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Marijuana Hoax, Mayor's race, SDPD Budget, Padres

August 3, 2012 2:04 p.m.

Guests: Angela Carone, KPBS News

Scott Lewis, CEO, Voice of San Diego

Matt Hall, UT San Diego

Jay Paris, North County Times

Related Story: Roundtable: U.S. Attorney Punked; Mayor's Race; SDPD Budget; Padres In Limbo


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

SAUER: I'm Mark Sauer, filling in for Gloria Penner. It's Friday, August 3rd. Joining me today in the Roundtable are Scott Lewis, CEO of voice of San Diego, welcome.

LEWIS: Thanks, mark.

SAUER: Matt Hall, columnist from UT San Diego. Good to have you here.

HALL: Hello.

SAUER: Jay Paris, sports columnist with the North County Times.

PARIS: Bonjour.

SAUER: Before we get to today's topic, medical marijuana advocates have staged an elaborate host earlier this week that targeted San Diego's U.S. attorney. The San Diego museum of art had a hand in the hoax. Here to fill us in is KPBS arts reporter, Angela Carone.

CARONE: Well, on Tuesday, some fake press releases went out from the U.S. attorneys' office to the media stating that Laura Duffey was launching this campaign to close medical marijuana pharmacies in beach communities because they had high rates of prescription drug abuse. Some in the media, including the LA Times were fooled, and they reported on the story. Pretty quickly revealed to be a hoax with a group called Americans for safe access taking responsibility, and they're an advocacy group. They learned how to stage this hoax from what I think we can safely call professional pranksters known as the yes men. And they were here last week at the invitation of the San Diego museum of art.

SAUER: Who are they?

CARONE: Two guy, primarily, and they stage these elaborate pranks. And they have been doing it for over a decade. They call their projects identity correction projects, and they represented everyone from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce officials to -- they like to go after heads of corporations, so they pretended to be representatives from dow chemical, they put out a fake New York Times at one point. So big elaborate pranks. And the sidearm of these projects are these labs where they teach other activist groups to stage their own hoaxes for media attention.

SAUER: So why was the museum hosting them in the first place?

CARONE: Well, they were invited to come as part of a summer-long series that the museum hosts that features performance artists. And I think the art community nationally as a whole likes to lay claim on the yes men except when museum are the butt of their pranks. They also invited local activist groups to come and take part in the labs. They also offered $100 to each of the activist groups to help support the cause of developing their projects or hoax.

SAUER: We put in a call to the U.S. attorneys office to find out if they're pursuing any legal action. The spokeswoman declined comment. Tune into Midday Edition on Monday, and we're going to talk about this issue at greater length. Thanks a lot, Angela

CARONE: Thanks, mark.


SAUER: Today's topics, it's a very curious race here shaping up this fall in the mayor's situation in San Diego. No matter who is elected mayor, the coming term figures to be a reporter's dream, bold, bombastic, provocative, highly partisan. These are words that could describe both countritives, Carl DeMaio and liberal Congressman Bob Filner. We're taking a look at where things stand since June's primary narrowed the field down to Republican DeMaio, and Democrat Filner. There have been some interesting developments in the San Diego's mayor's race. Most interesting perhaps this week was the hiring of Republican political consultant Tom Sheppard by Bob Filner.

LEWIS: We got to think about who Tom Sheppard is for a second. He is the king maker, the mayor-maker of San Diego. He helped elect Roger hedge cock mayor, Suzanne Golding and then he got Jerry Sanders himself elected. So for Bob Filner to hire Tom Sheppard I think was fascinating in many way, not the least of which, how Tom Sheppard himself has described it. He sent out an e-mail yesterday saying San Diego needs Nathan Fletcher. He did not advance out of the primary. So how did an e-mail about Nathan Fletcher back an endorsement of Bob Filner is really interesting. In the body of the e-mail, he says Nathan Fletcher is this, that, he's amazing, and Bob Filner is kind of like him! And he offered him a job. And that signals that he's a great guy, because he offered him this job, and you should consider giving him a shot, which I think was a sort of attempt by Sheppard then to start to bring in some of establishment, somewhat conservative crowd that really around Nathan Fletcher to come to Bob Filner's wing, and also a signal from Bob Filner that he realizes he can't be mayor unless he starts to get more organized.

