The Last Refuge of Sore Losers: UT-San Diego Proposes Splitting California in Two

startinglinelogoBy Doug Porter

The editorial board at UT-San Diego finally crossed the line from delusional to just flat out insane this weekend.  After reading Sunday’s paper a rational human being might even be open to arguments suggesting that the satirical Onion website has surreptitiously taken over our Daily Fishwrap.  But this weekend’s fare wasn’t funny…

Our city has many pressing issues, as the many debates leading up the special mayor election prove beyond a doubt.  Now UT-SD is trying to frame the upcoming runoff in the context of our city’s desperate need for a new football stadium, saying they’ll step in from Day One to pressure our next mayor to “get it done”.

Forget those potholes, declining city services or neighborhood empowerment; a sports venue tops all those needs.

If that singularity of bad policy wasn’t enough, they’ve also come out full bore for secession. California, they reason, needs to be split in two to save us from the evils of the nanny state and excessive taxation. They’ve even published a wish list of conservative wet dreams they’d like to see included in a new constitution.

How’d We Get Here?

Just over two years ago real estate developer Doug Manchester bought San Diego’s daily newspaper, then known as the Union-Tribune, paying more than twice the price it’d gone for in a fire sale to Platinum Equity just two years earlier.

There was lively debate around town as to what his motives were; one school of thought, espoused by Reader Columnist Don Bauder had “Papa Doug”, as he likes to call himself, buying the newspaper primarily for its real estate.

Others bought into the line being pushed by Manchester’s new business partner and CEO John Lynch, who told the Los Angeles Times the purchase was a prelude towards building a new kind of integrated media company. LAT Bureau Chief Tony Perry was quoted in a Voice of San Diego article, tagging Manchester as “a minor league Donald Trump.”

I thought the move was purely political. Manchester’s business acumen might allow him to leverage the real estate and manipulate the bookkeeping to keep the paper afloat, but his right wing politics were the real motivation.

The (Imaginary) Line of Demarcation

sdfp-UT-SD-logo-goldCirculation has sagged, something the organization has tried to paper over by folding the disappearance of the North County Times into the mother ship’s numbers.  The oft promised online renaissance brought about by “synergies” has failed miserably, with blind links, weak content and search functions so bad they’d do the Obamacare website proud, all hidden behind a leaky paywall.

It didn’t take six months from the date of purchase to prove my suspicious true:

New York Times media reporter/columnist David Carr has penned a largely critical review of “Papa Doug” Manchester’s media machinations since his purchase last year of the Union-Trib. The article starts out talking about the “growing worry” that the sickly state of dead tree journalism could create circumstances that would allow moneyed interests to take over newspapers and use their perceived integrity to “prosecute a political and commercial agenda.”

Carr goes on to assert that San Diego is Exhibit A for that fear since last year when Manchester purchased the paper, saying that nowadays the UT-SD “often seems like a brochure for his various interests.” He goes on to cite several examples where the Daily Fishwrap has transcended reportage and ridden roughshod over miscreants perceived to have gotten in the way of Papa Doug’s agenda. Chief executive John Lynch is quoted as saying “we make no apologies” for the paper’s activities and asserting that there is a “clear line of demarcation between our editorials and our news”.

Here’s that line of demarcation in action via Sunday’s “give us a stadium or else” editorial:

U-T San Diego ownership believes it is time, for the benefit of residents countywide, that a new multipurpose stadium be built in a private-public partnership.

The U-T Editorial Board in coming weeks will publish commentaries making the case for a new stadium. We will examine potential sites and the combination of facilities that should be built in conjunction with the stadium. We will also explain in broad terms how a stadium might be financed without breaking the backs of taxpayers.

Ultimately, of course, any stadium decision will be up to San Diego voters in what we hope will be a countywide proposition. But before then,San Diego’s new mayor must lead the way toward a specific plan. Whomever that mayor is can expect us to challenge him from Day One to work with the City Council, the business community, the Spanoses and the NFL, community groups and other stakeholders to get it done.

After 14 years, it is time for leadership — and decisive action.

sanders no crookThe “it is time for leadership” declaration could use a little context.  For that I’ll turn to Scott Lewis’ amazing VOSD article recounting the secret GOP meeting in La Jolla that eventually anointed Kevin Faulconer as the choice of local powerbrokers.

