Thumbnail image for The Banana Republic of San Diego: Quest for a New Football Stadium and Lower Wages

The Banana Republic of San Diego: Quest for a New Football Stadium and Lower Wages

by Doug Porter 04.21.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Another week has passed and UT-San Diego has published yet another article telling us what to expect in the coming months as our local plutocrats hammer out plans for a new gladiator arena, er, football stadium.

Past failures to achieve a consensus were brushed aside by Chargers special counsel Mark Fabian in this weeks fish wrap, attributed to “the kind of political instability that is more typical of a banana republic than of a major American city”. I’m sure former Mayor Jerry Sanders (2005-2012) is thrilled by that characterization.

This week we learn of a Joint Powers Authority (Think SANDAG, or the Airport Commission), with a “working scernario” envisioning a county-wide 2016 ballot measure tapping local treasuries for the expected “taxpayer contribution common in the construction costs of every new National Football League stadium in recent years.”

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Thumbnail image for Build Us a Stadium or We’ll Shoot This Puppy – Here Comes the Chargers ‘Deal’

Build Us a Stadium or We’ll Shoot This Puppy – Here Comes the Chargers ‘Deal’

by Doug Porter 04.14.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

He doesn’t speak for anyone, UT-San Diego sports columnist Kevin Acee says, and he won’t be heard by anyone. Thus, his page-one-worthy column about the likely scenario for a new football stadium ended up on page D-4 in Sunday’s paper.

The story was actually posted on Friday afternoon online, and its significance becomes apparent when you realize that nearly 150 people had posted comments before the dead tree edition hit the streets.

The Chargers stadium scenario story is supposed to be nothing more than informed speculation, of course. Except that (I’d bet) it’s not. Call it a trial balloon, floated in the wake of a ‘preliminary’ meeting between team representatives and the mayor’s minions last Wednesday.

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Thumbnail image for March Madness Bringing out “The Thinker” in Me

March Madness Bringing out “The Thinker” in Me

by Ernie McCray 04.01.2014 Culture

Go Aztecs! Bear Down, Arizona!

By Ernie McCray

My highlight of the 2014 March Madness Tournament was the Arizona Wildcat win over the San Diego State Aztecs in the Sweet 16. What a great game.

It was, however, a bittersweet win for me because, although I used to play for the U of A and the school is in Tucson, the town in which I made my debut as a homosapien, the Aztecs are my team too as San Diego is the town I came to when I decided that my “running around looking for shade trees” days were through. So my rejoicing after the game was somewhat tame. But I did do a little jig. For about an hour.

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Zen and the Art of Baseball

by Jim Miller 03.31.2014 Editor's Picks

It’s spring and opening week is here and that makes me very happy. Baseball helps me live. It’s perhaps the best American manifestation of the kind of daily ritual that enables us to achieve a small portion of the balance and harmony we need to provide ballast against the chaos of the world. Whether it’s playing the game or simply contemplating it, baseball provides one with precisely the kind of focused yet purposeless activity that can take you out to the ballgame and into the heart of the moment.

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Thumbnail image for Balboa Park Celebration Leadership Snubs City Council Hearing

Balboa Park Celebration Leadership Snubs City Council Hearing

by Doug Porter 03.26.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

The outrageous conduct by the leadership for the Balboa Park Celebration, Inc. continues.

After blowing through nearly $3 million during the past three years with nothing to show for it, BPCI co-chair Nikki Clay and transition director Gerry Braun have told the City Council’s Environment Committee that they’ll be unavailable for a hearing today.

Committee chair David Alvarez is looking for answers, requesting a report be provided regarding the soon-to-be-defunct group’s activities and along with an explanation for the $13,000-a-month salary being paid to Braun while he winds things down.

UPDATE: Braun did appear, after all. According to one observer:

He was grilled by Marti Emerald for a delightfully painful 20-25 minutes. He stayed on message and script as best he could, but he had no answers to the good questions. 