SAUER: So we're talking about Tom Sheppard, Nathan Fletcher's consultant, right?

LEWIS: Yeah. He's also running a lobbying practice in town, among them the police officers are clients. It's separate from his campaign operation, but the point is there's a lot of people with a lot of business at City Hall who are not excited about either Bob Filner or Carl DeMaio taking over. And so there's kind of a fight for their allegiance going on. And it shocked a lot of us in the sense that they both, Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner, said they were going to sort of wipe these people out of power. And now they're kind of vying for their affection. So this came on the heels of several decisions by Bob Filner to dial back his rhetoric. He's now embracing the Convention Center expansion. Not sure if that means he's abandoning his rhetoric about what a boondoggle it was, what an off handout it was. And then he backed off his -- not sort of, he completely reversed his plan to reform pensions. He planned to borrow a bunch of money for the pension system. Now he says it's not a relevant plan. And he also embraced this proposition B that was passed by the voters. In a way that I think was significant.

SAUER: And our column had a report on this earlier this week.

LEWIS: This was Carl DeMaio's five flip flop, but this was a flip flop from Filner who used to say that prop B was a broader, that it had a lot of problems. Now if he follows what he said, he will implement it in a way that I think am have more consequences than if they were just to follow the letter of the law. The letter of the law says there's going to be a pay freeze on city employees for five years, he's saying he would make that moot and just make it a straight freeze for five years. Of that's a significant embrace of a man that he thought was horrible.

SAUER: And we talked about the Republican Sheppard going to Filner. What about DeMaio?

LEWIS: He hired this guy camed art cast inneris, not nearly the same profile as Sheppard. But hopefully someone who can reach out to the Latino vote. They're both trying to make this move to the middle to see if they can pull that king-making populace into their sphere.

SAUER: Matt, you covered City Hall for a long, long time. Does this do the political consultants any harm?

HALL: I don't think so. What do consultants do? They make money. That's the bottom line. Sheppard has been around a long, long time, he's one of the smartest guys in town, he's worked forward Democrats before. He helped Scott Peters get elected in a very contentious race. And also in politics, there's an adage, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. So Jerry Sanders, for one, almost made it personal with Carl DeMaio during the campaign, said some nasty things about him. It was clear that they don't like each other. I don't know if that extends to Tom or not. I'm not saying this is personal. It's a professional thing. But that might be part of it too.

LEWIS: I think it's fair to say that Tom Sheppard loathes Carl DeMaio. I don't think there's any doubt about that to be honest.


LEWIS: And also he wants to be behind the winner. He doesn't have a dog in this fight, he wants a dog, and you can take it or leave it, his actual belief that -- what did he call Carl? A destructive personality.

SAUER: Speaking of personalities, we've got a reporter's dream here. These are volatile personalities, this isn't a caretaker government. Talk about both of them.

HALL: I don't know if it's a reporter's dream or not. During the primary, Bob Filner didn't return a lot of phone calls. I think he's changing that around because he has to. I think the Sheppard signing is an indication of that. But clearly these guys are on opposite side was a spectrum here, and they have to move to the middle. That means that there's a lot of unattached people who are going to be coddled and looked at for their support. So you're going to have a lot of meetings taking place, and we'll see where San Diego lands. Obviously the big number grab that is going to count is going to come in November, but there's going to be a lot of interaction between now and then.

SAUER: Jay, up in North County, is this the 800-pound gorilla?

PARIS: Maybe a swinging chimp in the tree.


PARIS: But some San Diego area there, the southern port. I think it might become more interesting if they asked the county for support for a new stadium, maybe if they would be getting into the North County pocketbooks a little bit there.

SAUER: In terms of a regional one?

PARIS: Right. Instead of just a city. But I'm just amazed or intrigued that maybe with Mr. Fletcher going independent this year, that it's almost leaked over to the general election and how the Rs and the Ds that were so much attached to these names are almost becoming nonexistent anymore.

