What We Learned This Week | Voice of San Diego

Morning Report

What We Learned This Week

Politifest is here, the U-T San Diego is its owners’ personal weapon, candidates making a fuss about the port and more.

 

Politifest Is Here! Sound the trumpets! Start your microphones! Open the beer garden! Oh, and bring the kids!

We’re kicking things off today at Ingram Plaza in Liberty Station in Point Loma at 10 a.m. with a chat with congressional candidate Scott Peters (his opponent, Rep. Brian Bilbray, can’t come). We’ll continue with a mayoral debate at 10:30 a.m. between City Councilman Carl DeMaio and Rep. Bob Filner, a debate between San Diego Unified school board candidates at 12:30 p.m., a discussion about school construction bond Proposition Z at 1:30 p.m. and the Idea Tournament at 2 p.m.

Newsradio FM 95.7 and AM 600 KOGO will be broadcasting live from 10 a.m. to noon.

Plus, there will be dozens of community booths, a kids area, City 101 Sessions and (did we mention?) a beer garden! Here’s a map.

Add your voice to the conversation using the hashtag #politifest on Twitter and Instagram.

There’s No Question Anymore. The U-T San Diego Is Its Owners’ Personal Weapon. When the local newspaper was purchased by hotelier Doug Manchester and former radio station owner John Lynch, we asked: With all their talk of positivity and cheerleading, would they use the paper as a bullhorn or bludgeon?

It’s been increasingly obvious that it was the latter. The final proof came this week. Lynch explicitly threatened to use the newspaper as a weapon to lead his fight against the Unified Port of San Diego. The agency has opposed the newspaper’s proposal to build a football stadium and arena at the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal downtown.

In an email to Scott Peters, the port commissioner and congressional candidate, Lynch asked him to ensure a Dole lease extension wouldn’t prohibit a stadium. (Dole imports bananas there.) “Otherwise,” Lynch wrote, “this will become a major issue in the campaigns and the UT will be forced to lead a campaign to disband the PORT.”

Lynch claims that he didn’t make that threat. Even though it’s written in two emails he sent.

Despite All That Fuss About the Port, the Candidates Are Making Their Own Fuss About It. While the CEO of the local newspaper is barking about how disgraceful the port’s 10th Avenue Marine Terminal is (damn maritime jobs!), the mayoral candidates are barking about how important it is (hello maritime jobs!).

Carl DeMaio, on KPBS, said categorically the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal should remain a cargo facility and he flat-out opposed Manchester and Lynch’s vision.

Yup, San Diego is having a real civic debate about the future of its waterfront.

But as our Liam Dillon notes, before anyone promises creating thousands of jobs at the cargo terminal (I’m looking at you, Bob Filner), they ought to take a good look at what it’s actually capable of.

“Behind the lofty campaign trail rhetoric is a more challenging reality,” Dillon writes. “San Diego’s port is tiny compared to the major hubs in Los Angeles and Long Beach, and any conceivable expansion wouldn’t change that.”

All That Talk About Incremental Convention Center Decisions Not Really Mattering Is Coming to an End. The City Council has for months been voting on tiny pieces of the giant puzzle that is the funding scheme for the $520 million Convention Center expansion.

Tired of the drip-drip-drip? It’s big vote time.

The council will decide Monday on the whole shebang. Our Liam Dillon has the big-picture details. Like: What’s it going to cost taxpayers? And what hurdles remain?

Poway Unified Borrowed Almost a Billion from Future Generations to Benefit People Today. As newspaper readers and cable news viewers across the country have learned, Poway taxpayers owe $1 billion in future decades so the local school district could borrow $105 million last year.

Except that’s not the whole picture. While the district says it’s borrowing $105 million, the actual total is $126 million. And that extra $21 million will cost almost $190 million alone.

Our Will Carless gave us the details about “the extraordinary tactics the district used in search of extra cash.”

Why’s there so much fuss? Carless answered nine important (and simple) questions about the whole story. It’s one of the best articulations I’ve read of why the district’s decision has attracted nationwide scrutiny. (And no, I’m not saying that just because I edited it.)

• If you’re a visual learner, we’ve put together two video explainers about Poway’s billion-dollar deal. We teamed up with NBC 7 San Diego to help you understand what’s happened. Watch them here.

I’ve Loved My Job. So much so that I’m willing to donate my last week’s paycheck to VOSD. On one condition: We want to raise $10,000 by Friday, Oct. 5, my last day. Need convincing? Read this, my best attempt to articulate why I’ve loved the job I’ve had the last six years, why VOSD’s work is essential to San Diego — and why we need your support. You can donate here.

Quick News Hits

Our top comments, this week on the “continuing debate over what the waterfront should look like in San Diego and the tourism industry’s role in it,” are here.

• The Los Angeles City Council unanimously cleared the way to build a downtown stadium there. It’s another sign of that city’s interest in drawing a football team there — and a potential destination for the Chargers.

Quote of the Week “I respect Carl. But I like beer.” — Mayor Jerry Sanders, endorsing his political rival, Carl DeMaio, to succeed him.

Rob Davis is a senior reporter at Voice of San Diego. You can contact him directly at rob.davis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0529.

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