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Roundtable: Accident-Prone Navy; Paying For Wildfires; Change In Mission Valley

Damage to the port side is visible as the guided-missile destroyer USS John S...

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton AP

Above: Damage to the port side is visible as the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain steers toward Changi naval base in Singapore following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC on Monday.

Naval Accidents, Wildfire Costs, Mission Valley's Future

PANEL

Tony Perry, freelance reporter

Jeff McDonald, Watchdog reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune

Tom Fudge, editor/reporter, KPBS News

Transcript

NAVY'S COLLISION COURSE

The Story

A U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS John S. McCain, collided with an oil tanker three times its size off the coast of Singapore on Monday.

Ten sailors are reportedly missing from the McCain.

The collision, the fourth accident since January involving U.S. Navy ships in the Pacific, has resulted in a rare two-day suspension of all naval ship operations and the removal of the admiral of the Seventh Fleet.

The Navy is investigating the role that training, manning and communications may have had in the collisions.

In June, seven sailors were killed aboard the destroyer USS Fitzgerald. No one was killed in two earlier accidents involving the USS Champlain and the USS Antietam.

The four 2017 incidents took place in different waters, at different times of the day and under different conditions.

Naval accidents are believed to have killed more troops in 2017 than Afghanistan.

The Conversation

-What is it about the Pacific Fleet that could cause these failures?

-How is our prestige in the Asia-Pacific region affected by these accidents?

Related: Commander of Naval Fleet Relieved of Duty After Collisions

Related: Navy Navigation Errors May Have Killed More Troops Than Afghanistan So Far in 2017

WHO PAYS FOR WILDFIRES?

The Story

It's been nearly 10 years since the 2007 San Diego County wildfires killed three people, burned some 2,500 homes and buildings and forced the evacuation of 500,000 people and an unknown number of animals.

SDG&E has been asking the California Public Utilities Commission to agree that its customers should pay the wildfire costs not covered by insurance — some $379 million.

This week, two administrative judges recommended the CPUC reject SDG&E’s request.

SDG&E was not pleased, saying the recommendation was not supported by the facts and that the fires were caused by circumstances beyond the utility’s control.

The judges, however, said SDG&E failed to show that it acted reasonably to manage and properly maintain its equipment. They called its management “imprudent.”

The Conversation

-How likely is it that the full CPUC will agree with the judges' recommendations?

-If so, does SDG&E have further legal recourse?

Related: Judges: Reject SDG&E bid to charge customers for $379 million in wildfire costs

VALLEY MISSION

The Story

Mission Valley began the 20th century as a big, long meadow full of dairy cows.

Over the years, it was built up piecemeal as a series of unrelated islands — a shopping center here, another there, a few hotels on the south side, a stadium and apartments on the north. And, of course, a river runs through it.

The housing crisis, loss of the Chargers, a new emphasis on transit and climate, and the faltering of brick-and-mortar retail have all contributed to a new interest in what to do with this sprawling, congested strip of valuable land.

As the area gets ready for a community plan update by the end of 2018, the questions are huge:

-What to do with Qualcomm, the shopping centers and big-box stores and their asphalt seas of parking spaces?

-How to connect one “island” to another?

-How to make better use of the trolley?

-What to do about Friars Road?

For openers.

The Conversation

-How did Mission Valley become such a mishmash? Where was city planning?

-Does the citywide vote on SoccerCity render the Mission Valley community plan moot?

Related: Another Turning Point For Mission Valley

Related: San Diego Malls Ride A Changing Retail Wave

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