LEWIS: I think they're taking their basis for granted, and nobody who ardently supports Filner is going to support DeMaio, and the same thing on the other side. What this though represents in many ways I think is you've got Filner who kind of ran a spotty, you know, stream of conscious campaign, I guess is --

SAUER: In the primary.

LEWIS: Yeah. He didn't raise a lot of money. And on the other hand you had DeMaio who raised a ton of money, put a ton of money in it himself, had a very organized and army-like approach to this, and so I think one of the best things for Filner that happened to him was he kind of got humbled, and he was able to survive and advance, and now he's humbled, and he realizes he needs a lot of help to get elected. And it'll be a reporter's dream except that Tom is going to put him on message, Sheppard is going to put him on message, unlike Filner is used to if he Aseeds to it.

HALL: What's interesting about his message, and about Sheppard, all this talk about Nathan Fletcher and being offered a job --

SAUER: Let's talk about that.

HALL: He didn't say Nathan was going to take the job. Or had taken the job. That's interesting.

LEWIS: That's what drives me nuts! Sheppard sends out this e-mail and says this is basically Nathan Fletcher running for office now.

SAUER: And all you folks come on along!

LEWIS: Right. And Fletcher has never said he worked there. He wouldn't let that happen unless he supported Filner, but he won't actually say that he supports Filner. So what is it?

SAUER: That's kind of the lawyer knowing, you never ask a question you don't know the answer to. I can't imagine Sheppard is going to lay that out there the next day.

LEWIS: Absolutely. I'll go skinning dipping any night of this week if Fletcher comes out and says he did not review this proposal before he went out.

HALL: I want to make that bet before the election.


SAUER: Linda from Clairemont. Go ahead.

NEW SPEAKER: I just wanted to make a comment about my observations. I've attended a new City Council meetings and have spoken with other people who have attended other City Council meetings and who have observed the same thing. And that is below it is time for public comment, Carl DeMaio pays no attention to what the public has to say. He starts talking with other people, he turns away and will talk behind him, he'll get on his phone, he'll be looking down. I don't know if there are computers in the desk. And he will actually leave the meetings during the public comment time for a significant period of time. Significant. Like half an hour or more.

SAUER: Okay. All right, thank you. We won't have any meetings to observe him for the month of August because they take the month off here. Is that a problem he may have to address in this campaign, that he's indifferent to the comments from the public as they come before the council?

HALL: I'm sure that resonates with some people who have seen him or other council members. To be frank --

SAUER: He's not alone.

HALL: They all do it. But as far as an election issue, I don't think that has a lot of traction.

LEWIS: Frankly, if what it's worth, I've found him accessible, and seen him interact with crowds. People who don't like him don't get access to him, then that's very clear. And a lot of people don't like him. So there's going to be a lot of polarization in this race. And I think to watch them both try to put on this soft edge is quite amusing.

SAUER: You did have a story earlier this week about this very topic regarding Filner and his prickly personality. I know we touched on that a little bit. But it started without with some very dramatic eye-catching stuff.

LEWIS: Most of his elections have been against fellow Democrats. The most difficult and tense elections he's been through have been against other liberal Democrats with whom he probably agrees on a good portion of stuff with. So he -- there's a lot of people who have very interesting quotes about him, and he'll even say, yes, in order to get things done, I take a very divisive and tense situation forward, and then people resolve it. And that's how we got progress. And he says once I'm in charge, I'm a very nice and easy-going guy. And so he says you've seen that when he ran the veterans' affairs department and stuff. One guy called him the grand canyon of bleep.

SAUER: Yeah, yeah.


LEWIS: It was a funny quote, but it was a slice of a lot of tension around him. And I think liberal Democrats are falling in line behind him now, and it's going to be a real barn-burner on both sides.

SAUER: Well, you can't really be a flame-flower, a back-bencher as Gingrich found out years ago when he took over as speaker. There was an ad, backed by labor, one of his constituencies, right?

LEWIS: Labor bought it, doing polling for the school district. And the school district doesn't cover most parts of the city. But it did show something positive for him. I do know that he has a strong position. He's got the turnout that'll come from people something Obama in the general election and the dem accuratic advantage in San Diego. Whether he can identify himself as the Democrat to support, and whether he's organized enough to stay on message is going to be key.

