The Starting Line — A Much Grander Vision for San Diego; Public Market Project Underway

San Francisco’s Ferry Building

At no cost to taxpayers!… Unlike other visions for San Diego (a football stadium and Convention Center expansion come to mind), Dale Steele and Catt White are making their plans for a City Public Market along the lines of Seattle’s Pike’s Place, San Francisco’s Ferry Building and Barcelona’s La Boqueria into a reality via crowd source funding on the internet’s KickStarter. As of July 2012, KickStarter has 4,048 projects funded and has raised a total of $241 million in start-up capital.

Both Steele and White are long time players on the San Diego market scene; White currently manages neighborhood farmers’ markets in Little Italy, North Park and Pacific Beach. They have already leased a 92,000 square foot property near Petco Park and are renovating more than two acres of warehouse space. Plans for the market include two days a week with farmers’ stalls, booths with local crafters and artists, music festivals, movie nights and quinceañeras, chef’s tasting events and art exhibits, along with the occasional Chaldean Festival, Chinese New Year’s parade, Filipino fiesta or charity fundraiser.

Barcelona’s La Boqueria

They are seeking support for contractors, sign fabricators, equipment purchases and planning department fees (that’s a big one) to keep the project moving at a brisk pace and let the weekly farmers’ markets open in later this month August. The San Diego Public Market is seeking to raise $92, 244 over the next two weeks (that’s a Kickstarter project limitation); they have already received more than $7,000 $11,000 $19,000 $23,000 $26,000 $37,000 $40,000 in pledges. The way that the pledge program works is that no pledges are collected (via Amazon payments) unless the project meets its stated goal.  For more information, go here.

DeMaio Discovers Education…. Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio was the only contender back in the primary season that didn’t have big plans for San Diego’s schools, which actually made sense, since local schools are governed and funded separately from the City.  All that changed yesterday as he appeared before the press with City Council President Tony Young and the University of San Diego’s Scott Himelstein, to trot out a two month old report from the USD’s Center for Education Policy and Law. The report breaks out educational achievement by City Council districts, an interesting approach to say the least, as the areas served San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) do not match up with the city limits or the council districts. District 8, for instance, doesn’t even contain a high school. The report says that students don’t perform as well if they are from lower socio-economic strata and have language challenges.

Scott Himelstein

The bottom line here is that DeMaio has hitched his political ambitions to USD’s Himelstein, who’s utilized local conservative monies to crusade against the SDUSD Trustees ever since he got booted a decade ago when that board replaced controversial school superintendent Alan Bersin. Yesterday’s media event announced a joint session of City Council and SDUSD’s trustees to be held September 18th.  Since this is not the first joint session between the two bodies, it’s worth considering that this upcoming session will be used by the DeMaio campaign and Himelstein in some fashion designed to further their political agendas. Critics of the USD administrator’s past efforts (including this columnist) have charged that his ultimate goal was to privatize San Diego’s public schools, a charge that he denies. We’ll have more coverage of this latest USD report and what DeMaio’s plans might be in the near future.

Tweet of the Day:

Lucas O’Connor ‏@lucasoconnor I’m old enough to remember the primary when @carldemaio thought City Hall had better things to do than try to take over SDUnified#sdmayor12

Peter’s campaign gets major boost… The LA Times reports that The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has included the challenger in the race for the 52nd House Seat in its ‘Red to Blue’ program. The former City Councilman is among three candidates in California and thirteen nationally that have been singled out for major support. The Red to Blue program helps candidates that show potential in GOP-held districts with fundraising, strategy and campaign organization.

If you don’t vote for Mitt Romney, we’ll raise our prices…  That’s the gist of what Papa John’s Pizza CEO John Schnatter is telling the food industry press. Schnatter, who is a close personal friend and high profile campaign donor of one Willard M. Romney, told  Pizza Marketplace magazine that “Obamacare” will result in a $0.11 to $0.14 price increase per pizza, or $0.15 to $0.20 cents per order.  The article also lists several other companies (all fast food) that claim they also are going to have to raise prices.  The fact that none of these operations currently charge higher prices in the state of Massachusetts, which has a state program virtually identical to the Affordable Care Act makes it pretty clear that this is nothing more than a coordinated effort that the Romney camp hopes will be the next big narrative.

Romney Watch:  Speaking of Romneycare… The GOP contender’s campaign finds itself under fire after spokeswomen Andrea Saul responded to a hard hitting TV ad (paid for by Priorities USA) that featured former steelworker, Joe Soptic, suggesting that Bain Capital/Romney might bear some responsibility for his wife’s cancer death several years ago. It should have been an open and shut case of pushing back against what the Romney campaign considered an unfair political inference; but in the process of refuting the campaign spot, Saul made the mistake of mentioning the individual mandate and other provisions in the Massachusetts health care law. Candidate Romney has pledged to repeal those same requirements for the nation as part of his attack on the Affordable Health Care Act.

It didn’t take long for the right-wingers in the GOP to go apoplectic over the health care plan that cannot be mentioned by candidate Romney.Red State:

Then the Romney campaign decided to sabotage itself with a mind numbingly bit of spin that may mark the day the Romney campaign died.

 Defending Romney and combating the ad, Romney spokesman Andrea Saul . . . let’s go to the quotes

 “To that point, if people had been in Massachusetts, under Governor Romney’s health care plan, they would have had health care,” Andrea Saul, Romney’s campaign press secretary, said during an appearance on Fox News. “There are a lot of people losing their jobs and losing their health care in President [Barack] Obama’s economy.”

