Inside Baseball and the ‘Blueprint San Diego’ Scam

by on July 26, 2021 · 64 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

By Mat Wahlstrom 

If you hang around journalists for any length of time, you’ll hear the term “inside baseball.” It’s the metaphor of choice for explaining the things that *don’t* get reported in a story.

Normally meant to describe the nuances of how political decisions are made, in San Diego it’s also about certain media collaborating with the players on whom they report.

The big teams in this league are lobbyist and issue advocacy nonprofits such as Circulate San Diego, BikeSD, the Climate Action Campaign, and Voice of San Diego. They improperly self-report to the IRS not as 501(c)4 “social welfare organizations” — for whom donors’ contributions are taxable yet can engage in political activity, but as 501(c)3 “charities” — which are restricted from political activity as a consequence of donors being able to wholly deduct their contributions.

Once you know the rules you can see how the game is played.

They pay no taxes on their millions in income and their customers write off their hundreds of thousands in lobbying expenses as donations. In turn, they endorse and fund-raise for our elected officials, who then use their positions to direct our government to appoint their board members, employees and associates to city positions, enact their proposals and pass their projects, and award them public contracts and grants — with the “sponsored” media calling the plays.

All of it paid for by you and me. And the cost is not just to our wallets but our democratic process.

Which brings us to Blueprint San Diego, a “Citywide” initiative to re-write the terms of elected community planning groups (CPGs) decision-making on their Community Plans.

Announced last week to great fanfare (and no scrutiny), it’s cut whole cloth from a paper that California Western School of Law somehow saw fit to publish in March 2020 by Colin Parent, executive director of Circulate San Diego and La Mesa city councilmember.

Without reciting all twenty-five pages, here is the central argument:

  • Local voters making decisions on their land use is bad because they’re local.
  • Therefore decision making on land use needs to be made at a higher level.
  • The only higher level that can be trusted is developer interests represented by proxies such as Circulate, etc.

It allows that “issues of design, character, and history may all be appropriate for decision-making at a project, or neighborhood level,” but everything else should be taken away. (Not-so-fun fact: this paper also crows about Circulate’s success at removing minimums for parking the past several years as a model for how to make these drastic changes under the radar.)

Community Plans are intended to provide fair and clear rules made by neighborhood determination for development to follow for a period of twenty years regarding land use, mobility, urban design, public safety, recreation, conservation, noise, and historic preservation.

But according to Circulate and its mayor-select, having CPGs decide on all those things is a major bummer for real estate speculation, so Blueprint is a plan to cut them out of the process. And this plan would not just to “speed up” approval of new Community Plans but make its rule changes retroactive to *all* the existing Community Plans.

Thankfully there’s still time to act. The Blueprint scam is still at its earliest stages. The first public hearing is set for Thursday, August 5, from noon to 2PM via Zoom. Attend if you can and sign up for updates from the city here

And if you have an old car, think about donating it somewhere else.

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank J July 26, 2021 at 3:13 pm

I understand the gist of the article. I have contributed to Voice of SD before and I don’t understand the negative implication.


Tom Mullaney July 26, 2021 at 4:15 pm

I believe that the author is saying journalists are supposed to be objective. They can’t rightly claim that their work is educational if it’s one sided. When reporters and editors get into a love-fest with Mayor Gloria, the public suffers.

The normal process for reviewing zoning is to update individual Community Plans, with substantial public input from residents and local businesses. The new “Blueprint” project from Mayor Gloria entails massive upzoning of the city: Not two or three communities, but most of the city, about 30 communities. It’s an attempt to force high density zoning from Carmel Valley to San Ysidro, via a top-down plan with minimal public input. We should reject it.


michael-leonard creditor July 26, 2021 at 4:22 pm

totally incorrect to include VoSD as an example in this article.


Marcie July 26, 2021 at 5:07 pm

Agree…totally incorrect to have included Voice of San Diego, they report and investigate issues.


