Roundtable: The Trump Effect, Trump U Lawsuit, Plaza De Panama Reboot
Friday, November 18, 2016
Matthew Hall, editorial & opinion director, The San Diego Union-Tribune
Jean Guerrero, Fronteras reporter, KPBS News
Bianca Bruno, reporter, Courthouse News
Roger Showley, growth & development reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune
So ... Donald Trump — now what?
Most Californians are decidedly not on the same page as President-elect Donald Trump on any number of issues.
Climate change, for instance. Mass deportations of immigrants who are living in the country illegally. The need for environmental regulations.
And as for Obamacare, it works better in a large state like California than in many smaller states.
Many Californians are concerned about their future, particularly immigrants currently taking advantage of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA..
The Obama administration granted temporary relief from deportation to immigrant children brought here illegally by their parents. Many who responded to this executive action by working or attending school are now frightened because they came out of the shadows, and now the government has all their information.
Will Trump really abandon NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Will he eliminate the Department of Education, build a wall, dump NATO? Or are these his opening gambits?
In the face of all this uncertainty, some Californians are talking secession.
Trump U class action
Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel was scheduled to rule Friday on whether to delay the trial of the Low v. Trump class action lawsuit slated to begin Nov. 28.
There are reports that settlement talks are ongoing.
The Low class action was one of two suits currently on the San Diego federal docket alleging Trump University students were victims of fraud. The other, Cohen v. Trump, also alleges violations of the federal racketeering act, or RICO.
Trump’s legal team has asked that the Low trial begin after the Jan. 20 inauguration. The plaintiffs responded that they are ready and that if Trump could set aside a date after Jan. 20, he could certainly set aside a date in December, especially since he didn't have to testify in person.
Plaza de Panama plan approved again
The lawsuit against the plan to completely reconfigure Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama was resolved when the California Supreme Court declined to take it up. So the plan, proposed in 2010 by Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs and others, is back and has been approved once again by the San Diego City Council.
It is scheduled to open in 2019.
The now $79 million plan championed by Jacobs (it was $45 million six years ago) calls for getting cars out of the plaza via a bypass around the Museum of Man. The bridge would lead to an underground parking garage — and rooftop park — where the Spreckels Organ Pavilion parking lot is now.
The plaza would then be car-free.
Save Our Heritage Director Bruce Coons still objects to the plan on aesthetic grounds, and he's calling for donations to another defense fund.
But Coons’ arguments did not impress the City Council, which voted 8-1 to go ahead. Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who objects to paid parking in Balboa Park, was the lone dissenter. If revenues from paid parking don’t meet projections, the city’s general fund may have to fill the gaps.
The whole plan could disintegrate if construction bids are too high or donations too low.
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