At the final meeting, on a couch in the front of the room with others behind him, Manchester, the developer-turned-newspaperman, made the case for DeMaio.

“We need a guy like him,” Manchester said, according to sources. “We haven’t had a damn good thing done in this city in the last 10 years.”

Behind him, in the group, [Former Mayor Jerry] Sanders stood up, angry.

“Wait a second. That’s bullshit. That’s fucking bullshit,” he said before describing a few of the city’s recent achievements.

“You’ll get your chance to speak,” Manchester replied. He pointed out a new football stadium hadn’t yet been built.

The article goes on to say Manchester apologized repeatedly.  This Sunday’s editorial reveals just how insincere those apologies were.

UT-San Diego CEO John Lynch and Papa Doug have convened a luncheon of the city’s movers and shakers for today to get things rolling. I wonder if Jerry Sanders, who’s presently heading the Chamber of Commerce, will be there?  From the Lynchester™ call to action email:

“We all know the need to preserve and protect San Diego from losing the Chargers, fix the pension system, and create incentives that will allow San Diego to reach its full potential and recover from what we have experienced over these past several years.  We also want to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving as we live in the greatest country in the world and with your help will continue to enjoy the finest City in the land.”

Our local newspaper publisher’s frustration must be growing daily.  Voters seem to ignore his front page pleas.  His influence is declining, despite his bravado, despite the glitzy fundraisers and despite his constant warnings about the encroaching nanny-state.

Maybe they’re decided it’s time for a Hail Mary; because that’s about the only logic I can think of behind the next part of today’s column.

Down the Rabbit Hole into Manchesterland…

Via Frosty Shadows at

Via Frosty Shadows at

Secession has always been the last refuge of sore losers in American politics. A contingent of liberals who mumbled the “S” word after GW Bush won the 2004 elections; and the War Between the States are two examples that come to mind.

Historically speaking nothing compares to the cry and hue for disassociation erupting after the election of a Black President in 2008. [Not that there’s a racial connection here] Since the fateful inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama traditional secessionist movements have yielded way to wannabe uprisings in all 50 states.

Papa Doug’s idea differs from many of them in that he’s not asking to leave the country; he just wants to split its biggest economic engine in two.

From his Sunday sermon:

It may not be necessary to destroy California in order to fix it. But it may be necessary to cut it in two, carving out a 51st state of New California where taxes are low, regulations are few and where politicians are not the lap dogs of the public-employee labor unions.


Since California became a state — part of the Compromise of 1850 that blocked the spread of slavery to the West Coast — there have been more than 220 recorded proposals to split it into two, three or even four separate states. Most of those efforts were nothing more than symbolic acts of protest. But a handful or so were deemed serious proposals, though none have gone so far as to be approved by both houses of the Legislature and sent to Congress.

In 2011, Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone proposed that 13 counties, mostly inland but including San Diego and Orange counties, break off to form the state of South California. Leaders in the Capitol dismissed it out of hand, with an aide to Gov. Jerry Brown calling it “a supremely ridiculous waste of everybody’s time.” Stone’s office says the effort is still alive, with a committee studying the many issues involved.

I could go on for days about the disconnect from reality at play here, but my Mama told me never to feed the trolls, so I’ll restrain myself.  (bwahahahahahaha)…On to some other news…

‘No Fly Lists’ Get Their Day in Court

no flyThe New York Times says today’s a big day for the hundreds of thousands of Humans who made the government’s lists of Bad People. According one expert quoted in the article, all that needs to happen is for the paperwork to be filled out correctly. And getting off those lists is difficult because, if they told you why you were on, they’d have to kill you. You understand, right?

One irate person fought back.  Eight years later, they are about to get a hearing.

GOVERNMENTS wade into treacherous waters when they compile lists of people who might cause their countries harm. As fears about Japanese-Americans and Communists have demonstrated in the past, predictions about individual behavior are often inaccurate, the motivations for list-making aren’t always noble and concerns about threats are frequently overblown.

So it might seem that current efforts to identify and track potential terrorists would be approached with caution. Yet the federal government’s main terrorist watch list has grown to at least 700,000 people, with little scrutiny over how the determinations are made or the impact on those marked with the terrorist label.

For people who have landed on these lists, the terrorist designation has been difficult to challenge legally — although that may be about to change. On Monday, a lawsuit brought by a traveler seeking removal of her name from the no-fly list, or at least due process to challenge that list, is going to trial in Federal District Court in San Francisco, after almost eight years of legal wrangling.