Jabar July 31, 2021 at 11:07 am

Scott Lewis is a total fraud and so is the VOSD. Anyone saying they report and investigate must not be really paying attention


Scott Lewis July 31, 2021 at 12:49 pm

Please tell me how I am a fraud? Our investigations have uncovered waste, fraud and abuses for many years with significant impacts on local legislation and leadership. I could list the ones from just the past year but my thumb would get too tired. I work hard, employ 17 people, have 3,000+ donors and am willing to answer any question about our operation. I don’t deserve your insult.


Maggie McCann July 26, 2021 at 5:21 pm

VoSD is not innocent. I receive the Morning Report and What We Learned This Week regularly. Both are riddled with developer-friendly slights against San Diego residents, including a liberal use of NIMBY, and the latest, “Neighbors Who Hate Everything”. I have been an annual donor to them, but that stops after the latest NIMBY name calling.

Where this particular article could go next is from pointing out that lobbyists like CirculateSD don’t just stop at pushing their agendas at the elected politicians, they do most of the research and writing that goes into the “staff” reports presented to Councilmembers to support the “staff’s” recommendation. And then, a few naive questions from a Councilmember at a Council hearing is met with a few, vague and evasive answers from the staff presenter, the Council votes, and endorses the “Staff” recommendation. Shameful.


Mat Wahlstrom July 26, 2021 at 6:29 pm

Thank you, Maggie. You have expressed exactly why I include them; and more of what I could say by way of revealing the whole “inside baseball” in full in this article.

There’s so much still unsaid — consider this a ‘tip of the iceberg’ piece. And please keep contributing your insights.


Pete R July 26, 2021 at 5:51 pm

Editor Dude: I too find the Voice of San Diego accusation puzzling. Please have the author explain the connection, or use your authority as editor to correct the record and remove unsubstantiated associations like this. Thanks as always for supporting accurate journalism!


nostalgic July 26, 2021 at 6:23 pm

If anyone remembers Andrew Donahue at the Voice of San Diego, he is now at Reveal:
Times change.


BikeSD Secretary July 27, 2021 at 10:28 am

Hi Mat,

BikeSD doesn’t have “millions” in income. If you look at our form 990 and website you will see we recieve <$100k/yr in revenue and have one part time staff member. We are also in good standing with the IRS.

Thanks for playing anyways!


Mat Wahlstrom July 27, 2021 at 11:44 am


You’re also the secretary of BikeSD Outreach, another 501(c)3 with the same officers and directors as BikeSD, which reported $285,142.00 in income and $76,551 in assets as of 2019:,

And this isn’t a game.


BikeSD Secretary July 27, 2021 at 1:07 pm


BikeSD Outreach Inc is a 501(c)3 organization and the primary organization known as “BikeSD.”

BikeSD Inc is a much smaller 501(c)4 with some of the same board members, some different, that primarily engages in political activities.

The 501(c)3 does not endorse candidates, but does engage in advocacy such as advocating for bike infrastructure. You can see the 501(c)3’s strategic plan here:


Mat Wahlstrom July 27, 2021 at 1:47 pm

So, two entities composed of the same people with the same agenda, but the one that’s the political arm had $0 in income and the “charity” $285,000?

I’m not a CPA or a tax lawyer, but that sounds suspiciously like a front group.

In any event, thanks for sharing that doc. “Encourage BikeSD members and supporters to participate in community planning groups and neighborhood/city/county boards and commissions.”

Nice to see it admitted in writing that your people only seek office to push your partisan agenda and not because of any wider consideration of or concern for or connection with the community.


BikeSD Secretary July 27, 2021 at 2:08 pm

Yes, you aren’t a CPA or tax lawyer. Many 501(c)3’s have affiliations with 501(c)4s, such as Planned Parenthood:

BikeSD members are San Diegans, neighbors, and members of their community, so yes, we absolutely do encourage them to be a part of their community’s planning.


Mat Wahlstrom July 27, 2021 at 2:57 pm

Well aware of Planned Parenthood, glad to give to them.

