A New Wrinkle on the Chargers Stadium Story: Summer Olympics in LA?

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By Doug Porter

The city of Boston, Massachusetts bailed on its grand plans for hosting the 2024 Olympics yesterday and Los Angeles immediately became the next contender.

This development could be a game changer when it comes to the NFL’s thought processes on the future of the San Diego Chargers franchise.  An Olympic bid would provide additional impetus towards getting another venue built in LA.

The United State Olympic Committee has until September to figure out an alternative location. The chatter in the press is that the best option remaining is Los Angeles, host to the 1932 and 1984 games. LA’s proposed a bid centered on several clusters of venues including Exposition Park, Downtown, one along the LA River, the Westside, Long Beach, and –ta! da! –Carson.   [Read more…]

Frack Yeah! Checking Out the New Union-Tribune

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By Doug Porter

Six weeks ago the publisher of the Los Angeles Times closed the deal on buying U-T San Diego for $85 million. It’s time for a quick progress report on the state of San Diego’s daily newspaper.

Now it’s been re-christened as the Union-Tribune, the printing was outsourced and about a third of the staff is gone. The paper’s web site has been spiffed up and actual reporting not influenced by the owner’s agenda appears to be taking place.

Most of all, what I perceived as the aura of shame is gone. Outbursts of pride in the product have been observed recently. For better or worse, they’re being the best newspaper they know how. Those who thought the newspaper would somehow be transformed into either Daily Worker or Breitbart News Network will continue to be disappointed. This is still San Diego and the sale of one media outlet will not change the political and economic realities of this city.   [Read more…]

Chinese Stock Market Crash Could Impact California Real Estate

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By Doug Porter

It seems like we’re rushing from one crisis to the next these days on the world’s economic stage. Puerto Rico is flailing, Greece is on the brink and now the Chinese stock market is tanking. The first two are relatively minor in terms of their actual economic impact worldwide, the situation in Asia poses a threat to real estate markets, especially in California.

In just over three weeks Chinese investors have seen $3 trillion (that’s with a “T”) in equity vanish, despite increasingly desperate measures by the government.  That is six times Greece’s entire foreign debt, or 11 years of Greece’s economic output, according to the New York Times.

Hundreds of companies have halted trading, more credit has been made available and the state pension fund’s assets are being tapped, all to no avail. Much of the Chinese market boom has been fueled by stock purchases made on credit. Now that those stocks are worth less than what was paid for them, it’s reasonable to assume investors will be forced to sell off real estate assets to pay off the loans. And they’ve been buying in California in a big way.   [Read more…]

Remembering a Track Star’s Granddad

Thomas, Carl & Me

By Ernie McCray

I’ve been thinking about an old departed friend. My best friend. Thomas Ross. Loved the dude although we were dissimilar in some ways. He was stocky and bear-like strong and prone to growl every now and then and I was sinewy and laid back, trying to live life with a grin.

Anyway, he’s been on my mind because his son, Ron, keeps me posted on his grandson, Tavian, who’s got college track coaches salivating to beat the band because the dude recently ran the 400 in forty-seven-point-six seconds (47.60).

Thomas would say to that: “The dude can step, Jack!” He  would be so proud of his progeny. Especially since he’s doing his thing for Tucson High, our old high school.  And, we were pretty decent jocks too. Football. Basketball. All-State and all. Living the life, strutting down the hall, wearing the big red “T.” “Badgers” to the bone!   [Read more…]

Donna Frye Calls for “Massive River Park” at Qualcomm Stadium Site

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By Frank Gormlie / The OB Rag

Donna Frye is trying to upset the apple cart that surrounds all the discussion about the Chargers and the Qualcomm football stadium site. On Monday, June 22nd she called for “a massive river park” at the 166-acre Mission Valley site.

In an Op-Ed piece in Voice of San Diego, Donna Frye—former City Councilwoman for the district that includes Mission Valley—called for something akin to another Balboa Park or Mission Bay Park.

