Under the bridge

San Diego city officials are suddenly in a big hurry to build a multimillion-dollar bridge across the San Diego River in Mission Valley just east of the big Interstate 805 span. The reason: the city has promised the National Football League that it can use a city-owned parcel along the south side of the river for its so-called NFL Experience. That's a high-tech carnival of sorts linked to the 2003 Super Bowl to be held at Qualcomm Stadium. The city first tried to get the Experience held at the Del Mar Fair, but that fell through due to security costs and other issues, so it signed off on lending the league a vacant 15-acre parcel bisected by Camino del Rio North between the river and I-8. The bridge would link over to I Street on the north side of the river, connecting directly to the stadium parking lot. According to a recently released environmental impact report, the city would have to restore native vegetation on the site once the Super Bowl was over, and the bridge itself would permanently take out even more river plants and animals. The city claims that the bridge is needed whether or not the Experience is held, but Mission Valley activist Randy Berkman is skeptical, citing the danger of flooding and dramatically increased traffic in the previously pristine area.

Weak reinforcement Pacific Reinforcing Steel, Inc, of Santee is suing San Diego Ballpark Builders, the construction company set up by John Moores and his partners to build the downtown Padres stadium, for at least $6.7 million in what a suit claims is unpaid labor and material. According to the suit, filed in Superior Court here on June 5, the subcontractor says it signed a contract to install the reinforcing steel bars for the ballpark on June 7, 2000, and commenced to put up the steel. The company claims that Ballpark Builders, along with its partners, Nielsen Dillingham Builders, Douglas E. Barnhart, Inc., and Clark Construction Group of Maryland, "have failed, refused, and neglected to release appropriate progress payments and final payment." The suit also names National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh ... Bio.Org, the offical website for the upcoming Bio 2001 convention at the San Diego Convention Center, expected to bring thousands of protestors into town, announces that "It's going to be a zoo in San Diego." Meantime, Web surfers who type in www.bio2001.com find that it's a French porn site ... Democratic assemblywoman Christine Kehoe is having her annual fundraising luncheon on Friday, June 22, at the Holiday Inn on the Bay downtown. Tickets go for $125 each, or $500 for two tickets at the "Christine Kehoe Club" level, including admission to a VIP reception. Guest speakers include state senator Dede Alpert and Governor Gray Davis chief of staff Lynn Schenk. Sponsors include developer and port commissioner Peter Janopaul and his partner Anthony Block, developer Tom Carter, columnist Nicole Murray-Ramirez, and Gateway computer magnate Ted Waitt. In a "report card" that serves as the invitation, Kehoe gives herself an "A-plus."

Danon's demise Chalk up another embarrassing political loss for Union-Tribune editorial writers, who endorsed losing San Diego City Council candidate Steve Danon over winner Donna Frye. Others who took a hit in the Danon loss included his political consultants Tom Shepard and Larry Remer, who also lost big in last November's defeat of county supervisor Ron Roberts by Mayor Dick Murphy. Cox Communications, six of whose employees gave generously to Danon and had supported Roberts for mayor, was also shut out. The company has close ties to Padres owner John Moores ... Laguna Beach city councilman Wayne Baglin, who sits on the San Diego Regional Water Quality Board, where he is a key ally of local environmentalists, is in trouble for a $1.8 million land deal involving a city-sponsored senior center. The Orange County Register reports that Baglin, a real estate agent, accepted a commission on the sale of two parcels by one of his clients to the city. The deal has drawn fire from Laguna Beach mayor Paul Freeman and the League of Women Voters; the district attorney is looking into the matter.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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