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Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
The local startups to watch, unleashing the pollsters on using general fund money for a stadium, car-sharing is caring and more.
Let’s not kid ourselves. San Diego is no Silicon Valley – certainly not when it comes to venture capital. These are the funds invested in companies that intend to grow quickly, and as Lisa Halverstadt has reported, San Diego startups are hurtin’ for them.
Perhaps that’s why some San Diego observers seemed a bit caught off guard when local startup GoFundMe, the go-to site to raise funds for everything from surgeries to school board members’ kids’ college funds, recently landed a deal that valued the company at $600 million.
We might be way behind our Bay Area brethren in the overall fundraising game, but GoFundMe’s success reminds us that there’s plenty of exciting innovation happening among startups in town. VOSD contributor Lily Leung rounds up a handful that should be on your radar, including online fundraising for do-gooders, an app that rewards you for dining at select spots in San Diego and an entire sector that’s raking in what little venture capital there is to be had.
In a series of tweets, Steven Johnson, the spokesman for the Convention Center Corporation, regaled his experience with a polling call over the weekend. Johnson said the call skewed negative on funneling general fund money into the project to build a new stadium, holding up police, street repairs and pension liability as other potential uses. The pollster also asked Johnson for his opinion on involved public officials, and whether he’d vote against the mayor or City Council if they decide to use general fund dollars on a stadium.
Two theories on who could be behind the poll: It could be supporters of using general funds for a stadium just testing for vulnerabilities, or it might even be the Chargers trying to prove the mayor’s plan (which includes investment from the general fund) isn’t viable.
Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani didn’t deny the team might have a hand in the polling. “In the past, we haven’t commented on reports that the Chargers have a poll in the field (and we have done a great many polls over the past 14 years of this effort),” he told Scott Lewis.
There’d been some heavy speculation that Councilman Mark Kersey would run to take County Supervisor Dave Roberts’ seat. But that was laid to rest Monday when Kersey killed the idea on Twitter, citing his work on infrastructure with City Council as a greater calling. (And yes, that’s me womansplaining to him how to thread multiple tweets. Someone had to tell him!)
Kersey’s run had in part been considered a given because of the vulnerability of Roberts’ seat in the midst of a scandal involving former staffers who have alleged abuses of power by Roberts, which, as inewsource reports, hasn’t been great for fundraising in Roberts’ re-election campaign.
This also means speculation that radio talk show host Carl DeMaio would get back in the game to take Kersey’s City Council seat (which DeMaio used to occupy) is also dead.
• The City Council voted to direct funding toward a project to connect Park Boulevard with Harbor Drive, which Councilman Todd Gloria said would become “a key connector north, and out of downtown to the freeways.” (City News Service)
• Yes, unwanted phone books are annoying. Mercifully, there are ways to opt out of delivery (though it sounds like even some of those aren’t foolproof). (KPBS)
• Alas, Bai Yun, the mom of the panda who celebrated his third birthday at the San Diego Zoo over the weekend, is not pregnant. (Los Angeles Times)
• Behold, your meaningless city ranking of the day: San Diego is the sixth best city to live in, according to WalletHub. (Reader)
• Does that ranking take into account how good we are at sharing? A car-sharing pilot program’s been such a hit, the city’s making it permanent and expanding it from just one company – Car2Go – to three. (Union-Tribune)
• St. Louis’ own efforts to build a stadium to appease its NFL team (or lure another) took a step forward Monday when a judge ruled it wouldn’t be necessary for residents to vote on whether to use city tax money for the project. That might mean one less team competing with the Chargers to call Los Angeles home. (Associated Press)