Morning Report: San Diego's Grizzled Beer Baron | Voice of San Diego

Morning Report

Morning Report: San Diego's Grizzled Beer Baron

The man behind San Diego’s beer revolution, how the Affordable Care Act affects those with pre-existing conditions and more.

These are golden days for beer lovers and beer brewers. Within just a few years, San Diego has become a well-publicized haven for craft beer, and no one’s gotten more positive press than Greg Koch and his Stone Brewing Co.

Koch, co-founder and CEO of the Stone empire, doesn’t give off a casual Southern California vibe. Far from it, in fact. As a new VOSD profile reveals, he’s gone grizzly, looking “part open-collared coolness and part Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer.”

But Koch is all-business. Well, sort of. His mission: Build San Diego’s hops-friendly reputation. But he rejects traditional approaches like advertising, and he distrusts “The Man.” Still, he gets called an pushy elitist, something akin to the name of his brewery’s trademark ale: “Arrogant Bastard.”

Second Opinion: How Will Obamacare Affect the Ill?

Second Opinion, our series of Q-and-As about health care reform, examines what will happen to people like Tamara Kaplan, a University Heights woman who pays about $17,000 a year for health insurance and co-pays. Will costs go down for people with pre-existing conditions?

In many cases, it will. In this case, the woman, who’s in her 60s, will pay $500-$700 a month for coverage.

46 Studies Later, a New Central Library Debuts

The new Central Library in downtown officially opens today, but the weekend brought plenty of festivities. The U-T has a story about a “look-only, no-netsurfing preview day,” and the Los Angeles Times recaps the city’s long and frustrating journey toward a new library.

The old Central Library had some musty-old-building charms but citizens started dreaming of a new one within just a few years of its 1958 opening. The Times says 46 studies since 1971 concluded the city needed a new central library. But it ultimately took decades, a lot of financial gymnastics and $185 million.

Pro-tip for future generations who want an even bigger and bolder edifice to knowledge and learning: Write one report instead of 46. And keep it in the library.

San Diego Politics Roundup

• VOSD Radio, our weekly radio show, can now be heard at 3:30 p.m. Saturdays on KOGO/600 AM. Not enough for you? Try our podcasts, which include an extra half hour of chatter. The latest edition includes an interview with mayoral candidate Michael Aguirre.

• San Diego hasn’t had a Latino mayor since California became a state in 1850. That could change if Councilman David Alvarez wins the office. (Or if long-shot Aguirre gets the nod.)

The U-T takes a look at the Latino vote and notes that one prominent local Latino politician isn’t supporting Alvarez or Aguirre.

• iNewsource has been closely tracking donors who give $1,000 or more to the mayoral candidates. The top occupation of donors is business owner or executive, followed by people in real estate or construction (i.e., developers), retirees and homemakers.

Wait, homemakers? iNewsource dug into the identities of the “homemakers.” Guess what? They’re almost certainly married to other donors: 29 out of 40 homemaker donors “were from individuals who shared the same last name, city, state and ZIP code as another individual who had donated to the same candidate and listed an occupation other than homemaker.”

• Political stories made a big splash in our weekly list of VOSD’s 10 most popular stories. The top article is a look at a union stalwart who’s hardly the fan of a mayoral candidate as he used to be. The third most popular story explains why former Councilwoman Donna Frye didn’t tell the full story about her resignation from ex-Mayor Filner’s administration.

Brick by Brick

• The U-T highlights the central library donors whose inspirational messages are engraved in commemorative bricks. The $150 bricks are only available until tomorrow. If you want one, you’ll have to hurry. Like me.

A couple years ago, I learned that my AP English teacher at Chula Vista’s Hilltop High School was terminally ill with cancer. I sent the word out to some of her former students, and about two dozen of us sent her letters about how she changed our lives — fostering our love of words, giving hope to those who were heading for trouble, helping us make it to bigger things.

She read our letters and said they validated her life’s work. Then she passed away.

Now, a brick in honor of Mrs. C will be part of a grand building dedicated to knowledge. I think she’d like that.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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