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Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
An exodus of top cops, Faulconer’s pitch to voters and why Council members are suddenly talking about the Barrio Logan community plan.
With 30 years as a police officer, Capt. Andy Mills has built up a reputation as a strong advocate for communities. But come November, San Diegans will no longer directly benefit from his experience — he’s taking the top cop job in Eureka, Calif. “Many more high-level retirements are likely to follow,” Lisa Halverstadt reports.
Mills follows two other high-profile police leaders who’ve left the department this year. And as part of a pension program that requires 27 police leaders and 33 officers to retire by mid-2014, Mills will soon be followed by others. “There’s going to be massive turnover in the department soon,” said Jeff Jordon, vice president of the San Diego Police Officers Association. San Diego’s Police Chief Bill Lansdowne is now eligible to retire with full pension, but has said he isn’t planning on leaving yet.
Council members Kevin Faulconer and David Alvarez are finally talking about their opinions of the Barrio Logan community plan update proposals. There are two versions competing for approval; one considered more friendly to residents, the other more friendly to industry. Earlier this year, Alvarez demurred on giving his opinion, citing legal restrictions. What loosened up his tongues?
Andrew Keatts highlighted a recent committee meeting where at an attorney for the city told Alvarez he was free to express his opinions about the community plan. It’s all about “quasi-judicial” actions versus “legislative” actions, but the real action is how the community plan is now a major issue for the two mayoral candidates.
It was 2007, and people were getting drunk on San Diego beaches. After a Labor Day beach brawl drew police in riot gear, Faulconer reversed course and threw his weight behind a measure banning alcohol at city beaches. “It was the right thing for San Diego,” Faulconer told Liam Dillon, who looked back at the controversial law that “made it so you can’t have a beer at your family’s beach barbecue,” or “made your family’s beach barbecue safe from drunken louts,” depending on how you view it.
The ban may have brought down crime at the beach, but it also may have hurt small businesses at the beach. Faulconer is steadfast on the issue, though. “From my standpoint, I’ve never looked back, nor has the community,” he said.
Faulconer wrote in to VOSD with a bevy of reasons he thinks San Diegans should support him for mayor, without even a nod toward the beach ban. He promised to push for smaller class sizes in schools, fix broken roads and help small businesses.
“I’ve made a lot of promises to you here,” Faulconer wrote. “But one thing I promise not to do is change who I am.”
• The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce is in; the business group announced its endorsement of Faulconer Thursday. Our Scott Lewis reported this week on the sausage-making that went into locking down the backing of Republican leaders.
Lewis also recently noted how former City Councilman Carl DeMaio and former Mayor Bob Filner both blamed special interests for keeping them out of office in recent speeches about their political futures. Lewis teamed up with NBC San Diego’s Catherine Garcia to try to figure out who these oft-maligned groups are and what it is they want in our most recent San Diego Explained.
Interim mayor Todd Gloria held a briefing Thursday where he announced sweeping changes to city policies and programs while blasting his predecessor for being a neglectful, inconsistent rule-breaker. Among Gloria’s complaints: Those Balboa Park trams Filner promised materialized, with nowhere to store the fuel to run them; lobbyists hired to promote San Diego’s interests in Sacramento and Washington were fired “for apparently no reason and the city’s homeless shelters were not properly funded to stay open year-round despite promises made, Gloria said.
Gloria promised, among other things, to restart enforcement of medical marijuana zoning laws, to continue implementing managed competition programs and to help change the city’s approach to opening government records to the public.
• A law to raise the minimum wage in California to $10 has passed the Legislature and is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. Also awaiting Brown’s signature are two bills from San Diego’s Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez that protect and expand the rights of undocumented immigrants.
• The owners of the offlined San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station think rate-payers should pay for the costs of investment that went into the ailing station. They’d like a rate-payer-funded 5 percent profit on their investment, too.
• San Diego’s craft breweries are getting their feet wet in the ocean of whiskies and gin.
San Diego will star in an ad promoting destinations in California to tourists. “While San Diego won’t be specifically mentioned, video of Mission Bay, as well as the iconic Hotel del Coronado, will be easily identified in the ad,” reported the U-T. The video will appear on social media and on broadcast and cable channels over the coming months.
Beaches are nice, but there’s no mention of some of my favorite locations. No Balboa Park? No craft-beer sipping (or guzzling) parties in Liberty Station? And didn’t anyone tell them: San Diego has the best pizza in the country?