In her piece, Frye dismissed the discussion about whether the Chargers want the current site and all the discussion about commercial and residential development of it, instead declared that it actually is “a big opportunity staring us right in the face—the potential to create a real San Diego River Park.”   [Read more…]

Mayor Looks to the NFL in Chargers Stadium Dilemma

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By Doug Porter

The chickens are coming home to roost for San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, whose PR-centric program aimed at resolving the local football team’s quest for a new facility has been called out by Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani.

Calling the city’s latest plans “misguided” and “doomed,” Fabiani made the rounds of the local media yesterday, making it clear that there was nothing left to negotiate.

The mayor’s surrogates have also been active, assuring people that the city did have a viable course for getting to a new stadium and suggesting that Mr. Fabiani was the real problem.   [Read more…]

A Blow to the Contract Labor Economy: California Says Uber Drivers Are Employees

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By Doug Porter

A claim filed by a San Francisco woman against the ride-hailing service Uber has led to a determination by the California Labor Commission that drivers for the company are employees rather than independent contractors.

The decision could be a major blow to what economists are calling the “1099 economy,” a business model wherein companies rely on armies of low-cost independent contractors, setting the terms and conditions for employment without having to absorb costs like social security, health care and workman’s compensation.

The California Labor Commissioner said they’d determined Uber to be “involved in every aspect of the operation,” meaning that it’s more than just an app handling logistics. The driver who filed the complaint was awarded $4,000 in expenses.   [Read more…]

Will City of San Diego Make Dubious Move to Get Blanket CEQA Exemption for Mission Valley Stadium?

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Is the City of San Diego about to go for a blanket CEQA exemption for the Mission Valley stadium?

Dan McLellan thinks so. He used to sit on the San Diego Stadium Coalition, was its vice-president for awhile and is a longtime ardent Chargers fan. He departed the group so he could speak out more aggressively, he told us.

McLellan thinks that all evidence points to the city attempting – what he terms “the legally dubious move”- of getting a blanket CEQA exemption in order to advance any proposed stadium project to a December 15th vote – which has been proposed by Mayor Faulconer just recently.   [Read more…]

San Diego’s Sour Mash of Politics

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By Doug Porter

So much stupidity, so little time.  Here’s what’s clogged up my inbox while I was on vacation:

San Diego’s Board of Supervisors will consider regulating free speech, a third person has come forward to complain about Dave Roberts, and Escondido Mayor Sam Abed actually thinks he can run a campaign for the third district seat stressing integrity. (Cue audience laughter)

SeaWorld supporters have slithered into the red baiting realm, the Chargers continue to play the mayor like a finely tuned violin and a local non-profit news outfit is apparently flouting the same state law it has accused attorney Cory Briggs of violating.   [Read more…]

The Perfect Primer on FIFA Corruption for the Non-sports Fan

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By Adam Johnson / Alternet

On Wednesday, the US Department of Justice, in concert with the US Internal Revenue Service, issued a blistering 47-count indictment against fourteen FIFA officials including nine high-ranking vice presidents. Charges included money laundering, fraud, and international racketeering that date back decades and, according to the DOJ, implicates dozens more.   [Read more…]

What’s Next for San Diego’s Union-Tribune?

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Today is the day when the reality of the Tribune Company’s acquisition of San Diego’s daily newspaper will become apparent for many who work there. The rest of us are going to have to wait for a while to see how things shake out.

According to Don Bauder at the Reader, people working in the printing and business divisions of the Union-Tribune will learn about the parent company’s plans for layoffs. Much of the work–including printing– currently performed at the company’s Mission Valley location will be folded into Los Angeles Times facilities.   [Read more…]

Activists Demand a Stand from Congressman Scott Peters as Trade Vote Nears

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The political struggle over allowing the president fast track authority in negotiating a Pacific Rim trade deal is coming to a head.