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Thumbnail image for My Hometown as a Basketball Town

My Hometown as a Basketball Town

by Ernie McCray 03.18.2014 Columns

By Ernie McCray

I just finished a nice read, Tucson a Basketball Town. It was written by Arizona hoop legends, Bob Elliott and Eric Money.

They, in a nice informative way, remind Arizona basketball fans that before Lute Olson came along and took the program to somewhat unbelievable heights that there was an era, in the 70′s, their era, that Tucson became a basketball town.

They’re so right and the man who made it all happen from the coaching end was one of the most charismatic and self-confident human beings I have ever had the privilege of knowing: Fred “The Fox” Snowden, the first black coach for a major school in a major NCAA conference. He brought in players like Bob and Eric and others who collectively played basketball at a level that had never been seen in my hometown.

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Thumbnail image for Why I like the Big Red-Head (Bill Walton)

Why I like the Big Red-Head (Bill Walton)

by Ernie McCray 03.06.2014 Columns

By Ernie McCray

I remember one time, long ago, back in the day, hearing a guy say, about Bill Walton, “Aw, man, that dude can’t play no ball.” Hey, I don’t know what his definition of “playing ball” was but I had just, a few moments before, seen basketball played at a level or two above what you’d ordinarily see a teenage red-head high school kid do on a basketball court.

First of all he gangster slapped the notion of “white guys can’t jump.” I mean he blocked shots like he was in a badminton game, tapping a couple to himself and then he whipped outlet passes for the fast-break like the ball was on a laser beam; he drove the defense absolutely insane, pulling up for jump-shots, dropping floating hook-shots, setting screens and playing off screens, setting his teammates up for easy shots, and driving his big red-head self down the lane. I had never seen such dominance in a basketball game – and I could play the game.

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Thumbnail image for The Quest for a San Diego Summer Olympics in 2024

The Quest for a San Diego Summer Olympics in 2024

by Doug Porter 03.04.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

It’s easy to poke fun at the idea of San Diego putting together a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics in light of the failures of the leadership for the Balboa Park Centennial. It’s not so easy to figure what the actual benefit would be if such a bid succeeded. And, since there are people working hard to make it happen, it’s worth pondering.

The Balboa Park centennial group tried to build an event from the top down, jetting off to Panama and Mexico for marquis events while ignoring offers from the likes of the former CEO of Legoland. Now their $50 million event has been downsized to $2 million, much of which will seemingly be spent on executive compensation.

A Summer Olympics comes with the marquis events included. Local boosters are charged with presenting a plan building from the bottom up including venues, accommodations, security and logistics. “Build it and they will come” can be considered the mantra for such an event. While we should expect much to be made in the media about the dollars needed, the social and political costs will likely be glossed over.

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Thumbnail image for CycloFemme Inspires Worldwide Growth in Women’s Cycling

CycloFemme Inspires Worldwide Growth in Women’s Cycling

by Source 03.04.2014 Culture

An interview with founder Sarai Snyder

By Brigette Taylor / Suite Brigette

Through my events planning work in San Diego and on the east coast I have had the opportunity to witness greater inclusion of community voices in planning efforts around pedestrian and biking safety. I have noticed more women riding their bikes on the streets of San Diego as well as an increase in community members (including youths) participating in the planning process for more walkable and bikeable neighborhoods. The promotion of cycling and the creation of strategies for greater ease in riding on city streets appears to be paying off.

Women’s History Month offers a context in which the advancement of women in cycling can be recognized and celebrated. I had the opportunity to speak with Sarai Snyder, the founder of CycloFemme, which is a worldwide cycling movement whose mission honors the past, celebrates the present and empowers the future of women in cycling.

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Thumbnail image for Aztecs Fall to 13 in AP, Coaches Poll After UNM Loss.  Time to Panic Yet?

Aztecs Fall to 13 in AP, Coaches Poll After UNM Loss. Time to Panic Yet?

by Andy Cohen 02.25.2014 Sports

Yearlong offensive struggles have finally caught up.

By Andy Cohen

The San Diego State Aztecs plummeted from 6th in the AP poll and 7th in the Coaches poll to 13th in both yesterday after losing to New Mexico 58-44 in Albuquerque on Saturday night.  Perhaps “plummeted” is a bit much.  This isn’t the Aztec basketball apocalypse…..yet.

