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The Voice of San Diego Podcast

VOSD’s Friday roundup of the past week’s news in brief, featuring interviews with special guests and more.

Feb 24, 2017

Details of the SoccerCity plan have been unveiled, and pieces of it are already being scrutinized.

Nick Stone, partner with FS Investors, the group that wants to replace Qualcomm Stadium with a new joint-use soccer and San Diego State football stadium and develop new housing and entertainment on the adjacent land, joined podcast hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts this week to dig deep into the proposal.

Lewis laid out three main groups likely to oppose the SoccerCity plan: NIMBYs and environmentalists, rival investors who want the same plot of property and political institutions with concerns about how the public land is developed.

Stone addressed each potential challenge and answered big questions like why the deal is a long-term lease versus a purchase. He also addressed concerns about density, whether the deal is a public land grab and other issues that have come up, including SDSU's apprehensiveness.

Stone said it's hard for him to see the SoccerCity deal as anything but a gift to SDSU.

"What we're doing is giving them a stadium," he said. "They come out of that owning their game day revenues, minus their game day expenses, but only half of the operating cost, because we're staying on the hook for the other half. It is functionally exactly a gift."

San Diego Unified's Struggles 

San Diego Unified has to slash $124.4 million from next year's budget.

As details of the cuts have emerged, the district has been doing a big public relations push to try to explain why the cuts are happening.

In a recent interview with NBC 7 San Diego, district Superintendent Cindy Marten characterized the budget cuts as a "long-term structural deficit."

Lewis and Keatts analyze that claim, plus question whether the proposed cuts are, in fact, the type of permanent fixes that would solve the district's structural problems.

Also on this podcast, Lewis can't get over these pictures of Rep. Darrell Issa serving coffee at a local Starbucks.

Hero of the Week

Discovering new planets is cool, which is why UCSD physics professor Adam Burgasser and his team at the school's Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences get a big thumbs-up for their role in spotting seven Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting a nearby star.

Goat of the Week

National City Mayor Ron Morrison, at a Council meeting, voted in favor of asking SANDAG to investigate the agency's burgeoning forecasting scandal, but not before he noted that most of the seven board members who requested an investigation were newly appointed to SANDAG's board. It's true: Many of them are newly elected. Yet Morrison ignored the flip side of his observation: Most of the board members who had stayed silent on the issue were on the board when the scandal took place.