By Doug Porter
This whole deal with using public money to build a stadium for a privately owned football team just keeps getting stranger.
Yesterday we learned the idea of using funds from developments adjacent to the Mission Valley site to fund the project was off the table. Ancillary development has been part of every stadium plan proposed over the past 15 years. That’s $225 million just vanishing. Gone. Poof!
Then where’s the stadium construction funding coming from? Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s spokesman, Craig Gustafson, emailed Scott Lewis at Voice of San Diego: “The plan the City/County team is developing is based on negotiations and discussions with the Chargers and the NFL.”
Dan McSwain at the Union-Tribune got the same response from a different Faulconer spokesman:
“The City/County plan does not rely on ancillary development for a stadium to be financed,” came the quick answer from Matt Awbrey, the mayor’s chief spokesman.
Well, that seems pretty clear. So this must mean a financing plan exists, as in selling bonds and such?
“It’s subject to negotiations and discussions with the team and NFL,” Awbrey responded. “Mayor Faulconer remains committed to a public vote.”
It’s an answer only a lawyer could love: San Diego knows its plan won’t include large-scale redevelopment, but it won’t know what the plan will include until the city completes negotiations with the Chargers, who have suspended negotiations. On the other hand, the Chargers refused to discuss financing, Awbrey said.
When the mainstream media is calling a proposed civic project a “dog and pony show” (UT) and “this long-running performance art piece” (VOSD), you have to assume things are getting strange.
When the prospective beneficiaries [the Chargers] of this plan say it’s a “misbegotten scheme” it’s even stranger.
And the strangest part of all this would be the City Council’s pending approval of $2.1 million for an environmental study on this project, something the UT editorial board thinks we have no choice over:
There has been nothing in the behavior or attitude of San Diego Chargers ownership in the past six months that indicates the team has any intention of staying in San Diego beyond the upcoming season. But for City Hall to waver from its determined effort to prove there is a new stadium deal that could be made here would be to simply throw in the towel and wish the team happy days in Carson.
So, according to the UT editorial board, the only realistic choice is to proceed with a plan that will lose money for taxpayers, have a negligible impact on the economy and is unwanted by the owners of the football team.
This editorial was published despite the word oozing out of Los Angeles yesterday about the Chargers have been negotiating with the L.A. Memorial Coliseum since last year for a temporary deal while a new stadium is being built.
Oh, okay. Bring on the unicorns and the fairy dust.
One Small Step for Cabbies
San Diego’s taxi monopoly officially ended this morning as the very first independent driver received his permit. Cab drivers have organized and fought for changes in the city’s licencing system for several years through the United Taxi Drivers of San Diego. (Photo via Facebook)
The Che Cafe: 100+ Days of Resistance and Counting
The University of California has been trying to oust the Che Cafe, a vegetarian café/music venue/meeting space for over a year now. Formal eviction papers were served on March 24th, following a running series of court battles still under appeal.
Since that date students and volunteers have occupied the premises, saying they would non-violently resist any attempt to remove them and change the locks. The sheriffs depart has 180 days from the date of service to enforce the eviction and the clock is ticking.
UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla has for the first time agreed to meet with key members of the Che Collective on Wednesday. Whether this will change anything is anybody’s guess.
From the Reader:
“I know the Chancellor has never been inside the building. We want to invite him to stop by… He is supposed the be the chancellor who embraces diversity and inclusion. One of his diversity scholarship students is freshman Esperanza Soliz-Perez. She stopped by the Che and talked to the students and saw our ‘Black Lives Matter’ wall and told us she felt really at home here more at that it wasn’t like anywhere else on campus.”
“As a student of color who has a passion for the humanities, it is an understatement to say I feel like an outsider to UCSD’s culture or lack thereof,” Soliz-Perez said in a statement. “Why establish a bridge for students of color to gain access to higher education with the intention of destroying bridge and the history with which we identify?”
The Che volunteers continue operations knowing that per the eviction notice, sheriff deputies could still arrive any time during their Monday-through-Friday hours of operation to drag out all occupants and change the locks.
For more information: Che Cafe Collective
Next Ice Age Cancelled, Due to Lack of Facts
If you haven’t received an email from your crazy uncle announcing that the next ice age is just around the corner, check your spam file. And then check with some actual scientists…
A new study and related press release from the Royal Astronomical Society is making the rounds in recent days, claiming that a new statistical analysis of sunspot cycles shows “solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s” to a level that last occurred during the so-called Little Ice Age, which ended 300 years ago.
Since climate change deniers have a particular fascination with sunspot cycles, this story has predictably been picked up by all manner of conservative news media, with a post in the Telegraph quickly gathering up tens of thousands of shares. The only problem is, it’s a wildly inaccurate reading of the research.