Let’s not take anything away from the Lobos here.  They are a very good team who just happens to be playing its best basketball of the entire season right now.  The Aztecs hit a buzzsaw at the wrong time.

But to say that the Aztecs have been in an offensive funk since the first quarter of the conference season would be a bit of an understatement.  This team has prided itself on its effort and effectiveness on the defensive end of the floor all year, and through the non-conference season they were able to do just enough offensively to power them through some very big games, most notably against then #20 Creighton (now ranked #9 in the AP poll) and at then #16/17 Kansas (now #5/6), who just secured their 10th straight conference title to go against only their ninth home loss that the Aztecs dealt them on Jan 5 during that same period.

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Thumbnail image for Bikes & Beers: Promoting Bike Friendly Neighborhoods and San Diego’s Craft Brews

Bikes & Beers: Promoting Bike Friendly Neighborhoods and San Diego’s Craft Brews

by Staff 02.24.2014 Activism

SDFP’s occasional contributor John P. Anderson has joined up with other enthusiasts to start what they hope will be an annual trek through our city’s bike-friendly neighborhoods combined with visits to craft brewers along the way.

They’ve dubbed it Bikes & Beers SD, plotting out a 26-mile bicycling course taking participants through many of San Diego’s most dynamic urban neighborhoods and to some of the region’s most beautiful natural sights. The inaugural event will take place Saturday, March 29th, starting at 9:30 am with following groups at 10, 10:30, and 11.

Starting and ending in North Park, the event course will go through Hillcrest, Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Downtown, East Village, Golden Hill, and South Park. Cyclists will enjoy vistas of the San Diego River, Pacific Ocean, San Diego Bay, Petco Park, and Balboa Park.

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Thumbnail image for A Whole New Ball Game: The Chargers MUST Draft Sam

A Whole New Ball Game: The Chargers MUST Draft Sam

by Bob Dorn 02.18.2014 Satire

By Tony Krvasse / UT-Norts Spews Columnist

Call me an old jock, if you want, but there’s no room in the NFL for homophobia. I’ve known lots of lineman who played around in the showers. After all, what are bare asses and wet towels for? Snap!

If you get that, then you’ll get this: the Chargers have got to draft Michael Sam.

Just in case you’ve been blacked out for the last few weeks I should let you know now that Michael Sam is the first major college top draft pick who’s declared himself open to man love. AND, he happens to be a great pass rusher, something the Chargers just can’t seem to do more than a few times a season.

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Thumbnail image for Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda… Faulconer Wins Big in San Diego Mayoral Contest

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda… Faulconer Wins Big in San Diego Mayoral Contest

by Doug Porter 02.12.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Local Democrats lost big at the polls last night, as City Councilman Kevin Faulconer cruised to an estimated nine point victory over David Alvarez in the final mayoral showdown.

The much vaunted ground game for the Alvarez campaign turned out to be a disappointment, as turnout  was lower than expected (the final numbers are dependent on 36,000 provisional votes). Mail in votes, as opposed to voting at polling places, which tend towards Republican candidates, were the deciding factor. Democratic party activist enthusiasm for their candidate clearly did not translate into the needed higher voter participation in traditionally supportive areas of the city.

It’s also true that the side with the nastiest attack ads won. The Lincoln club mailers attacking Alvarez’s character via gangster-esque photo-shopped images did a better job of motivating voters than labor’s portrayal of a smiling Kevin Faulconer as the tool of an amorphous set of downtown developers.

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Thumbnail image for NFL On Cusp of Having First Openly Gay Player

NFL On Cusp of Having First Openly Gay Player

by Andy Cohen 02.10.2014 Health

Draft prospect from Missouri will test the sports world’s readiness to join the rest of us in the 21st Century.

By Andy Cohen

By now you’ve probably heard that former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam came out to the national press yesterday as gay.  Sam is an NFL prospect—projected by some to be picked as high as the third round—hoping to earn a paycheck as a professional football player next Fall, and should he make an NFL roster, he will become the first openly gay player in any of the major pro sports in the United States (sorry, the MLS doesn’t count quite yet).

