The city of Oceanside recently sent out a public notice announcing plans to “Apply a 7.5% across-the-board increase to the City’s internal fixed and variable water rates.”

The four-page document included lots of confusing charts and the type of jargon us normies outside the water industry find difficult to understand. The 7.5 percent figure doesn’t appear until the very bottom of the last page.

Problem is, even for those who managed to wade their way through the document, O-side’s rates are actually going up a lot more – about 18.9 percent. That’s what Voice of San Diego’s Ry Rivard found out when he looked into the water rate increase for a new Fact Check.

Oceanside’s convoluted announcement was the city’s response to Proposition 218, an amendment to the state Constitution that requires water departments to notify customers of price hikes.

The trouble with Prop. 218, Rivard said, is that it doesn’t specify how folks should be notified. The result has been a crap shoot of messages from water agencies when it comes time to ask for more money that vary from clear to cloudy.

Op-Ed: CEQA Levels the Playing Field

There’s no doubt CEQA, the state’s premier environmental law, has been used for purposes outside of benefiting the environment. We recently covered a handful of examples of CEQA lawsuits resulting in big cash settlements and labor agreements but no obvious environmentally friendly changes to projects.

Escondido attorney Everett DeLano notes the steady stream of complaints of CEQA abuse, but in a new op-ed, he writes that the complainers who challenge the motives of those who file cases often have questionable motives of their own.

“Frankly, I don’t think the complainers are worried about CEQA abuse at all. I think they don’t like the fact that CEQA turns the normal system on its head – not-so-wealthy people and nonprofit groups can sue agencies and wealthy companies to ensure that the conversation about a project is a little more honest.”

The City’s Most Political Planter Boxes

An Encanto community group added nice wooden planter boxes and benches to a small strip of land near the violence-plagued intersection of Euclid and Imperial Avenues in Lincoln Park.

What they didn’t do was get the proper permits, Andrew Keatts noted last week. The city’s code enforcement division sent a letter that said they’d have to remove the boxes and benches.

Over the weekend, the group had planned to do just that, but instead an area attorney advised them not to since the letter also mentioned a right-of-way permit necessary to remove the amenities from the public property.

KPBS reported that the boxes and benches will stay for now. The group’s organizer told KPBS he wants to “make lemonade out of lemons” by attempting to work through the city’s official channels in hopes of keeping the improvements in place. He also wants to make the permitting process easier for everyone to navigate.

The Binational Bridge That Reached Across Aisles

Tijuana’s airport, and its airlines’ awesomely cheap flights, will be a lot easier for San Diegans to access soon.

Voice of San Diego’s Liam Dillon writes for The Washington Post about a new pedestrian walkway that will bypass the clogged U.S. border crossings and link San Diego to Tijuana’s international airport.

The bridge to the airport stands in stark contrast to the dialogue happening between GOP presidential candidates, some of whom want to wall off the border. But Republicans in San Diego see things much differently.

“While Trump and other GOP presidential candidates push for a giant wall between the United States and Mexico, San Diego is literally building a bridge,” Dillon writes.

The new bridge is in addition to the $741 million expansion effort at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. The project’s being implemented in phases to help free up the flow of binational traffic and open up more business opportunities between the two countries.

The effort’s seen some bipartisan support since cross-border commerce is a language both parties speak.

All Eyes on Carlsbad Desalination Plant

The desalination plant built in Tampa, Fla., was a huge belly flop. Meanwhile, those behind the huge desalination plant in Carlsbad opening early next year are hoping their new facility will be more like a smooth swan dive.

The Associates Press pointed to Carlsbad’s desal plant as the potential harbinger of hope for the future of seawater desalination in the country. San Diego County Water Authority officials told the AP that they’ve vowed to “Tampa-proof” their effort to ensure success.

Whether the plant’s launch goes smoothly or not, the latest AP story and Voice’s past coverage echo similar sentiments from stakeholders – while drinking the ocean seems reasonable, desalination’s high cost and threat to marine life means it’s not the only or best solution to the state’s drought.

Quick News Hits

• Southern California’s newspaper market has seen more than its fair share of upheaval lately. The owners of the Orange County Register filed for bankruptcy protection over the weekend and the Los Angeles Times reports that its parent company, Tribune Publishing, which also owns The San Diego Union-Tribune, could put in a bid for ownership.

• “Coercion, force and fraud” are typically how young women get sucked into the sex-trafficking trade. The U-T continues to look into the issue after the University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University recently released a study on the impacts of sex trafficking on girls in San Diego County.

• Nonprofit Connect has been helping local tech ventures get off the ground for the last three decades. (U-T)

• More than a dozen current and former volunteers at the county Department of Animal Services went to the U-T with serious concerns about conditions and practices within the facilities. Among the chief concerns – officials are too quick to put down perfectly good pets.

Nursing Is Not a Crime

I breastfed my baby twice while writing the Morning Report. Coincidentally, it turns out that the San Diego Nursing in Public Task Force, which has an interesting backstory, is in the middle of raising money to help build a website that will attempt to make breastfeeding, or even the mere mention of breastfeeding, less of “a thing.” I love that the task force calls themselves SDNIP.

Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture Report. She also managed VOSD’s podcasts and covered...

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