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When you sign a contract waiving your right to sue a company in court, you’re agreeing to settle disputes in a private, for-profit process of “arbitration.” And that is paid for by the corporation being challenged. Almost anyone who has signed a contract to buy a consumer service has signed one of these contracts.
In his second report on an investigation into the arbitration industry, Will Carless finds that if you take your dispute to arbitration, you’re almost certain to lose. The National Arbitration Forum, one of the largest providers of arbitration services, “was finding in favor of corporations in 99.8 percent of the thousands of cases brought before it,” Carless wrote.
One study found that exactly none of the scores of companies providing arbitration services are following the disclosure laws that obligate them to report on their work.
This is part two of our special report on the system. Here’s Part 1.
One Paseo Decision Delayed
City staff, who report to Mayor Bob Filner, have asked developers of the huge and controversial One Paseo project in Carmel Valley to resubmit an environmental impact report. We don’t know exactly what the request was or how long it will take the developers to comply because neither they nor the mayor would speak with reporter Andrew Keatts. It could have a major impact on the project, which includes both a large commercial and residential development.
The mayor doesn’t have a vote and cannot veto land use decisions but he does control city staff who can request things like this. And he has railed on this project before. He recently stopped another large project in its tracks.
City Heights Gets Creative on Funding
When redevelopment dried up, a lot of low-income communities took a big hit. Speak City Heights reporter Megan Burks reported on how communities like City Heights relied on redevelopment dollars to fund basic needs like street repair, and how they’re looking for replacement funding.
One study found that alternative source of funding could be found through a complex process under the Community Reinvestment Act. “Under the act, banks are pushed to inject dollars into low-income communities where investments are often perceived as too risky,” reported Burks. The study “concluded investment in street infrastructure would fall under the CRA’s purview,” she wrote.
Xolos Advance, “Ruthian Homers” at USD
If you’re a fan of the soccer team Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente, known around these parts as the Xolos, then you’ll want to catch up on the team’s most recent run at victory with our sports blogger Beau Lynott. “They have advanced to the quarterfinals of Copa Libertadores, the prestigious South American club championship,” Lynott wrote.
Lynott also highlighted a high-scoring baseball player who’s slugging his way to stardom right here at the University of San Diego. “Kris Bryant’s 30 homers in 54 games is tied for the 11th-highest total in NCAA history,” wrote Lynott.
Time For a Taxi Overhaul?
Next time you climb into a taxi cab, here are some facts to think about. The average cab driver in San Diego works 71 hours a week, often in 10 hour shifts. After paying for expenses, he makes about $4.45 per hour. The lease on his taxi cab can be as much as $1600 per month. KPBS reported that after it expires in June, San Diego will not renew its contract with the Metropolitan Transit System to regulate the taxi cab industry. Mayor Filner has assembled a task force to study reforming the taxi industry.
“Drivers face poverty earnings and working conditions that would be illegal if they were statutory employees rather than independent contractors,” said Peter Brownell, research director at the Center for Policy Initiatives.
San Onofre: Restart First, Investigate Later
“The restart of the San Onofre nuclear plant could be authorized before the conclusion of investigations into the conduct of the plant operator,” reported U-T San Diego. They referred to comments from Allison Macfarlane, the chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, made to a Senate committee yesterday. She told the committee the NRC’s report on restarting the plant will conclude “around the same time” as the NRC will finish investigating whether Southern California Edison provided accurate information to regulators.
“Let’s just say (if) SoCal Edison wasn’t honest in what they said to the commission and you allowed them to restart — it’s a problem,” Senator Barbara Boxer replied.
We previously laid out an explainer on the breakdown at the plant.
• Dwight Steet pedestrians, don’t be trippin’ over our most recent busted sidewalk at The Stumblr.
• The National Journal says Republicans like the chances of putting Carl DeMaio in the House of Representatives in 2014.
• Mayor Filner donned his webcam to appear on Huffington Post to talk about border crossing issues.
• Slain architect Graham Downes’ architecture firm will “officially close on June 30,” according to a press release.
• About 42,000 San Diegans owe the county more than $94 million in unpaid property taxes.
• Part of a bridge that holds up a section I-5 North in Washington collapsed yesterday. It was labeled “structurally deficient,” just like San Diego’s own Coronado Bridge.
SONGS Trek Delights… No One
In 2010, San Onofre engineers were busy planning the replacement of steam generators that would ultimately cause the shutdown of the plant two years later. But they were also busy doing something else.
10 News showed off a 2010 training video made by management at the time, in which they dress as the crew of “Star Trek” and use a training facility at the SONGS station as the mock “bridge” of the famous “Enterprise” ship. The result: “SONGS Trek,” complete with a well-eyebrowed Spock and lots of blinking lights.
Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled Graham Downes and had an incorrect byline.