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Usually we do one Voice of San Diego podcast per week with a guest. But Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis got so into their conversation with Summer Stephan, who’s running for district attorney, we made it a special episode.
Stephan, who’s a chief deputy district attorney right now, let loose from the beginning about how much she hates fundraising — thinks it corrupting — how Mayor Kevin Faulconer told her she “sucks” at it. She distanced herself from her boss, DA Bonnie Dumanis, on some of Dumanis’ more controversial political dealings. She talked about how humble she is while dropping lines about how great and beloved she is in the community.
It was a candid conversation Keatts and Lewis clearly enjoyed.
Two former deputy district attorneys are trying to stop the anointing of Stephan as the county’s next district attorney.
Dumanis is quitting her job to possibly run for county supervisor and wants Stephan to replace her. The Board of Supervisors needs to pick Dumanis’ replacement. Stephan is favored by Dumanis and much of the political establishment.
Keatts wrote up a post about how Adam Gordon and Greg Walden, two former deputies, want the board to pass over Stephan now and pick one of them.
Walden said he was troubled by what seemed like Stephan’s ongoing “coronation” by Dumanis and a powerful list of bipartisan backers, including many of the county’s law enforcement officials and prosecutors.
Walden said, “this seems to be a manipulation of the process going on. They’re taking away the opportunity for the people of San Diego to vote on who their next DA should be.” That’s because if Stephan is an incumbent going into the 2018 DA elections, she seems like even more of a lock for the office.
Stephan has a pretty simple rebuttal: “If they think they’re better for the job, this is what democracy is about. Come out and face me.”
In addition to our special interview with Stephan, Keatts and Lewis have a packed weekly podcast. They explain the big debate over who should buy electricity for San Diego. No other political decision on the city’s horizon will more dramatically alter public affairs than this one. They also talk to Gordon, one of the people challenging Stephan. They also do a coronation of their own, when they pick this week’s Hero and Goat.
Mexico is California’s largest export market, so when the Trump Administration wants to renegotiate the United States’ major trade deal with Mexico, businesses across the state and particularly in San Diego get worried. Our Maya Srikrishnan tells us about a recent informational statehouse hearing on the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.
Take Taylor Guitars, an iconic San Diego companies. It started a new brand of lower-end guitars that could be produced more cheaply in Tecate after NAFTA. The new product helped the company expand and created jobs in Mexico and California, according to Paola Avila, a top official at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Srikrishnan and Sara Libby also round up other tidbits from the City of Trees, as Sacramento calls itself.
• The battle for the future of Mission Valley is not so much a battle of ideas as a “clash of wealthy developers,” as David Garrick points out in the Union-Tribune. On one side is the SoccerCity folks, who have spent about $1.5 million promoting their proposal. On the other is H.G. Fenton Company & Sudberry Properties, who have spent nearly $600,000 opposing SoccerCity. Expect both numbers to keep growing throughout the year until a special election is likely to be held. If you’re unfamiliar with SoccerCity, we’ve got you covered with this recent explanation of the whole thing.
• San Diego State University President Elliot Hirshman explains his decision to leave his post to become the leader of a small college in Maryland. According to the Union-Tribune, this is because “SDSU has launched and completed several major infrastructure projects, its graduation rate has hit 74 percent, its ranking in US News and World Report has shot up about 35 points and a recently completed 10-year campaign raised $800 million.” The paper also points out that Hirshman earns about $450,000 a year, but the current president of the college he’s heading to earns about $700,000.
The head of the California State University system has said a new interim president for SDSU, to be named shortly, will not be chosen from among Hirshman’s current leadership team.
• The DA’s office released the videos of more officer-involved shootings. (NBC San Diego)
• The San Onofre-area shark attack victim is doing “remarkably well.” (NBC San Diego)
• A final decision in a tourism tax case is a win for hotel interests.
These were the 5 most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of Apr. 29-May 5. Click here to see the full top 10.
1. San Diego Is Awash in Craft Beer – and Its Sticky, Smelly Byproduct
Some new craft brewers are struggling to find ways to dispose of spent grain, the thick, mushy residue each batch of beer leaves behind. Some farmers will take it, but many of them have so much that they’re turning new breweries away. (Kinsee Morlan)
2. Chula Vista Sees Homelessness Drop Following Measure Targeting Large Vehicles
The annual homeless census showed a drop in homelessness in Chula Vista – likely in large part because of a change in how the city polices RVs parked on the street. Advocates warn those policies simply move people elsewhere, instead of actually solving homelessness. (Lisa Halverstadt)
3. Under New SDG&E Plan, Customers Who Leave Could Keep Paying for Decades
SDG&E, Southern California Edison and PG&E rolled out a new plan last week for how much and how long they can keep charging people who switch to buying power from a government-run agency known as a community choice aggregator, or CCA. (Ry Rivard)
4. Zimmerman Blames SDPD’s Struggle to Recruit on the Media — Again
There may not be one single explanation for SDPD’s failure to hire enough officers, but there is one reason Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman keeps returning to: scrutiny from the media. It’s an argument she’s made many times – and one for which she’s consistently declined to provide evidence. (Andrew Keatts)
5. Sacramento Report: A Social Media Star Is Born in the Assembly
Bond watchdogs are urged to show their teeth, Atkins urges lawmakers to “do something big” on health care and more in our weekly roundup of news from Sacramento. (Sara Libby)