SAUER: And we talked about the money. He kind of laid in the weeds, and skated in on his name-recognition, but he's going to have to get some outside funds is he not?

HALL: Sure he's going to need some money. But I would imagine that labor is going to support him. That's how the City of San Diego works. Labor helps the Democrats and business interests, and the Republican party helps the Republican candidate. So we'll see. Sure, he's going to have to have more of an operation than he did in the primary.

LEWIS: He started this race out like Babe Ruth, I'm going to hit this out of the park, don't worry about it, and now he's been humbled and he's got to get more organized.

SAUER: We're going to have to leave it there.


SAUER: Is joining me today are Scott Lewis, Matt Hall, and Jay Paris. Police brass has said the crime is up, but mayor Jerry Sanders has been touting low crime rates. That left it to reporters to reconcile the seemingly opposite messages. Remind us what chief Lansdowne wanted from the council. What kind of budget increase were they looking for and and what do they want to spend the new funds on?

HALL: They're looking for about $12 million a year for the next five years as part of this five-year plan, and they're looking for another $8 million for some equipment upgrades. So you're talking $74 million roughly. It comes five or six months on the heels of Jerry Sanders standing in front of San Diego and saying that America's finest city is fast becoming America's safest city. He pointed to a near 40-year low in the city's violent crime rate which is a measurement that takes into account rapes, robbery, aggravated assaults, and murders and said we're doing great. Fast-forward five months to the committee meeting, and it's a totally different story. You had Lansdowne and Zimmerman taking their case for more officers, which part of their budget increase would facilitate, and the chief used words like a disturbing increase to look at a five-month window of crime statistics that showed an uptick in the violent crime rate. Most of the criminologists that I and others talked to say that you don't view crime stats in that short of a timeframe because the numbers can get skewed. So it's better to look at it year to year or even over a longer timeframe.

SAUER: Scott, keyingan Kyle of your staff had the same questions. Were they cherry picking?

LEWIS: Well, look at the graph of this crime rate over the last several years, and they could not have picked a more unusually low period to compare crime to than last year's five month period that they did. It was almost historic lows in crime. So to say it went up is to say, yeah, it went up from, just as the mayor said, a very low point. Now, the other thing is you look at crime over the last 12 months and then compare it to the 12 months before that, it's not any higher. So they may have other -- and they'll say they have other, all kinds of evidence, anecdotal, and different just perceptions that they've made that there is a problem like the chief said that's getting out of hand. But if you're going to use stats like that, then you have to be able to deal with people who are going to vet them.

HALL: It wasn't just the crime stats.

SAUER: Yeah, it was a whole bunch of other stuff in there.

HALL: There were three items that they picked out to show they need more officers. One was the uptick in response times, which shows a slight bump upwards in the last couple years. And then we just talked about the violent crime rate. The third was a retention problem where they say that 270 officers have left for other agencies. At least 270 officers have left for other agencies over the last 11 years. If you look closer at the numbers, my recollection from covering City Hall jibed with the numbers they showed me, more than half of those officers left in the fiscal 2006-2007 years when the city was going through the kind of depths of its budget crisis, and morale was really, really low.

SAUER: Weren't there some incentives at that point too to leave?

HALL: Correct. I'm sure dropwas part of that too.

SAUER: So you were skeptical of the arm.

HALL: Yeah. So if you take out those two anomaly year, you're left with an average of about 15 officers leaving annually. And over the last four years, it's gone from 7 to 13 officers, so you're below that average. It seems to me they were using numbers to shore up their points, and any councilman or woman might have been able to take a deeper dive into those numbers at that meeting, and they weren't. So part of my column was to call them out on that. I used the word fawning, and I think they were.

SAUER: You would think that the council members are representing the public, of course. They're there to ask the hard questions. The department heads and the budget figures are subject to public scrutiny.

HALL: They'll tell you as they told me, they called my column nonsense, which I disagree.


HALL: But I'm happy to let them have their opinion. Those meetings are held for members of the public who are so inclined to pay attention. It's a much deeper conversation than will happen at the City Council meeting when ironically more people pay attention. But that conversation is held in public for a reason, it should be a thorough discussion, and that day it wasn't.

