Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Politics

Roundtable: Stadium EIR, One-Sided Mayor's Race; UCSD v. USC; Chula Vista Districts

ChargersRendering_t614_r100x80.jpg
Roundtable: Stadium EIR, One-Sided Mayor's Race; UCSD v. USC
Roundtable: Stadium EIR, One-Sided Mayor's Race; UCSD v. USC; Chula Vista Districts
Stadium EIR, mayor's race, UCSD sues USC, Chula Vista DistrictsHOST: Mark SauerGuests:Michael Smolens, San Diego Union Tribune Gary Robbins, San Diego Union Tribune Robert Moreno, The Star News

The city Council will spend over $2 million in its latest push to keep the Chargers. The Democrats are big-time no-shows for the 2016 mayors race. Two prestigious universities the Duke it out over a major long-running study of Alzheimer's disease. And Chula Vista, the county's second-largest city divides itself into four parts. I am Mark Sower, K PBS roundtable starts right now. Welcome to our discussion of the week's top stories, I am Mark Sower and join me at the roundtable today are Michael Smolensk on the politics director the San Diego Tribune. Good to see you. Gary Robbins, science and technology writer for the union Tribune and hello Gary. Hello Mark. And Robert Chula Vista. Good to see you back. The city Council voted to spend $2.19 to rustle up a $2.1 million and by Mel study and the idea was to convince owners that the city really wants the Chargers to stay. Mayor Kevin Faulkner and six of nine council members are begging Chargers owners to reconsider snubbing the offer of hundreds of millions of public funds but some council members are saying enough. Michael start by telling us about this what is the point of this? The point is to give ends the NFL owners that there is a serious effort down here, the Chargers from almost the get-go have suggested that it is all, if not all a fraud, or trying convince the NFL owners to try to let them go to LA. This is to show the NFL owners that they have a plan to do this and they are speeding it up and they say they can do it time to get an election which is crucial, by January if not December. Before the NFL opens it up for allowing the teams to apply to move. Me ask you quickly about that. We're talking about this January election and what are we voting on? It is not up to the public on where we're spending the voting money or public money. There was a lot of land-use issues and there does need to be about plus the political aspect. Kevin Faulkner said from the get-go Denise to be about on the people by the stadium. They could structure it without a public vote but I think they view that as a political catastrophe and there would be a referendum on whatever legislation or ordinance a needed to pass. It was really a nonstarter the fact they would not have a vote. And now the Chargers have walked away from the negotiating table and it appears they are packing for their move to this LA suburb of Carson. It appears that way but they still do not have any place to move. There is a lot of talk about Carson and some people suspect that is as much yours as the Chargers say, and while the city person says there's not much going on here. I liken this whole situation to the whole Star Trek episode on the three-dimensional chess. There is things going on in the St. Louis with Rams and certainly in Los Angeles, down a Los Angeles the Rams owner was to build a stadium in this huge commercial complex Hollywood Park. Nine Carson. Right. And that is really driving things because he can go and build that and he has the money in his back pocket, he is an alien here. - He is a billionaire. I think the owners are trying to figure out how to work around that, we view the owners is Star chamber, but here you have is very powerful guy who has the ability to do this huge development on his own. For the record I want to say that council members David Alvarez and Marty Amaral voted no. And Marty said what part of note is stadium boosters not understand? The Chargers are not at the table. Is she right to start the status of the lost cause and Mayor Faulkner is on the wrong side? Yet the city moving ahead to spend over $2 million on this that the team is supposed to benefit who wants nothing to do with it, for stadium in sight they do not want to be a peer think about that. And ERRs are something that the cities do with developers, they coordinate and it is something developers want. So this is trying to force them. The real political game is to try to not to convince the Chargers but to convince the NFL to reconsider this notion of the Chargers moving to LA, but primarily to get the Chargers back to the negotiating table. This is really interesting on the ERRs is a lengthy process of the cities talking about being done in two or three months and it is a question ever where it will be thorough. Over the years, they tended to take longer and never shorter and so this is a very narrow window. Robert, I don't know if you cover the Chargers per say but as a casual observer of all this what is your 50-50 odds, are Chargers gone or are they here? Is also the Chargers are going to be gone. One way or the other they will not be playing here again. I do have a question. [ Indiscernible-muffled speaker ] Are essentially a tightknit group and they stick together. You do have the occasion where Al Davis was the maverick and move the Raiders, they want to take care of their owners and they want to make everybody happy. It is an unusual dynamic in that regard. But here you have potential competition in Los Angeles between a couple of three teams. They also want teams to stay in cities and a good situation and they do not want a lot of movement although they are certainly open to it obviously. I think what they want to avoid, and what city Atty. Janet Goldsmith put the finger on, the city wants the deal that can make the Chargers with even more money that can be done down here. The NFL doesn't want to Chargers