The Morning Report
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Lawmakers across the state are introducing new legislation in Sacramento, but plenty of San Diego’s representatives dusted off their bills from last year that didn’t quite become laws.
Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is trying again on a bill vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown that would increase the health benefit amount for mastectomies. On the other side of the aisle, Assemblyman Brian Maienschein is reviving his own vetoed legislation, one that would let homeless people use the vouchers for 16 hotel stays intermittently, rather than only consecutively.
Both bills have a tough task ahead, since they’ll need signatures from a guy who already vetoed them once. But Maienschein is undeterred, as he explains in a new story from our Sacramento correspondent, Anita Chabria.
“I know that Gov. Brown is reasonable … I know his staff is reasonable and I know that they are good at listening,” he said. “So I feel confident that having a further opportunity to explain” will make a difference,” he said.
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, though, has a different approach. She had a bill vetoed too, one related to reporting crimes on college campuses. But she’s taking a cue from Brown’s veto message, clarifying that it wouldn’t add new reporting requirements, and would rather make the attorney general guide campuses on how to comply with existing requirements.
Candidates Vying to Represent Balboa Park Want to Fund Balboa Park Fixes
District 3 City Council candidates Chris Ward, chief of staff to State Senator Marty Block, and Anthony Bernal, a staffer for Councilman Todd Gloria, agree on one thing: It’s time to fix Balboa Park.
Both Democratic candidates for the seat say it’s time Balboa Park, with a needs list more than $300 million long, gets a pot of money that it doesn’t need to share with other city needs, reports Lisa Halverstadt.
Bernal already knows how he wants to do it: put a bond program with a tax increase on the ballot, which would require approval from two-thirds of voters.
“It is a high threshold but I believe that there are stakeholders in every neighborhood of the city that could get on board and support this regional asset,” Bernal said.
Ward, meanwhile, said in his first few months in office, he’d convene a task-force to look at the best ways to give Balboa Park a dedicated funding stream.
“I know that I, as a new Council member, I would be foolish to think I know better than (longtime stakeholders),” Ward said.
Opinion: SeaWorld News Proves Activism Works
I’m old enough to remember when SeaWorld was publicly insisting the film Blackfish and the conversation surrounding it posed no threat at all to the company’s future. Then last week, it announced it would end its orca breeding program, launch a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States and shift to an education and conservation focus.
“For the general public, this announcement may have come as a surprise,” writes San Diego mayoral candidate and former assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, in a newly published op-ed. “But for the thousands of people in San Diego and elsewhere who have considered SeaWorld’s treatment of orcas inhumane – and at times dangerous – the changes are the culmination of years of protests, petitions, calls for boycotts and other activities.”
Saldaña recounts how the combination in factors led to the outcome protesters had hoped for, and the lesson other would-be activists could take from it in their own causes.
Chargers Ready to Release Stadium Plans
Ever since the Chargers got behind the Citizens’ Plan, which among other things makes a joint convention center-stadium easier to build and provides some funding from hotel taxes for the convention center portion, those of us watching the saga have been waiting for more details.
The Chargers are expected in the next few days to release their vision of a downtown stadium, the San Diego Union-Tribune notes.
That U-T story quotes our own Scott Lewis, who went on AM 1360 to preview how things might shake out.
In short, get used to hearing that combining the two megaprojects makes the total cost of them cheaper, since they can share some basic infrastructure costs.
The 2015 Class of San Diego Employers with Health and Safety Violations
The state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal-OSHA, hit nine local employers with penalties last year for workplace injuries that could have been avoided, inewsource reports.
That included a San Diego Gas & Electric employee who broke eight ribs falling through panels over a seven-foot concrete vault, even though a company inspection five-years earlier identified that the panels needed repair.
inewsource also created any easily searchable database for employer violations across the state.
Federal Grants Will Go to City Infrastructure
The San Diego City Council is scheduled Tuesday to approve Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to spend some $7.6 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds on rec centers, police stations, municipal pools and a library in low-income areas, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Another $3.3 million will go to services, like homelessness assistance, or to nonprofits such as Meals on Wheels.
That split, with more money going to the city to provide for physical improvements and less going to nonprofits to provide services for low-income residents, came from a change Faulconer pushed for back in 2014. Previously, the city had to compete with nonprofits for the federal funds. The change kicked off a tug-of-war between the mayor’s office and nonprofit groups over their dwindling share, as VOSD contributor Kelly Davis reported for CityBeat at the time.
SDPD Police Retention: Still a Problem
The SDPD’s new five-year labor contract went into effect last year, intended to increase their compensation to help deal with the department’s struggles to recruit and retain a full complement of officers.
But so far, the pay bump hasn’t addressed the issue much, SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman told KPBS’s Midday Edition yesterday.
Instead, retirement, low morale and officers feeling “that they’re not trusted” have continued the problem, she said.
When the pay raise was on the table, Halverstadt broke down the case for paying veteran officers more.
• Since UC San Diego has enough on-campus housing for its students, the area surrounding the school isn’t plagued by the same “mini-dorm” problem as the College Area neighborhood nearby SDSU. (U-T)
• Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is holding a campaign rally at the Convention Center today. The space reserved for the event holds 10,000 people, and the campaign stopped accepting RSVPs by Monday afternoon. (U-T)
• San Diego’s Rep. Duncan Hunter headlined a list of backbench Republican lawmakers who attended a briefing with Presidential candidate Donald Trump Monday. (The Hill)
• The number of affordable homes that first-time homeowners can use to start building equity is down 80 percent over the last four years, according to the real estate website Trulia. (Times of San Diego)
• The city of San Diego has agreed to pay more money to help relocate residents of the mobile-home park at Mission Bay’s De Anza Cove, bringing all parties a step closer to finally ending the years-long saga. (San Diego Reader)