Sam’s draft stock will be the topic of conversation from now until the NFL season begins next September.  Attitudes are changing about the LGBT community; acceptance of LGBT people is now almost a given, something unthinkable 10 years ago.  Poll after poll show that by a large majority Americans now accept the rights of gays to marry, with 17 states having legalized gay marriage, the federal government having disavowed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and Attorney General Eric Holder having recently announced that the DOJ will fully recognize same sex couples, ensuring them the same rights as heterosexual couples.

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Thumbnail image for Rate Hikes for Solar Panel ‘Freeriders’ and Small Users Proposed, Courtesy of SDG&E, ALEC and the Koch Brothers

Rate Hikes for Solar Panel ‘Freeriders’ and Small Users Proposed, Courtesy of SDG&E, ALEC and the Koch Brothers

by Doug Porter 02.07.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

The business section of UT-San Diego leads today with an article informing us that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is considering a proposal advanced by SDG&E to shift the costs of producing electricity to “lower tier” users. The kilowatt-hours charges on the base allotment of electricity would jump by 24% come July 1st.

What that effectively means is a raise in rates for homeowners, small businesses and buildings equipped with solar panels. Current billing practices shift a higher percentage of costs to heavy users. Should the proposal before the CPUC gain approval, the paper says, “the largest home-electricity users would avoid a major bill hike, and could see some reductions.”

This raise in rates fits in rather neatly with a national strategy articulated by carbon-based energy corporations. Since California’s rates are not directly set by the legislature, utility companies are making proposals directly to the CPUC. In many states, like Arizona, these concepts are making their way through the legislature. The similarity of the substance of these schemes is hardly a coincidence.

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Thumbnail image for Wildcats Coach Sean Miller: A Dazzling Human Being

Wildcats Coach Sean Miller: A Dazzling Human Being

by Ernie McCray 02.06.2014 Columns

By Ernie McCray

I recently wrote about Steve Fisher, the coach of the San Diego State Aztec men’s basketball team, about how masterful a teacher he is. Now I’d like to share a few words about another virtuoso teacher, Sean Miller, who coaches the University of Arizona Wildcats.

I remember when he first popped up in my life. I was settling down in my easy chair, with a beer, perhaps, all relaxed (a talent of mine), waiting to hear Ed McMahon say “Here’s Johnny!” with that brassy introduction by Doc Severinsen and the mighty Tonight Show Band.  ”Hi-Yo!”

After a few jokes and the usual kidding around you expect on a talk show, this 14 year old kid comes out, sits down, and, as if this was just another day in the neighborhood, started talking about where he was from and how he had once made 50 free throws in a row and the next thing I know he was putting on a basketball skills show. He spun a basketball with blinding rotations on his fingers and bounced and/or juggled and dribbled between his legs what seemed like, in those moments, a crate of basketballs – like it was no big thing.

What a dazzling human being. What poise – in the midst of all the crowd noise.

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Thumbnail image for Thoughts About The Super Bowl – 2014

Thoughts About The Super Bowl – 2014

by Judi Curry 02.03.2014 Culture

By Judi Curry

Several years ago, as a new widow, I wrote an article about how lonesome it was to watch the Super Bowl without a companion to discuss it with.  I have made it a point from that time on to always be with friends when the biggest game of the season plays.  Today was no exception.

As the oldest of my group today, I was interested in the other  comments about the commercials and the Half-Time shows.  There was quite an age gap between us, and I was curious about their responses. As a group, there was total agreement that the game lacked excitement.

Since I was the only one that wanted the Seahawks to win, I found that I had to temper my enthusiasm when the Seahawks scored the safety; when the return man from Seattle ran the ball the length of the football field; when Denver fumbled and the Seahawks recovered – how many times was that? – you get the picture.

