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Roundtable: U-T Sold; SDUSD Construction Priorities; Balboa Park Repair Backlog

Roundtable: U-T Sold; SDUSD Priorities; Balboa Park Repairs
Roundtable: U-T Sold; SDUSD Construction Priorities; Balboa Park Repair Backlog
UT Sale, SDUSD Bond Expenditures, Balboa Park ProblemsHOST:Mark SauerGUESTS:Dan McSwain, U-T San Diego Mario Koran, Voice of San Diego Gene Cubbison, NBC 7 San Diego

U-T San Diego is sold

Doug Manchester's U-T San Diego has been bought by Tribune Publishing, owner of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and six other daily newspapers. The sale is set to be completed in June.

The new publisher and chief executive officer is Austin Beutner, current publisher of the Los Angeles Times, who will hold both posts. The Times employs some 500 journalists, while the U-T employs 175. Beutner told KPBS Thursday that there are no plans to make changes in the San Diego newsroom, except to improve local coverage across many platforms.

There is the potential to combine reportage and assignments and thereby reduce costs, but Beutner noted that the U-T and Times would remain distinct brands.

The paper may return to its old name — The San Diego Union-Tribune — but will be produced and printed in new locations. The sale of the Mission Valley property is not included in the $85 million purchase price, and the paper will have to move in a year. Manchester has plans to put residential units at the current U-T site.

SDUSD spends bond funds on athletics

Passage of a $2.1 billion construction bond issue for San Diego Unified in 2008 and another worth $2.8 billion in 2012 has resulted in completed structural improvements and classroom upgrades in several schools.

It has also resulted in several brand-new, state-of-the-art football stadiums and athletic fields worth multiple millions each, reports Mario Koran of Voice of San Diego.

Why are fixes for small leaks, doors that won’t close and A/C in stifling classrooms lower on the district’s priority list than football? Who sets the priorities? How much money is left for structural needs, and will it be enough?

Balboa Park: No fix in sight

In other infrastructure news, a sewage backup on Sunday closed several Balboa Park museums on the usually busy day. The San Diego History Center, Museum of Photographic Arts and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum were all closed to visitors.

This is not the first time a leak or maintenance failure has closed park attractions. And it will not be the last, as neglect of infrastructure needs in the park has reached epic proportions. Estimates run anywhere from $300 million to $500 million in deferred maintenance, and there is no easy solution.

One activist referred to the situation as “condemnation of the park by aggressive neglect.” Who is responsible for upkeep in the park? What needs to be done and how quickly (and how likely)?