or any team to say sure we have a deal there but we can make more money in LA and that does not look good for the NFL. That is with the city's angle is that what pulled they have? We'll have to see. I want to segueing to our discussion of May oral politics here and what Faulkner is looking at ahead with one last question about the Chargers and that is at what point does the other side of this become a reality? It is looking like Faulkner saying I have thought and did everything I could and try to work up all the enthusiasm to keep them here but what point do you say they could stay in you have six or $900 million of public funds going there, are you the guy or the mayor that mortgage the future? A lot of people feel that way. We'll see how the election goes. That will tell you. I don't know if he is in political trouble on either way. Wrinkly there seems to be more concerned about the mayor that lost the Chargers and you don't want that and he certainly is trying to show he is doing everything possible. If the Chargers walk away or the city council block them, I don't know. There has been a lot of reporting in cities were teams have left that the political fallout really did not affect the mayor whoever was in charge that much. If they left office it was really for other reasons. Speaking of Faulkner's political fortunes who will challenge of next year question mark there is no one stepping up saying choose me and I have a committee and we're going gang busters. I think you. [ laughter ] No one is lining. San Diego the Democratic town. It is double digits Democratic voter registration over Republicans, huge independence registered voters in a think a lot came from disaffected Republicans. It is not your typical, hard-core Democratic town but it is all the have a Republican incumbent would not even a challenger. I think it speaks to a couple of things. Exhaustion over the politics we've had, we've had so many elections in so many mayors a lot of trouble. And he is an office during a good time for the city come when called are all sorts of financial problems and the city is flush right now he is able to spend money over storage services and his budget was approved unanimously. His a lot of good things to shore up his weaknesses. He is gone into neighborhoods he did not carry to try to do stuff and it has paid benefits in certain ways. Not to mention exhaustion, and listening to talk radio and a lot of different stadiums that is a sentiment that has come across people are exhausted by this and other things before it. And if you like the announcers won't walk away from it as well. It seems like total exhaustion on the part of the public. There was analysis at the time where a special election when can Faulkner did get elected mayor and visit would be short-term because are so many Democrats. The Democrats will certainly store somebody up here but nobody's stepping forward. I don't think you can just look at the numbers, which I brought up at the beginning, or the overwhelming Democratic voter registration majority, or plurality. Faulkner hasn't done a bad job. Look at the city's history. Mayors, like a lot of presidents, get to terms unless they run into trouble. Dick Murphy resigned early because the whole pension crisis blew up and of course bald - Bob Filner with a whole sexual harassment scandal, that if there's not a whole lot of problems or controversy people tend to get reelected and I think people realize that a lot of people are saying is is my best political move? Clearly we have some powerful Democrats who do not think they can win. We will see how that plays out, have a lot of time and I'm sure that somebody will run against them. We're used to seeing major universities square up on the athletic field but UC San Diego is taking on the University of Southern California and a court of law. UCSD says that USC is guilty of a conspiracy to pose as a major Alzheimer team. I have been talking to executives at both campuses and nobody recalls anything quite like this but there is a difference. It is not unusual for scientists to me to another campus and take his grants with him. What we're talking about here is the size of the money involved, there's $55 million in federal money, $45 million in private money, hundred million dollars approximately in an Alzheimer's study that involves the entire nation and many sites, that is a lot of money. The University of California San Diego does not want to lose that. It would be humiliating to the University of the did and the universities concerned about clinical trials. He is not doing with the trials involved with the studies, he is participating in some but the University is trying to dig ever deeper into biomedical research. It has 16,000 people here involving clinical trials and it wants more. It doesn't want to lose anything that has to do with clinical research here at Tells about the study, when was it studied or started and what is the scope? The study was started in 1991 and it was started under you see of San Diego, UC San Diego manages the study, it does some of the research but also oversees what is done across the country like so many different places. Other places will be doing basic research and Alzheimer's disease and dealing with applied research and trying to develop molecules can be turned into drugs, they will test drugs. There is a lot of testing going on. All of the profiles of Alzheimer's have become ever larger over the past decade or so. Universities managing a study that is lasted almost 25 years. We do have a click here from Dr. Azan named in the lawsuit. Let's hear what he has to say. Alzheimer's disease is invisible on offense. We need tools to measure the stage of disease and the progression of the disease and ADCS has been key to the development of such measures. Biomarkers of the disease that allow us to diagnose it accurately, watch the progression and