Roundtable: Tackling Meth, Transportation And Chargers Stadium
Friday, July 1, 2016
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Meth is a big problem in San Diego
More people in San Diego County died from methamphetamine in each of the last two years than in any year in the last two decades, according to San Diego County’s chief medical examiner.
More died from meth-related causes — overdoses, delusionary behavior — in 2014 than from the flu and homicides combined.
Snaring all ages, the drug caused more than 10,000 emergency room visits countywide in 2014, up from 3,700 in 2011.
What's behind the numbers?
Meth today is cheap, extremely potent and readily available. Users say the high is “incredible.”
The drug no longer comes from makeshift, backyard labs in East County. These days, it comes from Mexican “super labs” controlled by the cartels.
The drug alters the user's brain, causing severe mood swings, violent behavior, paranoia and delusions. It also exacerbates underlying health problems.
In 2014, meth was found in the systems of 53% of the women and 40% of the men jailed in San Diego County.
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy says law enforcement alone can’t handle the problem. She says it's a public health epidemic that needs community resources.
...and so is transportation
For months, the San Diego Association of Governments has been crafting a November ballot initiative to increase the countywide sales tax by half a cent.
That would raise $18 billion over 40 years for county transportation projects.
Not surprisingly, there has been some spirited debate over percentages among usually like-minded groups such as Democrats, labor advocates and environmentalists. What percentage of the revenue should go toward freeways? (People have cars, after all.) What percentage toward public transit and bicycle lanes? (We need to get them out of their cars, after all.)
Finally, a compromise has been reached. The major elements: $10 billion for projects that cut greenhouse gas emissions and preserve the environment, $4.3 billion for local city projects and $2.5 billion for highways.
So transportation may not continue to be such a big problem — if the measure passes.
...and so is the push for a new Chargers stadium
The California Supreme Court struck a potential blow to the plan for a new stadium for the Chargers. The court decided to block and review an appellate court ruling that said tax hikes from initiatives need a simple majority for approval.
Earlier this month, the team submitted 110,786 signatures to get its stadium and convention center initiative on the November ballot. The court's move means the Chargers may have no choice but to get two-thirds voter approval for public funding of a stadium.
When the state Supreme Court rules on the case is anyone's guess — it could take months or years. But the one thing that's certain is that getting two-thirds of San Diegans to support a new stadium is a very tall hurdle to clear.
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