Saturday, September 29, 2012
This week, KPBS and I-Newsource released a joint investigation that kept getting weirder and weirder. It started with reporter Brooke Williams’ report on U-T owner Doug Manchester and CEO John Lynch’s attempts to flex political muscle at the Port of San Diego. The media kingpins have promoted their vision for the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal—including a new football stadium—on the front page of their newspaper.
I-Newsource looked at all the leases on the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, talked with port supporters and opponents, maritime experts, and dozens of employees and small business owners affected by what happens on that land. What follows is a look at the terminal from all angles
Our investigation showed although Manchester has sold his hotels along San Diego’s downtown waterfront, he still holds shares in the hotel company he sold them to—worth about $210 million. So, he might have economic incentive to develop the area.
Also revealed were emails Lynch sent to Port Commissioner Scott Peters (who is also running for Congress) that said Lynch and Manchester have made “significant progress” with the Chargers, business groups, labor and “one of the mayoral candidates.”
Both mayoral candidates—City Councilman Carl DeMaio and Congressman Bob Filner—told us that “progress” wasn’t made with them.
Then things got weirder. It turns out the email from Lynch to Peters obtained by our reporter was missing two sentences that contained an even bigger threat. “Otherwise this will become a major issue in the campaigns and the UT will be forced to lead a campaign to disband the PORT," Lynch wrote.
Peters told us he removed those lines when he forwarded the email to the Port because he thought it would be bad for morale. “I was trying to avoid making the battle any bigger,” he said.
Then things got weirder still. Although Lynch initially confirmed to KPBS reporter Amita Sharma that he sent that longer version of the email, he later said his email had been doctored. He suggested whoever had doctored his email “could go to jail.”
DeMaio, who has received hundreds of thousands of dollars for his campaigns from Manchester and Lynch, said he does not support their vision for the Port. In response to a Public Records Act request, he told KPBS and I-Newsource he has not communicated with Manchester or Lynch about anything on his city email, phone or any other city government device.
What's the Port worth anyway? Reporter Brad Racino provides this explanation, complete with cool graphics and a "super touristy" harbor cruise ride.
Also this Week:
Damage at San Onofre turns out to be unprecedented. The Committee to Bridge the Gap says San Onofre had 400 times as many damaged steam generator tubes as in a typical nuclear reactor. The nuclear watchdog group told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the beleaguered nuclear power plant, which they said also had 1,000 times as many indications of wear as in a typical nuclear reactor.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders endorsed DeMaio to succeed him as mayor, saying “Carl is somebody who I believe will carry on what we started with reform.” In May, the mayor had different words—one of them "coarse"—for DeMaio, who has repeatedly clashed with Sanders over the city budget. Mesa College political science professor Carl Luna told us “the mayor felt beholden to ‘dance with those who brung ya’ and support Carl.” Following Sanders’ endorsement, philanthropist and Democrat Irwin Jacobs also endorsed Demaio.
And KPBS reporter Tom Fudge got some edgy responses to his questions about wealth and poverty in San Diego. Fudge profiled rich and poor San Diegans, including one Rancho Santa Fe man who said, “how can you say somebody is poor if they have a cell phone?” One commenter on our website wrote this question "reflects a person that is completely out of touch with reality, comfortably living under his rock in a plush mansion with everything he ever wanted, and completely oblivious to the world."
And Coming Up...
KPBS and San Diego State University’s School of Public Affairs will host a mayoral debate between DeMaio and Filner Monday at 8 p.m. We will simulcast the debate live on TV on Channel 15/Cox 1011/Time Warner 711 HD and on KPBS Radio at 89.5 FM. A live radio stream is also available here.