Out Around Town – April 8, 2016

April 8, 2016

County Supervisor Greg Cox turned himself in on a campaign violation as soon as he realized he had a conflict of interest. The issue involves a vote he cast in his role as a member of the California Coastal Commission, a post he was appointed to by then-Assembly Speaker John Perez. Cox voted on the approval of an expansion at SeaWorld but he didn’t realize at the time that his wife, former Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox, held 500 shares of SeaWorld’s parent company stock in her IRA. The State’s Fair Political Practices Commission will most likely fine Cox $3,000 for the violation. The FPPC usually investigates complaints filed against politicians, not reports filed by the subject of the complaint himself. Cox has taken responsibility for the violation and offered to pay the fine out of personal funds. Nice surprise to see a politician take the lead in enforcing the law, even against himself.

Saturday, April 23rd, will mark the 46th Chicano Park celebration in Barrio Logan. The Park will host music, dancers, food and craft vendors, and custom low riders on display. First opened in 1970, Chicano Park is now listed on the California Register of Historic Resources and the National Register of Historic Places. The Park has been recognized as a major public art location for its iconic murals celebrating the past and continuing struggle of the Mexican and Chicano cultures. CalTrans designers took extraordinary steps to preserve the original murals when earthquake retrofitting improvements were made to the support structures of the freeway and Coronado Bridge. This year’s celebration theme is “Empowering Our Youth, Ensuring Our Traditions Live On”. Make sure to visit La Prensa San Diego’s booth at the celebration.

The cities of Escondido and Oceanside are the most recent in San Diego County to support the “complete streets” concept that includes pedestrians, bikes, and buses as well as cars in designing local streets. In Encinitas, the City Council voted 3-2 have its Traffic and Public Safety Commission draft its citywide plan. On the other side of North County, Oceanside has already received negative public input to its plan to reduce street lanes to accom- modate bike lanes, bus lanes, and pedestrian cross walks that many claim will slow traffic and add congestion when the plan is aimed at reducing both. A report released by the Complete Streets Task Force estimated that there are 1092 miles of local streets that may be good candidates for “complete streets” treatment.

The two top candidates for San Diego City Council District 3, which includes the East Village area of Downtown, don’t like the Chargers’ recently released plan for a downtown stadium and convention center expansion. Both Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward think a downtown stadium would limit better development of the last underdeveloped area of downtown. And both are opposed to public funding for any stadium. The two most prominent plans being floated include a downtown stadium near Petco Park with some sort of public funding through increased hotel room taxes and potentially direct funding in the form of public bonds. Maybe it’s just campaign positioning, but it comes at the same time that voters will be asked to support one or two ballot initiatives on the stadium issue. For now, the two competing plans released by the Chargers and the other by a group including developers and lawyers continue to work to build political and public support.

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