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Roundtable: Mayor’s Race Gets Ugly; Port Gets Tenant; Escondido Gets Rights Issue

Evening Edition

KPBS reporter Katie Orr talks about Balboa Park's lily pond and how it ties to the mayoral race.

Aired 8/17/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Katie Orr, KPBS News

Brad Racino, KPBS/Investigative Newsource

David Garrick, North County Times


The (Very Loud) Mayor's Race: For city with a laid-back reputation, the San Diego mayor’s race has become unusually toxic.

A debate this week between Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner became a platform for accusations of misconduct. It was followed by a press conference or two proclaiming the other side's outrageous conduct, followed by counter-charges of even more outrageous conduct.

There is a lot of yelling. And it’s only August.

The damage to Balboa Park’s lily pond seems to have set off this latest round of bombast, which shows no signs of slacking off. In the meantime, city business is getting done. The mayor's office announced a tentative, interim agreement with city labor unions over the 401K plan, ending the hiring freeze.

Dole Promises To Love San Diego For 25 Years: The commissioners of the Port of San Diego approved a deal this week granting Dole Fresh Fruit Company a 24.5-year lease to export and import fruit at the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal downtown.

Some business interests decried the long-term lease, including the UT San Diego ownership and editorial board, saying the city would reap much more benefit if the land were used for a stadium/convention center and hotels and decrying the speed at which the lease was arranged.

Under the terms of the lease, the Port will invest $7 million in power equipment to service Dole’s vessels and up to $8.5 million for cranes. Dole will pay $1.7 million/year through 2017, $1.7 million through 2022; $1.96 million through 2027 and market rates after that.

Other fees paid by Dole (wharfage, dockage and crane rates) will start at $1.8 million this year, about 10% less than under the existing lease.

The Port says Dole indirectly employs 78 people, including mechanics, truck drivers and clerks.

(Story continues below.)

Evening Edition

David Garrick, a reporter for North County Times, talks about a lawsuit alleging Escondido is violating the Voting Rights Act.

Escondido Has Election Issues: Escondido is a city of about 145,000, of which 49% are Latino. Latino voters, however, make up only 20% of the electorate. Just two Latinos have been elected to the City Council since 1888.

A group filed a lawsuit in December, alleging that Escondido is in violation of the California Voting Rights Act. Without the resources to fight the suit or to file a suit of its own against the state statute Escondido (reluctantly) has decided to put a charter change allowing district elections before the voters in November.

The city assumes that if the new charter passes, the lawsuit will go away. But the plaintiffs have said that a key condition of dropping the lawsuit is being able to help re-draw the boundaries of the city council districts.

Two of five Escondido city council seats are up for election this November. Seven candidates have qualified for the ballot.

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Avatar for user 'lesbirdsall'

lesbirdsall | August 17, 2012 at 12:44 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

Your discussion of the Balboa Park Lily Pond incident missed a major point.

There are two security forces protecting Balboa Park and the Lily Pond. Private on-site security guards and the San Diego Police Department. Both knew of the pending, un-permitted nighttime water gun fight. Both decided not to monitor it. Why?

Who called off the private security force and the San Diego Police Department? Did mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio have any role in the absence of security?

Les Birdsall

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Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | August 17, 2012 at 12:57 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

In 1999, before 9/11 and homeland security took over the Airport, the San Diego Port District had $27,000,000,000 in a trust to build the next San Diego Airport, they never did. There are a lot of new jobs waiting when we build our new airport off the coast of Point Loma.

Drive over the Coronado Bridge and you see we have a great deepwater port, easy to expand, and wasted on an unnecessary war machine. Get rid of the military ships and increase the size of the civilian port operation.

7 port commissioners, 3 appointed by SD, 1 from each of the other 4 citys around the bay.

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Avatar for user 'laplayaheritage'

laplayaheritage | August 17, 2012 at 10:23 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

Back in 2006, Congressman Bob Filner backed our efforts and requested that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirm or deny our claims of corruptions and Honest Services Fraud for profit and greed. At the expense of our America’s Military force, and ultimately San Diego Taxpayers.

The true meaning of the local Republican Reform Agenda.
R E for M
Real .
Estate .
for .
Manchester ."

Ryan Purdy says:
August 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm

“La Playa Heritage: Filner started the whole Lilygate brouhaha with his barely literate press release accusing an innocent man of a crime. Now Filner totally lost control of the narrative. So now that his mendacious ad hominem attack has turned against him, you want the narrative to end? No. Thanks for the suggestion, but no. Filner is losing the fight he started. Suck it up Filner.

From managed competition to pension reform DeMaio has a long record of reform. He also has the guts to put a couple hundred more pages of reforms in writing. Filner, on the other hand, wants to strike down the will of the voters by “negotiating” away pension reform to the unions. He also wants to borrow more money. If that is “reform” to you, then we have vastly definitions of reform.”

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