SAUER: Mike, you're on with the panel. &%F0

NEW SPEAKER: Good afternoon. I was listening to the discussion, and I'm intrigued at the fact that I believe it's one of the authors of the article was mentioning the fact that criminologists are saying that you need to study the crime trends over years period before you can accurately predict the trend in crime. And that might be true in certain circumstances. But what you're seeing here is, and I think what the San Diego police department is claiming, is that they're seeing an uptick in not only property crime but in violent crime. And that is mirroring what is going on in the rest of the county in terms of property crimes. And that's directly a cause and effect related to this AB109, restructuring, realignment, putting more criminals back out on the street. This isn't a rocket science question. When you put more bad guys out into an area that are predisposed to committing crime, you will naturally see more crime go up.

SAUER: Okay.

NEW SPEAKER: Additionally, when you put more officers out on the street, you'll see more reported crime going up as well, which is that a bad thing? I think that's probably a good thing. It means the officers are out working, taking report, arresting people, talking to people that they should be.

SAUER: All right, thanks very much. Thanks for your point. We had chiefs Lansdowne and Zimmerman on, and they are dovetailing with what our caller was saying there, that focussing on statistics misses the larger point, that service has deteriorated.

HALL: That's different than when they said at the meeting. They have been asked what are the reasons for your increase in staffing, and they said the uptick in the crime rate. Marti Emerald and Todd Gloria who chair some of the committees wrote back and saying balder dash, the word they used was nonsense. And like I said, they are entitled to their opinion. That was a meeting, that was an opportunity for them to ask questions, and they did the opposite of asking questions. They said that we're at a breaking point, and Marti Emerald said this city has been battling this retention problem for a decade, and that's not really the case.

LEWIS: I think this reflects a greater problem with city. They're only willing to ask for more investment for things out of fear. So they drive up fear. You need to invest in this or you need to pass this sales tax or do something or you're going to get robbed. They should flip it, and there's probably some very good cases they can make for investment in officers. Innock land, they had the radios down when officers are on duty there. Invest in infrastructure and say what you can do that. And there was some of that in the presentation. When you try to make the crux or a big part of your argument about how scared people should be, and then it turns out to not reflect reality in a broader context, you're going to risk this kind of backlash. If you just focused on the investments and what the return will be out of that, I think you have a much better potential for success.

HALL: And that raises the point I didn't even get into in my column, this kind of argument of fear, during the tax increase they said if you don't raise this tax, very recently, we are going to have to slash our budgets, including our police budget. And they did not slash the budget.

LEWIS: No, the safety services went up as a total, and the brownouts went away for the fire departments. This is the kind of thing where fear does not motivate. It just generates frustration that you're just trying to alarm us.

SAUER: We've got Jeff Jordan of the POA. Go ahead. You're on with the panel.

NEW SPEAKER: Thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it. First and foremost, I want to talk about the Prop D failure, in regards to the comments that were just made. I've talked about this before, and I sent comments to the voice of San Diego, what a lot of people don't realize is that after the tax increase did not pass, the response from the city was to cancel the next three police academy classes. So while we hired 13 people at the beginning of the year, the next three police academies were canceled.

SAUER: How often do they hold the academies?

NEW SPEAKER: We tend to hold them quarterly. But this is what they quietly do in the City of San Diego. There wasn't a big fanfare about playing off police officers, no. Quietly, the next three police academies were canceled. Nobody backs those, and instantly you make 100 cops. These are the kinds of problems that don't get reported upon. Then we look at the budget. Yeah, the fire budget went up, homeland security and lifeguards, but the police budget went down by 100 people.

SAUER: You did have mayor Sanders and Donna Frye team up and push prop D like crazy, and they got nowhere with it.