A coalition of labor, environment, faith and community groups converged on the offices of Congressman Scott Peters yesterday, vowing not to leave until he committed to a position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The occupation/sit-in ended Thursday evening after the group received word via the labor council’s Richard Barrera that the Congressman had agreed to face-to-face meeting to further discuss his position on the issue. (Don’t hold your breath.)   [Read more…]

A Disastrous Oil Pipeline Break in Santa Barbara

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While clean up crews in protective suits are removing oil from a nine mile stretch of coastline in Santa Barbara County, investigators are assessing the impact and causes of a ruptured pipeline owned by Plains Pipeline. The company failed to shut down the flow of oil for more than three hours after local beach-goers reported the leak, according to a spokesperson with the National Resources Defense Council.

Current estimates say 105,000 gallons may have leaked out, with 21,000 gallons reaching the sea. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County. Federal, state and local officials are looking at both civil liabilities and criminal infractions.   [Read more…]

Reactions to the Chargers Stadium Deal

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Little green men from Mars could have seized city hall yesterday and I doubt anybody would have noticed.

The Mayor’s stadium advisory group presented its vision for building a facility worthy of consideration by the National Football League and its San Diego Chargers franchise. And that was the talk of the town.

However, there was other news… …and I’ll get to that first.   [Read more…]

Chargers Stadium Deal May Be Dead on Arrival

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The press conference staged by Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG) hadn’t even happened yet when one well-connected reporter took to the twitter, saying the National Football League wasn’t going to be receptive to their ideas.

Early Monday morning news accounts were all about how the group had arrived at a plan for a new football stadium in San Diego with no tax increase required.

Interestingly enough, the announcement did not include any elected officials. Former Mayor Jerry Sanders was the highest profile person listed on the press release.   [Read more…]

Gloria Works to Get the Bugs Out of San Diego’s Referendum Process

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As the San Diego City Council contemplates whether or not to put the future of the One Paseo development on the ballot, City Councilman Todd Gloria is seeking to reform the referendum petition process that brought them to this point.

The current dilemma over the mixed use development proposal in Carmel Valley represents the fifth time council actions have been blocked by referendum petition drives over the past eighteen months.

None of the changes proposed by Gloria at this time require affirmation by voters, but they do require councilmembers to take actions that will make the local political consultant types unhappy. First and foremost among that “low hanging fruit” would be a requirement that petitions include information about who’s paying for the effort.   [Read more…]

Dark Clouds on San Diego’s Horizon

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Developments over the past few days bode poorly for San Diego’s image and civic pride.

One of the main tourist attractions, the football team, the successor to the downtown development agency and the home for Comic Con are all in turmoil.

Controversies have arisen concerning the lone Democrat on the Board of Supervisors and the sheriff’s department is being investigated for civil rights violations arising out of  the arrest of a mentally handicapped man.

So many stories, so little time to tell them all…   [Read more…]

The Community vs Cops Conundrum

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Today’s column includes coverage of proposed legislation in the wake of increasing concerns about police practices, another look at an SDPD officer-involved shooting, examples of the race/class divisions in prosecutions, some baseball news, and dispatches from the climate change denier front….

Multiple controversies about the use of deadly force by law enforcement agencies are prompting calls for reform.

Since the first of the year, 396 people have been killed by police in the United States. The officer involved fatalities include two would-be terrorists who attacked a right wing “draw a picture of Mohammad” contest in Texas over the weekend.

By way of contrast, there have been 38 line-of-duty deaths of law enforcement officers in 2015.   [Read more…]

Manufacturing Consent for a New Stadium in San Diego

By Doug Porter

Two months ago prospects for building a new football stadium were waning. The thinking was that San Diego had done too little, too late to accommodate the demands of the Chargers for a new facility. The football team, it seemed, was ready to head north for a more obliging locale.

