By Doug Porter
The political reshuffle for 2016 is officially underway in San Diego. City Councilman Todd Gloria has announced his candidacy for the 78th Assembly seat, currently held by soon-to-be termed-out Toni Atkins.
Democratic activist Sarah Boot, who’d declared an interest in running for the job and received an endorsement from Atkins, has thrown her support to Gloria. Former interim City Councilman Ed Harris has also announced his intention to run for the 78th as a Democrat.
This morning’s announcement puts an end to speculation about Gloria running against incumbent Mayor Kevin Faulconer. (Which I’ve said repeatedly wasn’t going to happen.) If the scenario I’ve heard about holds true, we’ll see an announcement from Assemblywoman Atkins later in the year saying she’s going to be the high profile Democrat to oppose Faulconer.
— Sarah Boot (@SarahRBoot) April 7, 2015
From Gloria’s announcement:
As a lifelong Californian, I know that California is synonymous with opportunity. It is the place where you can turn your dreams into reality. It was this promise that attracted each of my four grandparents to California from all around the world. They never guessed their grandchild would be elected to office, but they knew anything was possible here. I believe that my personal and professional experience can help our state tackle the significant challenges we face to ensure that more people can realize their dreams here.
Many of you know that I am the proud son of a maid and a gardener who raised my brother and me to work hard and leave things better than we found them. This lesson from my parents is what motivates me every day to work on your behalf. I’m excited to pursue this opportunity to continue to improve our incredible community as your Assemblymember.
Ooops. Qualcomm’s Not Playing Nice
Over at Voice of San Diego, Scott Lewis posted a juicy item yesterday coming out of a meeting last month between proponents of City Councilman Scott Sherman’s vision for a new football stadium and officials with Qualcomm.
On hand to pitch their vision were Sherman, real estate analyst Gary London, developer Perry Dealy and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. They were hoping to interest the company in potential office space created as part of the development proposal.
They never got to make the pitch. Ed Capozzoli, the vice president overseeing Qualcomm’s facilities and real estate, reportedly didn’t mince words in describing the company’s unhappiness.
From Voice of San Diego:
Capozzoli lit into them for the way he felt the company was treated by the city. Particularly frustrating, he said, was the traffic situation around Qualcomm’s Sorrento Valley office. London said Capozzoli told the group the city was dragging its feet and not letting Qualcomm modernize nearby traffic lights.
Capozzoli was also frustrated, he said, that the city was handing out subsidies to other local companies like Ilumina, but ignoring Qualcomm’s very basic problems.
And then the kicker: Even as it expands elsewhere, Capozzoli said Qualcomm would never build anything in San Diego again. Capozzoli, participants in the meeting confirmed, said that order came from the top of Qualcomm’s leadership. That planned 1.2 million square foot expansion has not gone forward.
The VOSD story goes on to include both the city and the company trying to spin this “nice,” but it’s obvious the Faulconer administration had no clue how Qualcomm viewed the city leading into this meeting..
That’s what happens when your window into the business community is limited to what Jerry Saunders and the Chamber of Commerce want the city to hear.
City Deal on Belmont Park May Not Be Legal
Last fall the city council punted on an amended lease agreement with the operators of Belmont Park in Mission Beach after then-city councilman Ed Harris went public with criticism, saying the deal wasn’t fair to taxpayers.
Rancho Santa Fe- based Pacifica Enterprises claimed at the time that approval by the council was urgently needed as part of a financing package for repairs on the amusement park.
Six months later, the urgency has apparently passed, because the deal was approved by the city council by a 7-2 vote yesterday. Harris told KPBS the Belmont Park deal wasn’t really revamped so much as it was just some numbers moved around.
Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, who represents the beach communities, said the final agreement is good for all sides — including residents.
“As everyone has pointed out, this isn’t just Mission Beach, this is a regional asset, an historic part of our city that people had described as seedy, dilapidated and crime-ridden,” Zapf said. “And now, it’s just blossomed into an area where people are proud to bring (visitors).”
Some opponents contended that the city wasn’t getting as much money as it could. Zapf said the bigger picture shows increases in the number of jobs and, for the city, sales tax revenue.
Support for the lease amendment was orchestrated by Southwest Strategies’ Chris Wahl, who astute readers may remember as the point man for the corporate forces who mounted the slimy campaign to overturn the Barrio Logan Community Plan.
Here’s the critical paragraph from the UT-San Diego article:
A number of the park’s supporters, many of whom came by bus to the meeting, courtesy of Pacifica, credited the new operators with not only creating a much more welcoming attraction, but also helping reduce crime in the surrounding area.
So, to sum up, this was supposed to be a good deal because “job creation” “taxes trickle down” and “reduced crime.” Where have we heard those promises before?
While there were plenty of numbers thrown around in the various coverages of yesterday’s council session, the reality that much of the cash flow for the city will be negated via credits for development costs seemed to escape notice. Former councilman Harris is right; this is the same deal with a glossier cover.
The City Attorney office acknowledged via a memo to the council last week that the deal as passed posed some potential legal risks.
Attorney Cory Briggs also sent a memo, contending the lease violates a section of the City Charter, the California Coastal Act and California Environmental Quality Act and warning of an unspecified client would have no choice but to sue if the amended lease was approved.
GOP Circus Updates
Senator Rand Paul announced his presidential candidacy this morning.
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who’s told the press she’s a likely candidate for the top spot, went on the radio yesterday to proclaim the drought in California to be the fault of environmentalists.
“Despite the fact that California has suffered from droughts for millennia, liberal environmentalists have prevented the building of a single new reservoir or a single new water conveyance system over decades during a period in which California’s population has doubled.”
That’s akin to saying that buying a bigger wallet will make you wealthier. Reservoirs aren’t much help if there’s no rain or snow to start with.
From the Huffington Post:
NextGen Climate, the climate-focused political group run by billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, on Monday evening called Fiorina’s comments “irrational.”
“For a science denier to opine that Democrats caused the drought in California is about as irrational as believing someone who failed at running a business in California and then failed as a candidate for office in California has any cause to be running for the highest office in the land,” Bobby Whithorne, the group’s spokesman, said in a statement.
Finally, lest you think that San Diego’s Republicans are somehow saner than the national bunch:
(h/t Gretchen Newsom)
On This Day: 1915 – Jazz Singer Billie Holiday was born was born in Philadelphia. 1940 – Booker T. Washington became the first black to be pictured on a U.S. postage stamp. 1947 – Some 300,000 members of the National Federation of Telephone Workers (soon to become the CWA) struck AT&T and the Bell System. Within five weeks all but two of the 39 federation unions had won new contracts.
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