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Roundtable: SoccerCity?; Hard-Hearted Traffic Court; Trauma Training With Live Animals

SoccerCity, Traffic Court; Live Animal Trauma Training


Erik Anderson, environment reporter, KPBS News

Roger Showley, growth & development reporter, The San Diego union-Tribune

Amita Sharma, investigative reporter, KPBS News

JW August, investigative news producer, NBC7


Will SoccerCity make its gooooooal?

Development newbies La Jolla-based FS Investors have proposed a $1 billion plan to lease and then buy the Mission Valley Qualcomm site.

They propose to fill it with 4,800 market-rate and affordable homes, office space, retail, restaurants and hotels, some parkland and a soccer stadium with at least 22,000 seats.

FS wants to put one of the four Major League Soccer franchises the league will soon license into the stadium. The franchise fee is reportedly $150 million.

FS is also offering the stadium to San Diego State University, along with student housing and office space.

The company plans to collect the nearly 72,000 signatures necessary put the proposal into a ballot initiative. But they're hoping there will be no ballot.

RELATED: La Jolla Investor Group Presents Plans To Redevelop Qualcomm Stadium

Instead, they plan to present the initiative to the San Diego City Council in June. If the council votes yes, that's all it will take to rush the project through as was attempted for the Lilac Hills development in North County.

In an interesting twist, ballot language pegs the cost of the Qualcomm site at $10,000 — if the cost of demolition, removal and development exceeds the appraised value of the land.

And there are competing versions of that value.

Concerns over traffic, stadium size, parkland and the value of the site have also surfaced.

SDSU is lukewarm to the project; the stadium is smaller than they want, and the university is looking for more student housing and office space.

If San Diego is to get an MLS franchise at all, it must move quickly, as the MLS will award franchises soon.

Meanwhile, Doug Manchester has resurfaced with a competing plan to refurbish Qualcomm and invite the Raiders to play in it.

SoccerCity plan: 4,800 homes, 2 stadiums, parks and commercial space at Q site

Traffic court's collection agency said to shake down the poor

Traffic tickets are expensive to begin with, but with late fees and penalties they can metastasize quickly, which is a big problem for the poor.

If you are poor, negotiating alternate methods or times of payment or even amnesty under a 2015 state law could be a big help.

But try this in Kearny Mesa traffic court, and you are likely to fail.

RELATED: Lawyer Calls Traffic Fines Punishment Of The Poor

Commissioners in three San Diego County traffic courts — Vista, Chula Vista and El Cajon — grant extensions to people who can’t afford to pay their fines or offer them community service instead.

Not Kearny Mesa. That court, under Commissioner Corinne Miesfeld, doesn't give people hearings to show their inability to pay. If they can't pay in 30 days, the only alternative offered in Kearny Mesa is Probation Works Projects, which means picking up trash along the freeways.

RELATED: Collection Agency Persists In Recouping Debt Despite Mistake

If tickets are not paid within 30 days, the driver is taxed with a $315 civil assessment. If an unpaid fine goes to collection, the driver can ask for amnesty under a state program launched in 2015 to offer impoverished drivers a way out of the mounting fines and to get their suspended licenses back.

Local defense attorney Liz Aronson contends that AllianceOne, the court’s collection agency, is routinely returning amnesty applications as incomplete and stonewalling requests to check on re-files.

If a driver with outstanding fines is stopped, his license is suspended, and his car can be impounded. And then he can’t get to work to earn money to pay off the fine, which is the reason for the amnesty law.

RELATED:Lawyer Alleges San Diego Traffic Court Collection Agency Shakes Down The Poor

Marines, Navy still use live animals in trauma training

The Army and the Air Force are reducing the use of live animals, mainly goats and pigs, for trauma training of medics. Some bases have eliminated the practice altogether.

Not the Navy or the Marines.

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps still use the animals to train personnel on life-saving techniques. The U.S. Department of Defense maintains that using a combination of simulation and live tissue training is appropriate and will save the lives of Marines and sailors.

RELATED: Docs, Vets Call for End to Military Trauma Training on Animals

The services are under pressure from PETA and others, including members of congress, to stop this type of training. And there are alternatives. A local company, Strategic Operations, manufactures a “cut suit,” a manikin with special effects that simulate battlefield injuries and responses. The suits are cheaper in the long run than live animals.

RELATED: Marines Speak Out About Using Live Animals in Trauma Training

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