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Thumbnail image for Chicano Park is One of San Diego’s Best, Unofficial Skate Parks

Chicano Park is One of San Diego’s Best, Unofficial Skate Parks

by Brent E. Beltrán 02.02.2014 Columns

Skaters from all over come to Barrio Logan to battle for tricks

By Brent E. Beltrán

Everyday from my apartment in Barrio Logan I can hear the clack clacking of skateboards slamming on concrete. It’s a cacophony of sound that blends in with the ubiquitous noise of industry and barrio life.

Some community members may not appreciate seeing skaters riding and doing tricks with what seems like reckless abandon amongst the murals of Chicano Park. I’m not one of them.

To me, Chicano Park is a space for all. Be it the homeless that need a place to kick it during the day, children that enjoy using the playground facilities, families on a weekend picnic, activists pushing for social justice and skaters doing rail slides on massive planters that surround the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge pillars across from Northgate Market.

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Thumbnail image for Half of Americans Believe God Will Decide the Superbowl Winner

Half of Americans Believe God Will Decide the Superbowl Winner

by Source 02.02.2014 Sports

It’s a historical fact Jesus didn’t know what the NFL and America is, so enjoy the Super Bowl for what it is: highly paid, steroid filled, super-human athletes colliding at high-speed with no regard for their life expectancy.

By CJ Werleman / AlterNet

A new study conducted by the Public Research Institute found that 50 percent of Americans think God will determine the winner of Sunday’s Super Bowl.

The NFL and Jesus have become practically synonymous in this country. Teams hold prayer circles before, during, and after games. The NFL is among the most fervently religious sectors of American life. On any given Sunday you’ll hear players claiming, “God was with me today” or “I give thanks to God for our victory.” Prayer and praise of the Lord Almighty is not confined to the game’s participants, either. PRRI found that more than 25% of Americans pray to God specifically to help their team.

It’d be easier to digest the fact half of the country believed a supernatural force was the puppeteer behind a football game if more than half of the country could name their congressmember, the country America declared its independence from, more than two Constitutional Amendments, and the location of the two countries we have been at war with during the previous decade on a map. It’s when you couple the nation’s third world level hyper-religiosity with pandemic anti-intellectualism that many free thinkers suffer heartburn.

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Thumbnail image for Superbowl 420, A Big Hit with Bud Fans Everywhere

Superbowl 420, A Big Hit with Bud Fans Everywhere

by Doug Porter 01.20.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

A gaggle of overgrown men in body armor chasing an inflated pigskin up and down a grass field in New Jersey named after an insurance company in the dead of winter just took on a whole new level of symbolism.

The Seattle Seahawks came from behind in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday’s NFC championship game, joining the Denver Broncos, who defeated the New England Patriots in the earlier AFC championship game, in heading to the Super Bowl.

Both teams are from states,Washington and Colorado, that legalized marijuana at the ballot box in 2012. Given that it’s a holiday and otherwise slow news day, today’s column will begin by talking about the latest developments in weedworld, er…stonerland…, er, marijuana legalization.

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Thumbnail image for Steve Fisher, SDSU’s Master Educator (And Basketball Coach)

Steve Fisher, SDSU’s Master Educator (And Basketball Coach)

by Ernie McCray 01.10.2014 Columns

By Ernie McCray

When San Diego State’s men’s gifted basketball players showed up at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas and rose from the 21st rated team to number 13 after destroying the Jayhawks’ dream of stretching a 68 game winning streak against non-Big Ten teams to 69 – I couldn’t help but think, at the time, of how lucky those young athletes are in having Steve Fisher as their guide on this wonderful ride.

The man is clearly a wonderful coach, a master teacher if there ever was one. He knows how to connect with folks who are counting on him for guidance.

I know. I’m an educator by nature, in a way. I decided on teaching after my very first day in kindergarten (as much as a five year old can consider such a thing), thinking that there must be a better way to teach somebody than taking a yardstick and whacking their knuckles to Maricopa County.

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Thumbnail image for The Freezer Bowl:  Recollections From the Coldest Game in NFL History

The Freezer Bowl: Recollections From the Coldest Game in NFL History

by Andy Cohen 01.05.2014 Sports

Like their 1981 counterparts, the Chargers head to Cincinnati and the cold weather to take on the Bengals. Will history repeat itself?