Sunspots have been observed on a regular basis for at least 400 years, and over that period, there’s a weak correlation between the number of sunspots and global temperature—most notably during a drastic downturn in the number of sunspots from about 1645 to 1715. Known as the Maunder minimum, this phenomenon happened about the same time as a decades-long European cold snap known as the Little Ice Age. That connection led to theory that this variability remains the dominant factor in Earth’s climate. Though that idea is still widely circulated, it’s been disproved. In reality, sunspots fluctuate in an 11-year cycle, and the current cycle is the weakest in 100 years—yet 2014 was the planet’s hottest year in recorded history.
Say Hello to Pluto…
Greetings from the far reaches of the solar system. Here’s Pluto. Say Hi.
From David Corn at Mother Jones:
The gang at ISIS might not be impressed. But this feat—the United States spending close to $1 billion so the entire world can learn more about the far reaches of the solar system we share—does convey a positive message about the nation. We’re not just a country that has promoted torture, pioneered death-by-drone, and poured climate-changing emissions into the atmosphere. We’re exploratory emissaries for the human race. Earth, meet Pluto, courtesy of the USA.
And Goodbye to Plutonium…
The big news today is that a deal is pending concerning Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The US, along with other nations including China and Russia have all said they’d like to drop sanctions against Iran in return for a program of inspections of nuclear facilities and a reduction in potentially weapon grade materials.
Needless to say, the chicken hawks in Congress are having a fit, along with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who found himself looking in from the outside after some boneheaded political maneuvering.
Here’s a smart take from Peter Beinart at the Atlantic:
When critics focus incessantly on the gap between the present deal and a perfect one, what they’re really doing is blaming Obama for the fact that the United States is not omnipotent. This isn’t surprising given that American omnipotence is the guiding assumption behind contemporary Republican foreign policy. Ask any GOP presidential candidate except Rand Paul what they propose doing about any global hotspot and their answer is the same: be tougher. America must take a harder line against Iran’s nuclear program, against ISIS, against Bashar al-Assad, against Russian intervention in Ukraine and against Chinese ambitions in the South China Sea.
If you believe American power is limited, this agenda is absurd. America needs Russian and Chinese support for an Iranian nuclear deal. U.S. officials can’t simultaneously put maximum pressure on both Assad and ISIS, the two main rivals for power in Syria today. They must decide who is the lesser evil. Accepting that American power is limited means prioritizing. It means making concessions to regimes and organizations you don’t like in order to put more pressure on the ones you fear most. That’s what Franklin Roosevelt did when allying with Stalin against Hitler. It’s what Richard Nixon did when he reached out to communist China in order to increase America’s leverage over the U.S.S.R.
And it’s what George W. Bush refused to do after 9/11, when he defined the “war on terror” not merely as a conflict against al-Qaeda but as a license to wage war, or cold war, against every anti-American regime supposedly pursuing weapons of mass destruction.
Here’s the dumb take on the deal:
— Dr. David Romei (@DavidRomeiPHD) July 14, 2015
More Bad News for Dinesh D’Souza
It’s bad enough that the heartless Obama administration persecuted conservative hero and San Diegan Dinesh D’Souza for under-the-table campaign contributions. (What’s $20 grand between friends?) Now they want to actually make him follow the judge’s sentencing.
From the New York Post:
Conservative scribe Dinesh D’Souza has to perform a lot more community service for breaking campaign-finance laws than he thought, with a federal judge saying Monday that D’Souza has to do eight hours each week for the entire five years he’s on probation and not just the eight months he was confined to a halfway house.
The judge also read aloud a report from a court-appointed psychologist who called D’Souza “arrogant” and “intolerant of others’ feelings.”
Powerhouse defense attorney Ben Brafman was surprised when Manhattan federal court Judge Richard Berman clarified the sentence he handed down after D’Souza pleaded guilty last year, which means D’Souza will have to do over 1,600 hours more service than he initially thought.
“We’re talking about five years of eight hours a week? … This is a very serious impediment to obtaining full-time employment because you miss one day of work a week,” Brafman said in the conference inside Berman’s robing room, as D’Souza listened in silently via speakerphone.
The pain! The suffering! The pity party (TBA) will definitely have to be BYOB.
On This Day: 1789 – The French Revolution began with Parisians stormed the Bastille prison and released the seven prisoners inside. 1912 – Woody Guthrie, writer of “This Land is Your Land” and “Union Maid,” born in Okemah, Okla. 1993 – The U.S. Postal Service released 29-cent stamps that honored four Broadway musicals. The featured scenes were from “My Fair Lady,” “Porgy and Bess,” “Show Boat” and “Oklahoma!”
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