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Roundtable: Qualcomm Stadium, District 4 Election, Filner And Transparency, Desert Energy Plan

Evening Edition

Above: Craig Gustafson, a reporter for U-T San Diego, talks about new Mayor Bob Filner's transparency problems.

Aired 1/4/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS

Joanne Faryon, KPBS News

Katie Orr, KPBS News

Craig Gustafson, U-T San Diego

Morgan Lee, U-T San Diego

Transcript

Qualcomm Lives! (Maybe): Steve Cushman, a San Diego insider who’s been on more boards than the cast of Hawaii 5-0, says he wants to develop the Qualcomm Stadium site into a new San Diego Chargers stadium.

Further, Cushman says the redesign of Qualcomm can be done without public money and at less than half the cost of a brand-new stadium downtown.

Because of his terms on the boards of the convention center and the Port Commission, Cushman can be considered an expert on downtown sites. He says a downtown site for a football stadium is still an option, but Qualcomm in Mission Valley is more realistic.

In October, developer Doug Manchester, a fierce advocate for building a stadium downtown at the 10th Ave. Marine Terminal, voiced his support for a new stadium on the Qualcomm site and appeared to give up on a football stadium on the downtown waterfront.

Disenfranchised District 4 Voters Not Happy: San Diego City Council member Tony Young resigned his District 4 City Council seat to run the local chapter of the American Red Cross. The special election to fill his seat will have some unusual quirks.

Young’s District 4 is not the same as today’s re-drawn District 4. The San Diego Municipal Code says that those represented by Young (the old District 4) are the only voters who can choose his replacement.

Voters in the newly added sections of District 4 have no vote on their council member, nor can they run for the council seat. Although some voters in the new district have complained, current Council President Todd Gloria says there may not be time to do anything about this bizarre situation before the election can be held.

Meanwhile, the city council must try to do business for a few months evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. And Gloria's District 3 office has the added burden of the day-to-day duties of District 4.

Mayor Filner's Transparency Problems: Mayor Bob Filner promised a transparent administration and made a start on that promise by attempting to hire former city council member and famous transparency advocate Donna Frye to make it so.

But recent issues with local media make it appear as if he has put up a brick wall around information on his new staff hires and their salaries.

The U-T San Diego tried to learn the names and salaries of his staff hires. The paper made a number of public records act requests beginning December 6 which have been met with assurances of compliance and little else.

In addition, KPBS has made a number of requests to interview the mayor, without success.

Desert Plan To Balance Energy Needs, Conservation: The long-running conflict between environmentalists and energy providers wanting to set up in the California desert may be moving toward detente.

Hundreds of square miles of Southern California desert may be soon be home to renewable energy development projects under a new plan which aims to consolidate the patchwork of land use and environmental regulations which currently govern the area.

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency and several environmental groups are among many stakeholders who support the plan. The list of stakeholders is four pages long. Public input for the proposal is being sought through January 23.

Developers who follow the final provisions will have greater assurances when conflicts arise between energy projects and sensitive or endangered plants and animals.

The California Condor is the only species that is untouchable under the plan.

Evening Edition

Above: Morgan Lee, a reporter for U-T San Diego, says the long-running conflict between environmentalists and energy providers wanting to set up in the California desert may be moving toward detente.

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