tested the impact of drugs on the biology of Alzheimer's disease, and to actually conduct studies. What he said Gus the heart of the entire lawsuit he mentioned I am workers. Scientists are looking for ways or telltale signs in the brain that can tell you when ahead of time, way before symptoms that in that someone will develop Alzheimer's disease so you can track early and develop drugs more. He believes that a biomarker is coming and has a lot of faith in it and has been a lot of work. Whoever develops a biomarker will have untold riches is it is something that involves intellectual property and licensing. USC wants someone like that and he has a lot of inactions and collaborations and is well known throughout the world. I think part of what is going on here is USC is coming in thing we want to be a national leader in biomedical research. To do that we need talent, research contracts and collaborators. In order to do that we need to extend into San Diego County were all of the things exist. The USC was here before trying to buy into the Scripps research Institute and it didn't happen. They've tried collaborations with Sanford Burnham. Now they have come down here and recruited someone at the head of the study and that person is saying fine, I will come with you and bring the money and UC San Diego is thing no, you want. As early on it is not unusual for researchers to move within institutions in academia, so what makes this kind of the accusations of conspiracy and poaching, and of course the lawsuit? It seems much more acrimonious than simply disagreement. Acrimony as part of this, I am nothing this much anger in a very long time it is very common for one prominent researcher to go to another research Institute and move his research there is no public lawsuits usually. But this involves so much more money than is usually involved. It involves the entire nation, it involves access to networks, collaborations, so it is a much bigger deal than the average person moving from one school to another and taking two or $3 million. How many researchers overall are working on this nationally? Is all that there are scores. There are at least 70 sites involved which involves hundreds of people and involves thousands of people in clinical trials and they do not want to do anything to upset that this is difficult to recruit people for trials. There are lots of reasons for that and if you get someone in their you do not want any legal challenges over who is organizing the study or where the results are going or where the data is going. It has blown up here is that USC has said we're taking control of the data in this study and we're taking custody of the study and Webber Wright to it has the doctor is the head of it. San Diego was saying he was the director of the study but is or these grants were made to us so it is a battle over custody and control. Right now it is kind of at a dead spot because the courts have not ruled in fact is in control. Information really is power and leverage in this instance. What is University of California San Diego, what do they say was how the sensors he worked? They said that months ago that Dr. Azan and some of the people he worked with and the University of Southern California again to come up with a way to control the study without telling anyone else. We do not know whether that was true there were communications back and forth and the doctor make clear that he made clear to the University he was unhappy with the way things were going. He felt that you see a San Diego was not supporting the study enough wasn't providing enough money for him to do the administrative things needed to keep the study going in the right way. The university says the opposite and the Chancellor told me that we give them all the money and a little bit money more than what he needed to do the work. It is a disagreement over controlling custody. You talk to both sides this week. Doesn't seem like there is really bad blood question or are they really going at this or is a legal posturing going on? The Chancellor said do not assume there is bad blood, I went up and talk to the Provost and he said something similar. There is a conciliatory tone, both said it's not make one deal ruinous to us working together. USC very much wants to come into San Diego and strike collaborations. It brings about $180 million of NIH money bit you see a San Diego brings $400 million to my much younger campus bring in all this money and USC wants to partner with schools like that and with Sanford Burnham, so it is looking for way to take control of the study in one way, but also keep the political climate going were other people do not distress them your fact that is what they said yesterday, we don't want San Diego to feel threatened and we don't want them to think that Los Angeles is taking over the San Diego scientific community. Is it just a matter bad PR or diplomacy here? Or are they getting a reputation of big footing some of these relationships and coming in by hook or crook in getting what they need? USC admits it has a lot of money, it is somewhere in the $6 billion, it is raised more than $4 billion and I talked to the Provost he said yes we do have a lot of money and we need to be responsible about it there was a lot of resentment last or when they came and try to acquire the Scripps research Institute and it was done in a very secretive way they were secret negotiations going on when the faculty found out, they flipped out. They did it for a lot of reasons, they do not want to give up control but also had to do with reputation. TSI is considered to be one of the most elite scientific institutions in the world. Faculty there told me we do not want to become part of the USC faculty. USC is not as prestigious at this point in time and sciences as TSRI or US San Diego or the Salk Institute. So the feeling is that USC is coming in employing these