Now, thanks to a blizzard of press releases and the timely release of a think tank study, the tide may be turning. Today we’ll take a look at those developments and the role they may play in shaping public opinion.

Back on February 2nd a certain columnist (me) noted  “The only thing more likely to be declared dead on arrival than any plan coming out of the newly ensconced Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group for San Diego is the budget proposal the President is sending to the Republican-controlled congress.”   [Read more…]

“100 Things” on My Mind

By Ernie McCray

I just finished a very pleasant read, “100 Things Arizona Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die,” a book written by two of the best sports writers around, Steve Rivera and Anthony Gimino.

They write a lot about Arizona Basketball History and having played a role in that history, and having been around it all my life, the book couldn’t help but resonate with me in special ways.

In a chapter about University of Arizona traditions I found the words to a fight song that’s flowed through my veins and bones ever since I first heard it as a 14 year old, back in 1952:

Bear Down, Arizona
Bear Down, Red and Blue
Bear Down, Arizona
Hit ’em hard, let ’em know who’s who
Bear Down, Arizona
Bear Down, Red and Blue
Go, go Wildcats, go
Arizona Bear Down

  [Read more…]

San Diego’s Family Jewels Losing Their Luster

By Doug Porter

It’s been a bad week for cherished institutions in America’s Finest City. Our blessed football team, our world famous zoo, our info-tainment water park, and the mayor’s Hope Diamond of re-development all find themselves in trouble of one sort or another.

You might even say business as usual is getting unusual for San Diego. While a few instances of bad news do not constitute an omen of fundamental change, there’s reasons to believe we have not seen the end of these wannabe sordid sagas.

Then there are the shenanigans taking place in the electoral arena. Jacquie Atkinson is challenging Rep. Scott Peters. Supervisor Dave Roberts is in some kind of trouble. And those pesky House Republicans are after funding studying climate change, Again.   [Read more…]

Baseball is Not a Metaphor

By Jim Miller

Baseball season is here again and with it comes one of the last times in my only son’s fleeting childhood that I have the opportunity to help coach his team. This brings much joy and more suffering because, as we all know, most of the game involves failure.

When you watch young people pitch, they throw balls more often than not. And when they try to hit, they strike out a lot. It’s a house of pain.

So you spend a great deal of your time telling them to keep their heads up and to stay in it. Indeed, the game is hard enough that, for lots of our young people bent on more immediate gratification, the patience and work it takes to get better is too much for them.   [Read more…]

Bonnie’s Law: San Diego District Attorney Makes Up the Rules

By Doug Porter

In recent weeks there have been stories published nationwide about the San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ prosecution of people alleged to be gang members–not linked to any crime–for exercising their First Amendment rights; things like posting on Facebook and recording rap songs.

There was a paragraph here claiming the County DA’s office was refusing to process petitions for re-sentencing under the provisions of Proposition 47, which reduced penalties for drug possession and other minor offenses.  We have since learned that the source for this assertion was, at best, exaggerating. Since nothing ever truly goes away on the internet, we’ve left the headline up and hope to correct any false impressions that had been made…. back to the rest of the story

And just make sure her “message” gets out, the District Attorney has unveiled a public information website competing with San Diego County’s News Center which, according to a story at City Beat, operates with a $3.1-million annual budget and 11 full-time communications officers.   [Read more…]

Pot Wars: Congress Moves to Enable Medical Marijuana, Local Dispensaries Fight to Open

By Doug Porter

After years of quibbling, San Diego finally got around to enacting regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries last year. The first such entity to clear those legal hoops is slated to open in Otay Mesa this month.

Other licenses under consideration are being stalled by appeals based on environmental regulations filed by would-be competitors. And one location scheduled for a hearing this week is facing an appeal based on the statement “Latinos don’t support this” coming from the San Ysidro Community Planning Group.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC a bi-partisan group of Senators are introducing legislation today that would amount to federal recognition of marijuana used for medical purposes.   [Read more…]