The point is, their charity actually does charitable work and their political affiliate clearly political activity, with a clear separation of monies. As I said and you have shown is that BikeSD under either filing status is *only* engaged in the exact same political activity and apparently commingling funds.


Brer Marsh July 31, 2021 at 8:32 pm

Hi Mat,

Thanks for mentioning BikeSD as one of the “Big Teams”. It may be the nicest thing you’ve ever said about us. Seriously. As an all volunteer group with $0 marketing budget we rely a lot on word of mouth and even though this isn’t intended to be flattering it is actually nice to see that our work is getting noticed.

Just so people are aware, we don’t accept old cars as donations but we do take old bicycles which we fix and give away for free to those in need. Anyone with an unused and working bicycle that they no longer ride is welcome to donate at the link below. Donors can connect directly with a needy recipient without our involvement or they can drop it off to us if it needs some repairs. We will spend up to $50 on each bike which will then be given away for free to someone in need. I do most of the repairs myself.

Ride On!


Mat Wahlstrom July 31, 2021 at 9:07 pm

Curious timing your finally replying to pull Nevo out of the oopsie he got himself into — as you do on Twitter,

Care to explain to everyone here how you’re not living in Uptown, nor employed in Uptown, nor able to vote in an Uptown election, yet think you’re entitled to serve on the board of Uptown Planners — other than where you buy coffee or your BikeSD agenda?


Brer Marsh July 31, 2021 at 9:43 pm

Finally? I didn’t realize you were waiting. Again, I’m flattered and had no idea you were expecting a comment from me. Send me a link next time.

I don’t need to explain my status on the board as it’s been reviewed multiple times thanks to your challenges to mu status. Not that it’s any of your business but I did actually vote in the recent Uptown elections. Have fun figuring out how I did that.


Paul Webb July 27, 2021 at 11:29 am

Not to get too far down into the weeds on this, but 501(c)3 organizations are only prohibited from getting involved in political campaigns, candidate endorsements, contributions to candidates, etc. There are a number of political activities that they can either conduct or contribute to, including voter education and voter turn out, as long as it is not biased in favor of one candidate over another. Of course, some of these activities can walk a pretty fine line and there can and will be abuses.

And, not to quibble, but I believe the writer was talking about non-profit organizations in the aggregate, not singling out Bike SD or even just local 501(c)3’s.


Mat Wahlstrom July 27, 2021 at 12:13 pm

Thank you, Paul. That is correct.

I would also emphasize that not a one of these orgs is engaged in any charitable activity. As far as I can tell they are wholly devoted to political action — which is why each should file as a 501(c)4.


Paul Webb July 28, 2021 at 10:05 am

Agreed. I was on the board (ExCom) of the local chapter of the Sierra Club, which is organized as both (c)4 and (c)3, so that we could engage in political activities as well as conducting our educational and recreational programs, like our outings, wilderness basics course, etc. Of course, it made for some really complicated accounting to ensure that we did not raise or spend money for both types of organization inappropriately. You have to be really careful not to jeopardize your tax exempt status by spending money from one pot that should have been from the other.

Just because I like to start things: Why are churches give tax exempt status? As far as I know from my own experiences, most of the money contributed goes to running the church, paying its bills, feeding and housing the priest/minister, etc., and little if any money is spent on charity. Given the fact that there are churches that get involved in partisan political campaigns (i.e., endorsing candidates from the pulpit), they should be given a much closer scrutiny. Of course, that will never happen.


Geoff Page July 28, 2021 at 10:20 am

Amen, Brother Webb, boy do I agree with the comment about the churches.


sealintheSelkirks July 28, 2021 at 4:23 pm

As do I! What a scam this has always been… I vaguely remember way back when reading that the Catholic Church was the 2nd largest land owner after the Federal government. Probably not anymore but still…no taxes? It’s not as if they don’t promote certain political views anyway with their controlled audiences!