NEW SPEAKER: Right. And I respect the mayor, and you realize there's going to be consequences, and the consequences were the cancellation of three police academies. We can debate whether or not public safety budget went up, but there was a direct impact on the reduction of police officers on the street. And then I obviously have some responses for Matt as well as Scott. I remember both of them. I enjoy their columns. I look forward to the debate that's going to be upcoming. But the chief has asked for, not a huge increase in the budget other than more so a restoration of what the budget used to be. Between 2007 and 2010, he was budgeted for 2,100 police officers. He's not budgeted for that anymore. And there's an impact on the community of San Diego. Of

SAUER: Okay. All right, well, thanks so much, Jeff. Your response, guys?

HALL: I respect Jeff too. He's got a difficult position. The police officers association is always in the news. And it's a major city with some crime issues in certain spots of the city. And the police department does a good job. My column wasn't designed to argue against an increase. It was designed to argue

SAUER: Right, that's really beside the point.

HALL: For a thorough discussion. And Jeff was at that meeting, and stood up and said that the crime statistics laid bear the reason for more folks. I'm not sure, burthe point he made is a good one. I'm in the sure it came up in that discussion. But it's a valid point.

LEWIS: If the chief is going to say crime is getting out of hand and this is the reason why, and then you point out, well, that doesn't have the context it needs to fully understand that, they need to deal with that. And they chose to focus on that, and it has problems. So make the point as articulately as Jeff did and maybe things will come out differently. You chose to try to scare you, and your facts were suspect.

SAUER: It seems like if they had enough money, the chief should hire one of you guys as their PR guys! What about areas that are out of the police control such as cutbacks in mental health service, prison realignment? These are things with the state and all their problems, that stuff comes back to the cities.

HALL: But those kind of -- and those are issues but you said it right, it's out of their control. The department can and should focus on the issues within their control, and have a good discussion about why they need more officers.

SAUER: They have a better instinctual argument too. We want good people to have the trust that we put in cops. We want them to be standup people we can trust. There's a good argument they can make for that. And I think deferring to fear is just a mistake.

HALL: And this is just the first chapter of a saga where there's going to be more money requested. Marti Emerald mentioned a bond measure in the same meeting to get some facilities for police and fire in the next couple years, and the chief said his five-year plan allows him to go back to his union to the police officers' union and gives him time to get them some more ways to not have a recruitment problem, which means money somehow.

SAUER: Okay.

LEWIS: You do have a situation where these police stations, you know, flood, and you have to raise community donations to pay for them. It's an absurd situation, but again they focused on the wrong thing.

SAUER: So a bake sale. That might be the answer here.

LEWIS: I think that's unfortunate, because that's what we are turning to.

SAUER: On so many levels.


SAUER: Welcome back to the Roundtable. Scott Lewis, Matt Hall, and Jay Paris of the North County Times. The San Diego Padres were sold a few years back. Like a lead slipping away in the 9th, the deal fell apart just as it was supposed to be consummated in know judge. Thus began our summer of discontent. Hoping a new deal with the O'Malley family. But we're still waiting. We're also waiting for the issue of spotty TV coverage to be resolved, and we'll probably wait a lot longer for the Padres to field a team that can compete in the National League west. This week, Jay, suddenly the Padres were shoring up their roster instead of shipping players elsewhere. What happened?

PARIS: Well, the deadline as fans know years past, that's a big old swinging door down there. A lot of stuff going out, and not a lot of stuff coming this way. For the days leading up to it, they retaineded productive players. And they didn't trade them for prospects, and they didn't push everything down the road that we're going to be good some year. They kept Carlos Quintin who can hit, they kept chase hedly. They kept Houston Street. You can sense a change in philosophy, a change in the purse strings, how they were being tied, and I think all those actions leads everybody to believe that really the sale is done.

SAUER: It's done, and it's close.

PARIS: And it'll probably be voted on August 14th, 16th at the summer meeting.

SAUER: That's what you're hearing. How is the team on a sales block wind up signing fairly rich, long-term contracts?

PARIS: Right. And owners that are getting rid of teams that they seldom if ever add to labor costs.

SAUER: Give us a bit of context. Ball park figures.


SAUER: How do their payroll compare?

PARIS: The big boys come in at about $200 million or so, and the Padres are probably around $55 million. They're in the bottom third.

SAUER: 4-1.

PARIS: They have been adding some payroll, but for years the last couple years they have been if not the lowest paid, right down there with the Tampa bays and the Pittsburghs.