By Andy Cohen

It’s been a bizarre season for the San Diego Chargers. The 2013 iteration of this team has been a near complete enigma, at times appearing completely hapless, at other times playing like Super Bowl contenders. Yet despite their maddening inconsistency, the stars eerily aligned to send the Chargers to the playoffs.

That bizarre season could potentially become even more bizarre, as they travel to Cincinnati to take on a Bengals team they lost to on December 1, 17-10 in Qualcomm Stadium, a game where the Bolts clearly did not bring their ‘A’ game. It was their last loss before heating up for a regular season ending four game win streak that included wins over playoff bound division rivals Denver and Kansas City.

This will be only the second ever playoff meeting between the Chargers and Bengals, both times in Cincinnati, and potentially an instance of history repeating itself. Any longtime Charger fan should be able to recall the scene back in January, 1982 in old Riverfront Stadium, the AFC Championship game remembered as the “Freezer Bowl.” It’s the stuff legends are made of, and was the second coldest game in recorded NFL history at nine degrees below zero. Factor in the 25 mile per hour winds that brought the wind chill factor down to -59 degrees, and it was the coldest game ever played.

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Thumbnail image for The Stars Align, Send Chargers to the Playoffs

The Stars Align, Send Chargers to the Playoffs

by Andy Cohen 12.31.2013 Sports

After a series of fortuitous, near impossible events, the Bolts are on their way to the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2009.

By Andy Cohen

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. And the 2013 San Diego Chargers certainly are very lucky.

Against all probability, the Chargers are headed to the playoffs after completing a 9-7 regular season. Two weeks ago I wrote a column calling the talk of the Chargers making the playoffs nonsense, even after their dominant week 15, Thursday night win over the #1 overall AFC playoff seed Denver Broncos in Denver. The Chargers, it seemed, had finally gotten their act together and were playing some of the best football in The League. The problem was that it took them 13 weeks to get there.

The best the Chargers could hope to finish was 9-7, and with both Baltimore and Miami (who the Chargers lost to in week 11) ahead of them in the playoff standings, and with both teams coming off of impressive week 15 wins—Baltimore against Detroit, and Miami against Tom Brady (is there any other player on the Patriots that really matters?)—their chances at extending their season beyond week 17 were slim to none.

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Thumbnail image for Santa Claus Comes to Friars Road

Santa Claus Comes to Friars Road

by Source 12.20.2013 Culture

“First of all, Mr. Claus, I object to your use of the term “good,” as being vague and ambiguous. “

By Matt Valenti

When traffic in the right lane of Route 163 South slows to a crawl for two miles between the 805 merge and Friars Road, it must be Christmastime in San Diego.

I found myself suffering through this traffic last weekend for my daughters’ obligatory annual photo op with Santa Claus at Fashion Valley Mall.

I expected the traffic, of course, and expected it would take me at least an hour of circling through the parking lot looking for a spot, after dropping my wife and girls off outside of Nordstrom’s.

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Thumbnail image for Chargers and Aztecs:  Please Stop With the Nonsense!

Chargers and Aztecs: Please Stop With the Nonsense!

by Andy Cohen 12.17.2013 Sports

No, the Chargers are NOT going to the playoffs, and no, the Aztecs should NOT replace Rocky Long.

By Andy Cohen

Alright, so let’s have some fun. A little diversion from the world of San Diego politics for a moment.

Bolts Playoff Bound? Not a Chance!

First, let’s dispel any notion that the San Diego Chargers have any hope whatsoever at making the playoffs. Via Twitter yesterday, the Chargers issued a poll, asking followers whether, with two games remaining, will the team make the playoffs? They then joyfully tweeted out the results of the poll (a tweet that has oddly since been deleted….but thankfully someone else was smart enough to retweet the Chargers’ tweet) showing that 69% of respondents enthusiastically replied “Yes, the Chargers will make the playoffs!”

(I don’t really know how enthusiastic they were….I totally made that part up).

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