Mat Wahlstrom July 27, 2021 at 12:00 pm

First of all, glad to see that many people agree with my criticism of the other three orgs I mention. But when an VoSD “news item” has any connection to mobility or land use topics, their bias is clear.

Exhibit A would be this hatchet piece, Its author misrepresents the results of the loaded survey he’s supposedly writing about and only quotes Circulate and those who agree with him — not any of the CPG members he’s criticizing. Nor did he mention his ties to Circulate, (the screen cap will have to do, as Circulate scrubbed evidence like this after I pointed it out).

And a look at their explicitly labeled opinion pieces on these topics reveals similar bias,

My take on VoSD is not dissimilar to the Longfellow poem:
“When she was good,
She was very good indeed
But when she was bad she was horrid.”


Geoff Page July 27, 2021 at 12:44 pm

I was a VOSD contributor because I believed I had found an objective newspaper. That changed when I criticized an article because the language used showed a clear bias. I got into a back and forth with Scott Lewis who told me there was no such thing as objectivity. In fact, they had a section on their website as guidance for their reporters titled “There is no such thing as objectivity.” That seems to be gone now. That was fine with me but their image of objectivity was ruined for me. They do some good reporting but they do have an agenda and seem more and more establishment friendly as time goes by.

I liked this sentence in the article, “(Not-so-fun fact: this paper also crows about Circulate’s success at removing minimums for parking the past several years as a model for how to make these drastic changes under the radar.) This is my problem with some in the cycling groups “how to make these drastic changes under the radar.” This is their tactic now and they do things like make vague planning board agenda descriptions of changes that no one but their own groups know about. Or contacting friendlies in the city to have changes made with no community input such as the goddamned No Turn On Red at Famosa and Voltaire. These people believe they know what is best for the community and don’t want the community interfering with that.

It does not matter how noble a goal is, if it is achieved using nefarious tactics, and sense of nobility is tarnished.


Scott Lewis July 31, 2021 at 12:56 pm

This misrepresents my thoughts. But in general, no journalists live here and care about the quality of schools, roads, parks and life. They aren’t objective about things like murder or corruption or wasting water etc. I’m sorry I don’t toe your line of opposing all changes to a neighborhood but that absolutely does not mean I align with the “establishment” which I fight every day.


Michael A Jacobs July 31, 2021 at 3:43 pm

I’m not sure whether your position here is more disingenuous or unprofessional, but it most certainly mis-characterizes journalism. I first took journalism in high school and the VERY FIRST thing we learned was that reporting is to be objective, and if you are editorializing, put it on the editorial page. For the past several decades, journalism has suffered greatly due to those who excuse blurring the line between objective reporting and editorial commentary, and you are admitting to being part of the problem.


Frank Gormlie July 31, 2021 at 5:29 pm

I think what’s being overlooked here is the critique of “objective journalism” that was made by the underground press in the 60s and 70s. The mainstream media believed in their “truth” and “news” without understanding that they carried the weight of multiple biases, from what was covered in the press, who was covered and by whom. For instance, advertisers are touchy, especially large corporations but small companies and entities who may be the subject of news reports (mostly negative). So, advertisers mean a lot to some media. This is a start. It also happened again during the Bush years when there wasn’t any liberal pundit on TV and the newspapers all parroted the Bush push for war – how did that work out?

There never is objective journalism; sure, who did what to whom can be objective, and people appreciate that. But beyond that, the prejudices of the journalist and their media form are in control. If you’re a backer of the establishment or support charter schools without a blink or follow the YIMBY way without a thought, then you are burdened by your burdens.


Scott Lewis July 31, 2021 at 6:26 pm

Also Frank let me just say it is fucking hilarious you think protecting homeowners from the horror of more housing nearby during a housing crisis is some counterculture vanguard and not the definition of establishment and conservatism. And we exposed fraud in Charter schools while you were endlessly naval gazing about how to protect community “character” or hammering someone else for racism while you work relentlessly to keep OB homogeneous. You are the establishment.