SAUER: Let's talk about this deal with the O'Malley group. Tell us who Peter O'Malley is

PARIS: He's father, Walter, was originally the Brooklyn dodgers' lawyer. From there, he obtained control of the team, from there he move today from flatbush to the city of the angels in 1958, and it's been quite a success. Peter took over when his father passed away, and this is just the continuation of the O'Malley legacy with Peter's two sons and two nephews, which run a single-A team. Top of the third is the name of their group. It's the third generation O'Malleys. So you have the heritage, the legacy, the stamp of approval. The dodgers did run an organization the right away.

SAUER: That does sound encouraging.

PARIS: But also to the homegrown aspect with Ron Fowler looking to be involved, and Phil Nicholson, as well, he's been selling every piece of real estate he has. But I think there's still questions of where that money is coming from. Because the O'Malleys made a run for the dodgers. And once that pricing to got to a certain point, they fell out of the running. So certainly the Padres expect to get $800 million, in that range. I still think there's some questions of where the money is coming from with the O'Malley group.

SAUER: Let's talk about the numbers. At this point it's a negotiation and a private deal. I don't expect we have a lot of specifics, but you said $800 million is the purported price? How does that compare to the original deal with murrad?

PARIS: I think it's a couple hundred plus. And the tide going up with the dodgers sale lifted all the boats in major league baseball. I think there's so many layers here with the Moors deal, does it include the Omni Hotel, the parking lots on the other side which are ready-made for development? Does it include the $200 million signing bonus with fox sports? There's a rumor the Padres are on TV. They're not on my set!


PARIS: Rather just cut and dry, here's some rosin bags and a bag of balls, there's a lot of other components to this deal.

SAUER: Matt, do you get the Padres on your TV set?

HALL: Talk about not knowing the answer to a question you asked. I do not get the Padres. And --

PARIS: You just don't want me coming over and watching them.


HALL: I've written four columns over this issue at the last month, and I've gotten more response to these columns than any other story I've ever written in my semi-long journalism career. The first one was the blame game, I blamed a lot of people for the reason why the Padres aren't on television in 40% of the market, starting with John Moors, and then the politicians, the mayor and the council president not doing more to publicly shame all sides for not doing a deal. And then I blamed the fans. That got a lot of people upset at me. But I think I was on target. If there was a hue and a cry, there would be something done about this. And my second column, I played the shame game, and I shamed more of the TV executives involved. I said here's what we're going to do. We're going to have a rally. Meet me at Petco on a certain Sunday, and 150 people did.


HALL: I had no idea what to expect. There was an O'Malley. Not one of those O'Malleys.

PARIS: Same guy from an Irish bar.


HALL: A retired Navy guy, who was very upset about this. And what gets me about this story is the humanity about it. People who are upset about this are people who are dye hard fans. They're elderly folk who is have nothing more to do this summer than -- some of them are housebound, difficulty getting around, they want to watch the boys of summer, and they can't.

SAUER: Americans love to watch baseball!

HALL: And that's outrageous.

PARIS: And this is more than just a guy's baseball team. For what the citizens of San Diego contributed to Petco Park, it's going to be one of the all-time bait-and-switches of modern history. And it's tough to get to the ball park sometimes.

HALL: It's an out rage.

PARIS: And I think too with the Padres, we mentioned a few of the guys they signed, they are such a young team that to develop and continue that fan base, you got to get to know these players.

HALL: What people are upset about is they can't have a water cooler conversation at work about this team.

SAUER: Because they can't watch them.

PARIS: And while they're not doing great, baseball is so great for the second-guessing aspect. Should he pull the guy out in the 8th inning? Why didn't he bunt in the 9th, and you don't get that locally. And that's a shame because San Diego is a huge hotbed of baseball.

SAUER: What about the money aspect of this? Somebody who's losing money on this, a lot of these games aren't televised.

