Morning Report: ‘Maybe We Can Both Make Some $ …’

By Ry Rivard

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FieldTurf USA turned failure into opportunity when dozens of its artificial turf fields quickly fell apart at local public schools.

Though schools paid hundreds of thousands of dollars per field to get what FieldTurf called “the best,” some of those fields frayed, faded and shed after only a few football seasons — years before their eight-year warranty ran out.

Instead of replacing the fields, no questions asked, FieldTurf salesman Tim Coury found a way to wring more money from public schools, according the second part of Ashly McGlone’s four-part series on FieldTurf and the public education dollars that went to the company’s faulty fake fields.

Coury told San Diego State University about a “2 for 1 offer” that he called “fantastic.” The email offer was Coury’s way of trying to make a free warranty field replacement contingent on the purchase of a new field for a different area of campus.

Coury also employed questionable methods to get new contracts, public records obtained by Voice of San Diego show.

In the worst example, he emailed a teacher he knew at an Oceanside high school that “maybe we can both make some $ if you can help me ‘close the deal’ !!”

If you’ve got something to say about the issue, let us know.

Plaza de Panama Project: It’s Happening

“Thank you, City Council, for approving Plaza de Panama project. The grand restoration of Balboa Park can finally begin!” tweeted San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer after the 8–1 vote at the City Council to approve the financing plan for the project. Only Council President Sherri Lightner opposed the plan.

It’s not quite ready to break ground. The committee supporting the plan has some work to do to raise the money philanthropists pledged and the project’s long nemesis, the Save Our Heritage Organisation, promised another lawsuit (though it’s unclear about what).

But the project has all the permits it needs and now, it has a financing plan in place. Here’s the KPBS story of the City Council meeting and you can review our analysis of how it’s going to be funded.

Howard Blackson, an urban design, weighs in on the project in a new guest commentary. He urges the city to get world-class designers to help design the new bypass bridge that would be a part of the project.

Poll: Faulconer No. 2 in 2018 Governor Race

A bunch of data points seem to be indicating that Faulconer will run for governor in 2018. He appeared at an event to discuss the governor’s race at Stanford Monday. And now, a new Field Poll has him in second behind Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. Of course, he has said he won’t do.

In Other News

The port of San Diego gave the green light to a 70-acre, $1.2 billion development along the downtown waterfront last week. If history teaches us anything, it’s that waterfront development doesn’t always go as promised, so there are four things to watch for if the project starts to change. (inewsource)

Voters in El Cajon approved a new way of electing City Council members — by district, rather than city-wide. The change is expected to bring more diversity to the council. (KPBS)

The congressional race between incumbent Republican Darrell Issa and Democratic challenger Doug Applegate remains too close to call because of uncounted votes. Some analysts are bullish on Applegate. Yet, it’s not too early for Issa to say that if he ends up losing it will be “illegal, unregistered voters” who cost him the election.

The Union-Tribune takes a quick look at President-elect Donald Trump’s top donors in San Diego.

The CEO of a Del Mar-based network security company is on administrative leave after threatening to kill the president-elect. Matthew Harrigan, the head of PacketSled, has apologized for the comments. (NBC San Diego)

Six hundred sailors returned to San Diego after six months at sea aboard two destroyers. (ABC 10)

A City Heights fistfight at a family gathering turned into a deadly shooting when the gunman killed one and injured three others. The gunman was shot by police. (NBC San Diego)

There is still a police shortage in San Diego. (Union-Tribune)