Mat Wahlstrom July 31, 2021 at 6:39 pm

And there it is. Thank you for proving the truth of what I wrote in this piece.


Scott Lewis July 31, 2021 at 6:41 pm

Your piece is nonsensical and ignorant of law and tax code but sure buddy, good job.


Mat Wahlstrom July 31, 2021 at 6:52 pm

Not hearing you say I’m wrong about your org and these other developer front groups advocating on behalf of developer donors in lockstep to promote their agenda.

Think you’ve changed the minds of the VoSD supporters who started the comments defending you on this thread?


Scott Lewis July 31, 2021 at 7:24 pm

There are many factual problems and logical flaws I would have been happy to help you understand if you’d had the professionalism to call me before attacking. I need to spend time with my family. I apologize for my tone. I should not have engaged.


Mat Wahlstrom July 31, 2021 at 7:55 pm

Very professional — sneaking in one last shank before you shut down reply. It really is your signature move.

Scott Lewis August 1, 2021 at 3:01 pm

Not sure what the “shank” is. I apologized for my tone and for having engaged before I had to leave and said I would have been happy to talk if you had had the courtesy of calling me before attacking my organization and work.


Mat Wahlstrom August 1, 2021 at 3:55 pm

My piece simply points out the obvious: that your reportage aligns with the policy positions of the developer donors you have in common with these and other groups they sponsor.

There was no personal attack in it. Unlike your comments, which rather than provide evidence to the contrary resorted to name-calling and passive-aggressiveness.

I neither need your help nor permission to protect your feelings from the sting of the truth.

Finally, since I don’t care to spend another day engaged in discussion with a bad faith actor, I’ll just point out how VoSD has reported about my actions many times without once having been “professional” enough to have the “courtesy” to reach out, instead cribbing from other news sources to pad your own stories,

But suffice to say I have no interest in doing so should you deign to in the future.

Roy McMakin July 31, 2021 at 7:52 pm

Um, Scott are you suggesting a funky little periodically that has miraculously survived on free labor and bake sales for decades is the establishment? I wish I lived in a world where that was the case. Again, you seem to want to spin and simplify what needs to be a complex land use dialog in this city, ideally fueled by serious investigative journalism.


Frank Gormlie July 31, 2021 at 8:24 pm

Wow, dude, I’ve been called many things, but never “establishment.” I’ll have to go to see if my check from a big charter school advocate is there. Nope, just my social security check. I used to hear, Scott, that you made $100K a year with the Voice but I don’t believe it.

Uh, Scott, there’s not a “housing crisis” – there’s plenty of housing out there, it’s just not affordable. There’s a affordable housing crisis. And we’ve never been against affordable places. Take a look in the Sunday U-T if you think there’s no housing in the county.

Unlike you apparently, we believe OB has a character worth fighting for, even though you used to live in OB, I believe, and took personal advantage of the countercultural makeup. And by the way, we’ve never “work(ed) relentlessly to keep OB homogeneous” and have tried to expose racism and white supremacy in the beach community and elsewhere, and have supported the Black Panthers, Black Lives Matter and Chicanos and Mexican-Americans and the First Peoples.

We support residents, property owners and business people in their community having a grand say in how their community is developed by private interests and managed by government. Scott, I’m sure you’re aware of the battle OB residents had to wage to prevent the waterfront being turned into a tourist mecca and wild west show for apartment developers back in the 1970s. OB fought to have the very first democratically elected planning board in the history of the city.

Anyhow, I’m impressed by the discussion – and Scott, you’ve never come on to the Rag to make comments like this before. Congrats! BTW, I check out the VoSD every other day and often quote from articles and share links to the site with out readers.


Scott Lewis August 1, 2021 at 2:58 pm

Couple points:

– wealthy people will always be able to buy homes. If you don’t build more market rate than they’ll simply gentrify more affordable areas. But you also fight affordable projects so …

– I didn’t used to live in OB. I live in, and volunteer many hours every week here in OB.