HALL: The interesting thing is -- here's the deal. At Petco Park, there's a very long distance between home plate and the outfield fences. And it's a very long distance between where some of these TV distributors and providers. The fences are going to get moved in before these guys sit down at a table and make an agreement because fox sports has the rights for the Padres for the next 20 years. They checked off their boxes with Cox and DirecTV, now they're saying to the other three providers, time warner, AT&T Uverse, and to dish, these guys signed on the dotted line, so you should too. That sounds good to the public maybe. But to these three companies they're saying no way. They're not going to do that. I don't know what it's going to take to get these people to come together.

MAUREEN SAUER: It's just a big roadblock right now.

LEWIS: Yeah, and I think this ownership exchange has brought into relief what a horrible plundering of San Diego, I would argue, that Moors has enacted and carried through. He's going to walk away from this situation several hundred million dollars richer. He promised with this new investment in the stadium an investment in talent, that was the whole point, we had to be able to drive the revenue for that. We have one of the worst teams in the league. We a good portion of the population that can't watch them on TV. And one guy is going to walk out of this situation as even more wealthy than he was. And I would love for him to sit in front of a town hall of season ticket holders or fans or taxpayers and try to explain the decisions he's made. Because it's absolutely disgusts. And I think -- you blame the fan, we got to blame the voters and the taxpayers too because we're sitting here watching this guy do this, and he's got no accountability.

SAUER: They did have a couple of contending year, got in the postseason.

LEWIS: Right.

SAUER: But a lot of people said at the time that this was a real estate deal downtown masquerading as a new ball park.

LEWIS: Then they wonder why we're skeptical of other big building projects or what they're trying to tell us about their promises.

PARIS: And I think the disconnect between the younger generation and the team, I coach little league in Encinitas, are and the question is always the same. Favorite team, favorite food and favorite player. Of it's usually pizza, used to be Padres, and it was either Tony Gwynn, trevor Hoffman, and Adrian Gonzalez want for years. Last four or five years, pizza stayed the same, now it's tigers, now it's Derek Jeter, now it's Sabathia. All these different players, and these are future customers here! Future fans! And I hope they serve pizza down there, that's all I'll sigh.

SAUER: Nothing wrong for rooting for my tigers here.


SAUER: Let's toss a little red meat to these long-suffering ever-optimistic Padre fans. How long are we going to wait for a contender again in San Diego?

PARIS: It's baseball. It could happen next week. They got to be careful because the Giants and dodgers, they got new TV deals too. And there's are much bigger. But I think there's a foundation here, and that's a nucleus, and they're going to keep some players. If the young guys develop hike they hope they develop. But your prospects are always suspects, and a lot of guys have to prove themselves.

SAUER: Is attendance at the ball park holding up?

PARIS: It's not bad. Of it hasn't dropped off as you might think.

SAUER: They had a horrible start.

PARIS: Yeah, bad start. But a lot of that speaks to the tourist industry, and people love -- it's a sleeping giant down there, the space is one of the most beautiful ball parks in America, the Gaslamp.

SAUER: It's a great experience to go down there. You get a lot of visitors, convention-goers.

PARIS: It's got everything but the team, and they're working on that. Hopefully the O'Malley group can get if there sooner.

SAUER: We've got the Olympics going on, to shift gears here. What's your impression so far? We're about halfway through. And I think the Americans are ahead in the medal count.

PARIS: I think it's great. I'm not a big tape-delay fan. What tells is too is -- I think the city is leading the nation with viewership each night. We can kind of claim city love with it as well.

LEWIS: I am a fan of the tape-delay, actually. It's a show. They treat it as a show at night. And tell me a story. I don't care about the results as much as I care about the drama. I'm not an amateur volleyball fan. So I don't need the results right away to figure out who won. I want to see the drama and the narrative, and I think if you couch it as that, as a show, as opposed to a sporting event, it makes a lot more sense.

HALL: And the ratings are going through the roof, as far as I know. So why would they not do that? It's a business. And anyone who wants results can go on twitter and find it.

LEWIS: Or watch it streaming.

SAUER: KPBS reported there's a lot of San Diego ties. One in five athletes in the Olympics on the U.S. teams are either trained here or from here. So we've got a lot of local interest for that.

PARIS: Yeah, if we could just get a few ball players.

SAUER: 2016 it's going to come back?

PARIS: Baseball and soft ball. But we got beach volleyball.