Why The Chronicle?
I've lived in San Diego for nearly six years now, and from the first moment I drove downtown after an interview that ultimately led to my residence in this fantastic place, I've known that I never want to leave.
There's something about this community that speaks to me. The people are generally fascinating and engaging. The weather, food, entertainment and quality of life exceed my requirements. The cost of living is sometimes surplus to my capacities, and yet in my time here, I've grown to love this city, despite not truly knowing it as well as I thought I did.
For the last three years, I've dedicated my professional life to exploring the American soccer industry from my position at soccerloco as Editor in Chief of SoccerNation.com - a locally-based online media outlet that covers the soccer ecosystem from every possible direction, particularly that of youth development via soccer. Through that platform I've become familiar with the surface level of what most casual observers accept for truth, and the layers of nuance that pervade the reality that so few come to ever truly recognize.
Naturally, when the Major League Soccer expansion proposal for San Diego surfaced in the wake of the Chargers departing for Los Angeles, I approached the story from the perspective of positivity. SoccerCity sounded like a dream come true for me and the circles I ran with. An MLS team, a new stadium that could be shared, a park for public recreational use, including open fields for pick up... I could go on and on. It was the kind of all-encompassing plan and proposal that looked to include something for everyone, whether they knew a 4-4-2 from a bag of flour.
But even at the peak of optimism that morning on the deck of the USS Midway in late January, I always knew there was more to come on this story. A few weeks after the big unveiling at which Mayor Faulconer, along with the unrelated Stones Mike and Nick proffered San Diego's expansion bid to the Commissioner of Major League Soccer, we found out that SDSU wasn't feeling the same sort of feels as myself and thousands of other early-adopters.
As we came to learn over the course of the next few months, San Diego State University, despite initially partnering with FS Investors in the early conception of this redevelopment project, had chosen to go in a different direction with a "different vision" for what the now-named SDCCU Stadium site.
I've never been much into politics or public policy, but nothing sparks civic engagement more than someone or a group of someones telling you what you can't do.
What I've come to understand over the course of the last year is that six years of residence in San Diego is just enough for me to learn how much I don't know about my home.
From a politics and public policy standpoint, from an education and school district point of view, from music to dining to entertainment, to sports, to transportation infrastructure and everything else that factors into the day to day lives of myself and my neighbors, I find myself with more questions than answers.
Home prices are rocketing up higher/faster than at any point in the build up the to great recession, 20 people died this past year and hundreds more took sick from the hepatitis A outbreak. We're building prototypes for the President's wall, despite being the world's busiest border crossing. We round up homeless people and occasionally remind them how little we care by nearly crushing someone in a trash compactor.
Our elected officials fabricate data and hope that we're too busy with our (fantastic) craft beers to notice inflated projections and counter-productive planning. And we kind of are. Whether its busyness, apathy, willful ignorance of our surroundings or some other reason that I've yet to identify, I get the sense that there is a distressingly small number of people who are actually civically engaged.
It's maddening. I'm no expert in these things, but I've been inspired by the events of recent months to become more aware of my surroundings. To take more of an active role in the narrative of San Diego. On the field I'm familiar with keeping my head on a swivel and linking play with my teammates. With this new project, I'll take that same #6 approach to this city's streets, libraries, markets, parks, bars, schools, boardrooms and beaches.
The word "chronicle" can refer to a factual written account of important or historical events in the order of their occurrence, or it can relate to the process of recording and or documenting events chronologically.
The San Diego Chronicle is my way of sharing what I see, what I think, what I witness and what I believe in with all of you. I'll keep this site updated with a mixture of written articles, recorded interviews, and video highlights of whatever happens to be relevant and compelling, with an eye towards painting a picture of what this city is all about today and everyday.
I want to meet as many people as I can and that I can come to understand what makes this city tick. I want to learn more about my community and its challenges. Its strengths.
2018 is going to be interesting.
I hope you enjoy it with me.