Paul Webb August 1, 2021 at 4:10 pm

I’m not sure if I really want to get involved in this thread, but I feel compelled to point out the obvious: market rate housing is NOT affordable, nor will it be for much of its usable life. The economics of trickle down economics is that it, uh, trickles down. But not today and not tomorrow. It generally becomes “affordable” only nearing the end of its life cycle.

I checked out the prices of the new micro housing units at The Haven on W. Point Loma Blvd. The “sit up loft” (I’m not even sure what that is) starts at $1475 per month. By my calculation, someone earning $15.00 per hour, which is much higher than current minimum wage, grosses $2400 per month, before payroll taxes and other deductions. So, even without deductions that level of rent amounts to 61% of that level of income, which, by HUD definition is not affordable. In fact, that is over double HUD’s definition of affordable. I know that in San Diego the HUD definition of affordable is a fantasy, but there you go.

A “stand up” loft (I assume that means that you can stand up in the sleeping loft area rather than a ceiling that is so low that you can only sit up) is higher and a two-bedroom is $2900 per month. This is what market rate housing costs and is clearly not affordable for many, particularly for those in the low-wage service economy jobs in San Diego.

At the most recent Peninsula Community Planning Board meeting, I pressed the Mayor’s representative, who was promoting the current new housing plan as the means to provide “affordable” housing, to explain how the plan defined affordable what mechanisms were in the plan make sure that the housing constructed under the plan remained affordable, by whatever definition. His response was that he didn’t want to get down into the weeds on this.

I want to believe in the Mayor’s vision, and I want to live in a city and a community that has housing available to all levels of income. Merely increasing the number of units produced will not achieve this goal.

I’m not saying I have the answer to the housing problem, but I know that simply building more housing, particularly market rate housing, is definitely not the answer.


Bernie King August 2, 2021 at 3:59 pm

I understand your point, i.e. that building a *tiny* amount of new market rate housing doesn’t do anything to change the admittedly expensive current market prices. But it is economics 101 that if demand for a thing stays the same and supply increases, the market price for that thing will decrease. Conversely, if supply decreases and demand stays the same, prices will increase. I don’t think you would disagree that changes to the supply of housing affect the market price.

The questions I have are (1) how much new market rate housing supply is being proposed? (2) under current economic estimates, how much impact will this new proposed supply have on the market price of housing? and (3) how much new supply would we need to add in order to bring market prices down to an acceptable, if not affordable, level? That’s not to say we should recklessly add massive new housing developments without consideration of all consequences, but if a proposal increasing the supply of market rate housing will have a meaningful impact on market prices, it seems like we should consider whether it can be done in a responsible way. As it is, however, we don’t know whether the Mayor’s plan will have any meaningful impact on market prices.


Paul Webb August 3, 2021 at 9:16 am

Economists use the phrase “ceteris paribus” or, in non-dismal-science speak, if all relevant things remain unaltered. So, if additional housing is added to the supply, then, ceteris paribus, the aggregate cost will go down as supply ultimately matches or exceeds demand. However, the relevant factors rarely, if ever, remain unaltered. And people rarely live in aggregate housing, just the one dwelling in which they reside.

New housing is not occurring on green fields, or even brown fields. Currently, the usual pattern is to demolish an older, potentially “affordable” home and replacement with one or more homes of considerably higher value, given today’s real estate land costs and rapidly accelerating construction costs. So, yes you have added housing inventory, but at the expense of housing that might have been affordable to a person of low or moderate income.

Second, unless subsidized by the government in some fashion, nobody builds for the bottom of the market. All you have to do is look around our community and see smaller, two or three bedroom homes demolished and replaced with McMansions with four or five bedrooms and considerably larger than the home they replaced. Or in the case of adding accessory dwelling units, building a four bedroom home on the same site as a smaller two bedroom home (one like this was recently heard by the PCPB). So, again, more housing, but more expensive housing.