Tweet of the Day: Racism is Dead! (Really!)

Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism.

— RNC (@GOP) December 1, 2013

December 1st was, after all, the 58th anniversary of the day Rosa Parks decided her feet were tired. Later in the day, the GOP did update their tweet:Previous tweet should have read “Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in fighting to end racism.”

Video: What You Missed at Walmart This Weekend

PS The shopping in North Park and South Park was superb.  Everybody was so friendly! When’s the last time you were offered a mimosa or hot cider as you walked into a store?

How the Chargers Got Their Name

A blast from the San Diego Free Press past, via a 1992 Neal Matthews article on the underground press in the SD Reader:

An early-1969, two-part series on the construction of San Diego Stadium offers the original meaning behind the San Diego Chargers’ name. Barron Hilton was the owner of the team , which was based in Los Angeles at the time. Hilton also headed the Carte Blanche credit card company. Apparently he “decided to call his team the…Chargers in honor of his stimulating business.”

Best Response to Amazon’s Prime Drone Delivery Plan


Check Out the SDFree Press Calendar

Thanks to the efforts of Brent Beltran, the San Diego Free Press now has an on-line calendar of events. You can see events in the arts, performances and political gatherings of every persuasion by clicking on the ‘Calendar’ Tab at the top of the page. To get your event listed, drop us a line:

On This Day1823 – President James Monroe outlined his doctrine opposing European expansion in the Western Hemisphere. 1954 – The U.S. Senate voted to condemn Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy for what it called “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.” The censure was related to McCarthy’s controversial investigation of suspected communists in the U.S. government, military and civilian society.  1973 – The Who and some companions were jailed overnight for $6,000 worth of destruction they imposed on a hotel room after a show.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!

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. AND ! You can now follow SDFP on Instagram.


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.
Subscribe to "The Starting Line" and get an email every time a new article is posted!


  1. avatarmichael-leonard says

    Actually, I think splitting CA into two states makes a great deal of sense. After all, besides pot what does SD have in common with Eurika (for example)? Smaller political areas are simply easier to administer; it’s been true from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Empire. Too bad the idea seems to always get conflicted with temporal politics.

  2. avatar says

    When I saw that editorial on Sunday, my first thought was, “What are they talking about? The U-T already seceded from California!”

    Seriously, though, that kind of talk won’t help San Diego’s position as it seeks a more reliable supply of northern California water.

  3. avatarthoughtfulbear says

    So, what do San Diego and Eureka have in common? Answer: California. The Bear Flag flutters over coast redwoods and beach palms alike. (And lakes and rivers, mountains and valleys, deserts and volcanos…) Besides, isn’t Eureka our state motto – “I have found it!” ?

    And, whatever did become of the State of Jefferson?

    True, various notions about divvying up the Golden State have been floating around for a very long time – be it north-south, or even east-west – and the recent political-boilover climate has only exascerbated (sic) those notions.

    Ultimately, though, it’s all just a pile of so much iron pyrite – California is not going anywhere. Not even via the San Andreas Fault!

    • avatarmichael-leonard says

      It’s like saying you and I have in common … AIR! Whoo-hoo.
      And the state motto is just as much a PR slogan as San Diego’s. Then, it was gold they had found. Now, as George J writes, it’s the liquid gold of water that will be San Dieog’s next holy grail.
      Of course you are right, practically speaking. But it’s nice to speculate.

  4. avatarLowell says

    New stadium? Can’t fill Q now. San Diego just had first TV blackout anywhere in entire NFL season for lack of timely sellout.

    Splitting California in two? After election we will probably hear about splitting San Diego in two.

  5. avatar says

    We should fight the idea of a new stadium funded by a “private public partnership.” Those are the key words for being funding by taxpayers. If private interests want to build a new stadium, so be it. Taxpayers should not be put in the position of shelling out one cent.

    • avatarBrent Beltran says

      I totally agree. New stadiums for rich owners of sports teams have no benefit to the average taxpayer. They’re a total waste of public funds. Let them build their own stadium or go to some other gullible city willing to waste their funds. San Diego has too many needs.

    • avatarMark Bauman says

      Exactly right. The owner’s want a new venue at our expense only because it raises the value of their franchise.