institutions. There is some sentiment that they are literally trying to buy credibility within the life sciences. Couple of seconds, what is the status of the lawsuit? USC signed a constraining you to order against you see a San Diego think because of an hacking into the information. They said no that did not happen. So the judge will respond to whether a restraining order should be placed against USC to prevent them from digitally touching the spirit of the judge comes in and says USC cannot do that it will raise a lot of questions about whether USC, in fact has any way into the state at all as a study monitor. Wheel was I see how it plays out I will watch her recording. An exercise in representative democracy is play out in Chula Vista. Voters in the County of the second-largest city divided the city into for Council District and the leaders are chosen by residents of those districts. This week the new district boundaries were set. Robert was telling us how their counsel was elected before it will change now. The city of Chula Vista is a targeted city before they had their elections at large [ Indiscernible-muffled speaker ]. Wherever they live. Correct. Now the game has changed. [ Indiscernible-heavy accent ] as opposed to electing elected officials all over town or just confined to one certain area of voting. You have to live in District 1 or live in District 3 in order to run a be elected from that district. Correct. And you can also move into a district. But that is how it works. And so the advantage to voters is that the ID will have folks who live there and work there and they shot the stores you do and they know your problems. Yes. If you have representatives on one side of the city they have no idea that roads are cracked on the west side but they have no idea either that the website has a homeless issue. Whereas if you have representatives sitting on the city Council from the west side of the district they know. They drive the roads and they see the rundown buildings and they see the homeless people standing out there everyday. And what about the mayor? He is still elected at large? Yes, the mayor and city attorney can live whatever they like and wherever they like and all voters and all districts can elect. But given to the process a little bit for choosing this district boundaries. The devil is in the details. How did it go and what are the concerns? You have the older, western side of Chula Vista, they felt shortchanged politically over the years, there was money in the affluent developments like Eastlake. The districting commission was assigned a task, a seven-member commission was assigned a task to formulate alliances based on census data and also based on public testimony. They came up with a proposed map and they had to modify it and there was more public input and that is how they came up with this current map. They really want to the public voice to be heard. Yes it was two separate groups, Asian the civic islander group as well as Southwest civic Association for the Southwest and another group that was representing Latino voters as well. It was divided at one point but eventually they agreed. Was a fairly acrimonious and did it get ugly? Not as ugly as was going on in the city of San Diego, that yes, at times. Everybody wants a slice of the pie and when you're talking about neighborhoods, I know that the black community in particular they wanted that community intact, they wanted the Asian businesses and restaurants and grocery stores contact and they did not wanted to be divided. The other groups felt like the Asian community is just thinking about themselves and not thinking about the whole city at large. Okay. Give us a sense overall. Another are a lot of breakdowns and numbers and specifics but give us a sense of the breakdown of voters. I see from your story nearly 100,000 are registered, how many Democrats and how many Republicans? 41% are Democrats and 27% are Republican, right now the current city Council the majority is Democrat as we speak there'd That is kind of the breakdown in San Diego. And didn't we go through some of this in recent years in San Diego where you what from at large and you went to districts? That was a while ago and was kind of a big fight and then the Democrats wanted the district elections because in the past the primaries were in the districts, but then you ran citywide in the runoff and the Republicans had the money really and the structure back then. They wanted more neighborhood grassroots organizing which they were better at. Now we know how powerful they have become. What is the most interesting dynamic here, and what happened in San Diego, remember we added a knife Council District, and that is the rise and the desire to carve out the Asian-Pacific Islander district and that is relatively new. On the San Diego city Council the have always had the Tina district usually represented by a Latino and often there is more than one, and one for African-Americans. It is not that carved out. In the redistricting and the added confluence, there is a strong push to make it an Asian-Pacific Islander. A short time left Robert on this topic. Asian Americans have not been very active politically but your sources that is changing. Yes. Now that we're separated into districts they want to see the first Filipino elected councilman or councilwoman on the dais now. They are making a big push for that and there's been a lot of public testimony about that. That will wrap this up. We'll have to watch and see how the all plays out in the 2016 election. That does wrap up another week of stories of the KP VS Roundtable, taking Michael small ones of the San Diego Union Tribune, Gary Robbins, and also Robin remain, I'm sorry Robin Marino of Startup news in Chula Vista. As a reminder all stores are available on our website K bps.org. Thank you for joining us today on the Roundtable, I am Mark Sower.