To directly answer your question: (1) Who knows? Under the new rules and those proposed in SB10, there are so few controls that it is not possible to even guess how much will be built. (2) I would guess very little, because of the reasons I have stated above. (3) Again, who knows? And, again, I think that the question it self is meaningless, in that, unless subsidized in some fashion, the housing will be so expensive as to not have an impact on the availability of affordable housing, at least in the near term.

Your second to last sentence actually hits the point of this whole discussion. What we are doing is proposing to build massive new housing developments (e.g., the NAVWARS project) without consideration of all consequences. And we are doing this without actually realizing any housing goals. We’re building market rate housing and hoping for trickle down.

Hope is rarely an effective strategy.

Michael A Jacobs July 31, 2021 at 7:16 pm

I acknowledge that it is one thing to fail to live up to ideals of objectivity, but it is another thing entirely to utterly abandon them. Objectivity is an important principle, and just because it’s hard to achieve doesn’t mean its not worth it. One way to move in that direction would be to disclose all the money that could potentially cause such a conflict. Which if I am understanding this debate correctly, VOSD can’t or won’t do.


Michael A Jacobs July 31, 2021 at 10:30 pm

I was there too, with W. and the war. I was horrified when they squelched Phil Donahue, for one example. It was a new low point in the debasement of reporting. In many cases, this was when the standard slipped and fell, and when conjecture and opinion being reported as news, and not editorial content, ascended. Often partial truth is the worst lie. Even when the reporting is objective, the choice about what to report, and what is left unsaid, may be quite a bit less than even-handed. I’ve been mostly a consumer of alternative and underground reporting since the 1980s, and appreciate under-reported stories being brought to light. I see that as an effort to restore balance, maybe even aiming towards a more comprehensive view, rather than merely countering one bias with another. Shining a light on otherwise neglected stories is a focus, but the aim when doing that exposure can still be, in the best sense, objective. This is why it is so important to state what you are about up front, as you have with the OB Rag. You’re not hiding anything, and it is only hidden agendas that run counter to honest journalistic intent. I am always interested in how objective truth is discovered and validated.


Scott Lewis July 31, 2021 at 6:07 pm

I appreciate the lecture about my profession. We believe in transparency. This is our perspective in more clear language.


Michael A Jacobs July 31, 2021 at 7:18 pm

Claiming that you support transparency is not the same thing as being transparent.


Scott Lewis July 31, 2021 at 7:27 pm

I’m aware. There’s no more transparent news organization around. What would you like to know? (I’ll be responding tomorrow. I have to stop.)


Michael A Jacobs July 31, 2021 at 10:10 pm

Thank you Scott, I appreciate the offer. I share your interest in transparency. I believe that fairness and an open forum with all stakeholders involved, and all intentions made clear is the best approach, and transparency is critical.


Roy McMakin July 31, 2021 at 7:27 pm

Scott, as I see it, you are simply stating (via your comments and the link to your values) that your organization exists to provide commentary from a particular perspective, which is fine. That’s all Mat and the various folks commenting are suggesting you do. Whether your bias is intentionally or coincidentally the same as the other organizations Mat connects you with is something you know and we don’t.


Geoff Page August 1, 2021 at 12:44 pm

What happened to the guide you had for reporters that was headlined “There is no such thing as objectivity?” I saw it several years ago when I complained about a story and you showed that to me on your site. Seems to be gone.


Scott Lewis August 1, 2021 at 2:51 pm

That’s a pretty old document but it’s still there:

This is our what we stand for principles;


Geoff Page August 1, 2021 at 7:47 pm

Yes that was what I was looking for. But Reporters Guidelines is not in the drop down menu on your site under About Us.


Geoff Page August 1, 2021 at 12:47 pm

What happened to that spot on your site showing guidance for your journalists that was headlined “There is no such thing as objectivity?” You pointed it out to me on your site but it seems to be gone now.


Geoff Page August 1, 2021 at 12:48 pm

It looked to me like my first comment didn’t go through, sorry for the repetition.