 Conservatives have put aside their distrust of Romney on this issue in the name of beating Barack Obama. They thought he and his campaign team had gotten the message and the hints. Consider the scab picked, the wound opened, and the distrust trickling out again.

 About the only thing more stupid in terms of building bridges with the right would be to say something nice about fetal stem cell research.

 Start your watches for that one!

San Diego Free Press Mitt Watch Box

 Meanwhile, the Romney campaign released their own ad today that accuses President Barack Obama of waging a “war on religion.”

 “President Obama used his health care plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith,” says a narrator in the ad. “Mitt Romney believes that’s wrong.”

The campaign spot is referring to the President’s decision to direct religiously-affiliated employers — but not religious institutions themselves – to cover the cost of contraception in their health care plans at no charge to the employee.

The cost of DOD-supported ‘warfare millionaires’… The military-oriented Stars & Stripes has an article by Walter Pincus that raises serious questions about how the military services are able to shift monies around with little scrutiny from cancelled programs to pay for other projects that are outside Congressional scrutiny. Funding is redirected to pet projects rather returning it to the Treasury. Programs like food stamps and education outside the ‘national security’ rationalization are facing steep cuts, while contractors working on military hardware soak up “reprogrammed funds” to cover outrageous cost over-runs and even more outrageous executive pay scales, according to Pincus. He cites CEO Robert J. Stevens of Lockheed Martin as a prime example. Stevens has received on average about $20 million a year for the past five years as cost overruns of the F-35 fighter program have skyrocketed and has added additional millions to his personal wealth with (ultimately taxpayer supported) stock options. The column concludes: “If the Reagan years had their government-created welfare queens, this past decade has seen the enrichment of Pentagon-supported ‘warfare millionaires’.”

Feed yourself and your kids… North Park Main Street and San Diego Weekly Markets have come with a deal that helps you support local schools and eat healthy at the same time if you shop at the North Park Farmer’s Market. Their promotion will rebate 5% of the dollars you spend at the market to the NP school of your choice, year-round. Just ask the farmers and vendors for receipt tickets when you shop, then deposit them in your school’s bin at the Info Booth. Participating schools include Birney Elementary, McKinley School, North Park Christian School, Roosevelt Middle School, St. Patrick’s School, Albert Einstein Academies.

 Prop 37, Get involved: Tonight, 6:30pm,  a strategy meeting for talking about outreach and education in efforts to require mandatory labeling of GMOs via prop 37 on the November ballot – OB People’s Market at 4765 Voltaire Street. Meet in the small dining room upstairs – Email Sarah to RSVP:

On This Day:  In 1854 “Walden” was published by Henry David Thoreau. In 1945 the first network television broadcast occurred inWashington, DC. The program announced the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. In 1963 the TV program “Ready, Set!, Go!” premiered on the BBCin London. It was one of the UK’s first rock/pop music TV programs and is fondly remembered for its March 1964 show, featuring the Beatles.

Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmer’s Markets: Carmel Valley (Canyon Crest Academy 5951 Village Center Loop Road) 3:30 – 7:00 pm, Chula Vista(Downtown, Center St. & Third Ave.) 3 –7 pm, Linda Vista  (6900 Linda Vista Road Between Comstock & Ulric) 2 – 7 pm, North Park (CVSPharmacy parking lot 3151 University & 32nd St.) 3 – 7 pm, Oceanside Market & Faire (Pier View Way & Coast Hwy. 101) 9 am – 1 pm,Oceanside Sunset (Tremont & Pier View Way) 5 –9 pm, San Carlos (Pershing Middle School 8204 San Carlos Drive) 4 – 7 pm, SDSU Farmers’ Market (Campanile Walkway btw Hepner Hall & Love Library) 10 – 3 pm, University Town Center  (Genesee Ave. at UTC Westfield Shopping Plaza) 3 – 7 pm.

I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org    Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.


Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He's won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.
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  1. avatarDorothy Lee says

    A Public Market that is open daily, like Pike Place, would be wonderful. Pike Place has a wonderful, entertaining fresh-catch seafood market, located right near downtown. There is nothing similar anywhere in San Diego, which is almost unbelievable in a Pacific Ocean port city. Let’s make this happen, without the usual schemes that force property owners to pick up the development tab in some perverted, illegal way. Downtown San Diego Partnership: stay away from the project!


  1. […] A great article from San Diego Free Press. It's sad the UT and most of the local media hasn't picked up this story yet though I've emailed several local media people telling them about the project and giving them a link to the kickstarter video. So far none of them have responded or ran the story; maybe if more people email them about it they'll finally get off of their backsides and do their jobs by reporting this great local story. Until then at least there are a handful of independent local media sources which have covered this great local news story. The Starting Line […]

  2. […] Plans for the market include two days a week with farmers’ stalls, booths with local crafters and artists, music festivals, movie nights and quinceañeras, chef’s tasting events and art exhibits, along with the occasional Chaldean Festival, Chinese New Year’s parade, Filipino fiesta or charity fundraiser. The weekly farmers markets in the space will begin within a few weeks. The idea is to create a City Public Market along the lines of Seattle’s Pike’s Place, San Francisco’s Ferry Building or  Barcelona’s La Boqueria. […]