay for a new stadium? At this point, that financing plan is starting to resemble a rousing game of Jenga.
Remember, the mayor and City Council have removed the option of selling land around Qualcomm Stadium to help pay for the new stadium. So slip that piece out of the tower. They’ve also removed the option of developing that land to help pay for it. That’s another piece of the tower gone.
What’s left? General fund dollars, Scott Lewis writes, and that tipsy tower isn’t going to be an easy sell to voters: “Without tax increases, you have to admit that the payments on the new stadium will come at the expense of other city needs.”
When we looked at the district’s data a few months ago, Memorial Prep, a middle school in Logan Heights, turned out to be the school parents in San Diego Unified avoided most. They’d elect instead to send their kids to another traditional school outside of their neighborhood, or to a charter school.
Turns out, Councilman David Alvarez has been part of some conversations about that. Now he’s advising San Diego Unified to tear down the school, which has been restructured and rebranded three times in the last 20 years, and start fresh. He mentioned that plan to us when we had him as a guest on the podcast about a week ago, and said he’s chatted with district officials and school board trustee Richard Barrera about it.
Mario Koran looks at the plans for Memorial Prep, which are still “very, very preliminary” according to a district spokeswoman, and points out another surface rebranding without a hard look at the underlying issues won’t do neighborhood kids or parents much good.
• SpaceX co-founder, Tesla Motors CEO, SolarCity chairman and all-around busy man Elon Musk is swooping in to potentially save three Escondido high schools big money on their electricity bills. (Union-Tribune) My only hope is the deal includes one of his trademark blow-out release parties.
• Later today, City Council votes on its response to a grand jury report on the fiasco that was the original planning of the Balboa Park Centennial. (KPBS) For a blow-by-blow on said fiasco, go revisit Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts’ piece, “Anatomy of a Civic Failure.”
• A lot of folks have been talking about this story from the Orange County Register, which attributes reports of the “the rapidly dwindling chances of San Diego and Oakland to keep” their respective teams to NFL execs, sports consultants and Carmen Policy. Policy was hired by the Raiders and the Chargers to oversee the project to build a stadium in Carson. “Let’s just say it appears that neither local market is going to be able to step up and do anything remotely close to getting a deal done,” he said.
• Vox has a walkthrough of the big changes coming to net metering, which is how solar customers make some money back for the electricity they produce. In her quest on solar in San Diego, Lisa Halverstadt’s covered those changes and more big questions facing the industry, utilities and customers alike.
• Boltman came in as the No. 1 creepiest NFL mascot for resembling a “lovecraftian otherworld horror,” according to Uproxx. It’s important to note here that Boltman is actually not an official mascot of the NFL. In fact, the Chargers want nothing to do with him. (Related: This is spot-on.)
• Chicago-based Better Government Association released a new report comparing major cities according to the number of people shot and killed by police officers. San Diego ranked fairly low comparatively – 17 deaths in the last five years. Note that the chart up top points out the raw numbers of people killed, with city populations marked below each column. Further down in the report, you’ll find the cities’ rates when adjusted for population.
• Parking’s a bit of a pickle for some in Balboa Park, KPBS reports. VOSD member John Anderson’s impassioned plea on Facebook against adding more caught my eye yesterday afternoon. Which is a greater deterrent for you: less parking or less room to run around?
• Unions that backed Los Angeles’ minimum wage raise are now pushing for an exemption from it. Labor in San Diego similarly lobbied last year, when City Council voted to raise the minimum wage to $11.50. Their hopes weren’t realized here. Tom Lemmon of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council is quoted in this L.A. Times story, explaining that he and others had sought the waiver in San Diego to remain competitive. (Los Angeles Times)
• Following up on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s refusal to allow Junior Seau’s family to speak at his induction ceremony, the family issued this statement via their lawyer. (h/t Daniel Kaplan, a reporter for SportsBusiness Journal)
• Now that Boston has withdrawn its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, L.A. is back in the running. (Los Angeles Times) Writer/broadcaster Bill Simmons says L.A.’s the only U.S. city capable of pulling it off.
• Ruh-roh. “Recently released satellite photos of the western pacific show the ocean is looking a lot like it did during the last major El Niño in 1997.” (KPBS)
• The World Resources Institute has some design tips for cities looking to reduce traffic deaths. Not much we can do about our existing sprawl, and our public transportation could use some work, but the folks behind Vision Zero (San Diego’s campaign to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025) might be cheered to see they’re on track with pedestrian- and bike-friendly goals. (CityLab)
• Ex-mayor and conservative radio show host Roger Hedgecock has decided San Diego is south of Southern California. Read his rant about canceling his subscription to the Union-Tribune since it was bought by Tribune Publishing. (h/t CityBeat columnist John R. Lamb)
• Someone tweeting for the Telegraph in London seems to be a bit confused. No tornado conditions for San Diego; South Dakota, on the other hand… (h/t Chris Hansen)
• I gave up on the second season of “True Detective” after episode two. But I’d start watching again if the Carson stadium saga became the backdrop plot for season 3, as a couple people suggested after reading our story yesterday.
Catherine Green is deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handles daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects. You can contact her directly firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.550.5668. Follow her on Twitter: @c_s_green.