Roy McMakin July 31, 2021 at 7:39 pm

Scott, are you reporting Geoff Page told you he is “opposing all changes to a neighborhood”? I’ve read him quite a bit in the OB Rag and I find him to be smart and endeavoring to communicate thoughtful nuances. To me the decision to describe his viewpoint so simplistically is useful only if someone wanted to frame land use and other discussions as being about good guys and bad guys. I realize its easier to foment tribalism for political gain that way, but I think its ultimately harmful to communities.


Keith July 27, 2021 at 10:02 pm

Great article.
Keep up the pressure on these guys.
They need to be stopped before they ruin all of San Diego.


nostalgic July 28, 2021 at 6:17 am

A large number of 501(c)3 organizations file as “Educational.” From the IRS web site: “Organizations organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, educational, or other specified purposes and that meet certain other requirements are tax exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).” These can include support “To foster national or international amateur sports competitions” and were originally designed to determine tax-exempt status. Your definition of a charity may be more restrictive than that of the IRS.


Mat Wahlstrom July 28, 2021 at 7:08 am

Thanks for the providing more context, nostalgic. It helps to better clarify my claim that it’s not my definition of a 501(c)3 that’s too restrictive, it’s that many of these groups defining their overt and exclusively political activities as qualifying under it is too expansive.

The examples of 501(c)4 orgs provided by the IRS that I believe back my point: “A community association that works to improve public services, housing and resi­dential parking…”; and “A community association devoted to preserving the community’s traditions, ar­chitecture and appearance by represent­ing it before the local legislature and administrative agencies in zoning, traffic and parking matters.” (Or working against them, as the case may be.)

Interpretations can be elastic, but can’t be stretched indefinitely before they snap.


Jabar July 31, 2021 at 11:23 am

Mat you are spot on! You absolutely nailed it. And it’s actually probably worse than we can imagine. Not sure if you’ve ever read Under The Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See, but it backs everything you are saying, should be required reading for San Diegans.


Monica Ball August 2, 2021 at 12:59 am

Hey Guys,
Just found this. Please could we get back to the low income housing production conversation? The built environment is one of the very few things on the planet humans control 100%. Knowing how desperately we need more truly affordable housing, for all the reasons all of you mentioned & more, and not building it is like bees complaining about not having enough hives. Well, who is in charge of hives? They need to get on it or the whole colony will suffer. This burden of insufficient built environment/housing needs to be remedied. And it’s a totally feasible proposal. Here’s the best part – an amazing local economic engine & jobs generator can be created in the process of building supply to meet demand. San Diego just needs to decide to become the incubator for innovative housing, like we did craft brew!

Here’s the thing – 3,000 homes were built in 200 days in 1941 in Linda Vista for Convair employees hired to build WW11 airplanes.,_San_Diego#:~:text=Schools%20and%20Universities-,History,workers%20for%20the%20war%20effort

Certainly we should be able to meet or beat our housing production of 70 years ago. And it should not take a war for us to decide to do that !

Yes I do think innovative housing can be the new craft. Others way smarter than me do too. Might be time for a VOSD Community Conversation on Low Income Housing at Karl Strauss, the brewery that launched the industry here. Kris Cramer said he’s ready ? ?
Huge thanks for all thoughts!


Monica Ball August 2, 2021 at 1:01 am

Oops! Yes I do think innovative housing can be the new craft BREW:)


Monica Ball August 2, 2021 at 1:09 am

Concur Jabar – That book is so enlightening! Old but accurate.


Mat Wahlstrom August 16, 2021 at 3:00 pm

This Wednesday, 8/18, is the deadline to submit public comments on the proposed Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) scope and alternatives for the ‘Blueprint San Diego’ scam. To ensure timely delivery, email them directly to with the project name in the subject line.

The link to the public notice with the subject information and map is here,

Note again that the affected area is “Citywide,” so what you see proposed will affect everyone who lives in San Diego.


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