The stadium, the council and the mayor

The San Diego City Council voted 6-3 this week to approve $2.1 million for an accelerated environmental impact report for a replacement stadium in Mission Valley.

Councilmembers David Alvarez, Marti Emerald and Todd Gloria voted no.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer seems to believe that there is a chance the NFL will nix the Chargers’ plan to move to L.A. if San Diego appears serious about building a new stadium.

This seems an expensive long-shot to some. Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani, to name one, has said there is no way a legally defensible EIR can be completed in such a short time.

Next year, when the mayor must run for re-election, the stadium will no doubt still be an issue, so who's going to challenge him? Well, so far, nobody. The well-known Democrats — Lorena Gonzalez, Todd Gloria, and Toni Atkins are MIA in the candidate-filing department.

UC San Diego goes to court

A battle straight out of some kind of academic soap opera, over prestige and money and featuring, it is said, betrayal and chicanery, is taking place on two university campuses.

UC San Diego is suing the University of Southern California for poaching not only the head of the long-running, multimillion dollar Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study, but also as many as 23 researchers and the data itself.

Recruitment by one university of prominent faculty from another is not unusual. But UCSD alleges that USC committed illegal acts, including conspiracy and computer crimes and, for good measure, parked the data in an Amazon account not accessible by UC San Diego. USC, in turn, says the staff simply defected. The university also accuses UC San Diego of hacking.

UCSD continues to hold the multimillion dollar grant for the study from the National Institute on Aging, as it has since 1991.

Chula Vista divided by four

In 2012, Chula Vista voters approved Proposition B to divide their city of about 250,000 into four council districts. District voters would, from then on, elect one council member from among district residents. The mayor of Chula Vista would continue to be elected at-large.

That measure was completed this week when the city council voted to approve boundaries of four districts, each with a population of about 60,000.

It was not an easy process. Deciding district lines produced both alliances and disagreements, with some ethnic communities wanting to be grouped together and all fighting to have Southwestern College in their district.

Some residents believe that the west side of Chula Vista has been neglected, while newer developments such as Eastlake have flourished. They view the new districts as an antidote to the perceived favoritism.