Only a few days after a secret deal of Sacramento power-brokers was revealed by the LA Times, the resulting bill to raise the minimum wage in California to $15 per hour rocketed through the state legislature Thursday, and is already awaiting Governor Brown’s signature. The path through the legislature was aided by San Diego representative Lorena Gonzalez, who helped the bill clear a key committee on Wednesday. Assemblywoman Toni Atkins said a minimum wage increase isn’t a “panacea … but I think in the context of everything else we are trying to do for our constituents, it is a piece.”
Oceanside Republican Rocky Chavez opposed the move (as did all other Republicans) and said it violated the 13th Amendment, which banned slavery, by involving government in wages.
The Assembly and the Senate both approved the bill on Thursday, with Brown expected to sign it on Monday. The bill raises the minimum wage incrementally until 2022, when it will be raised to $15 per hour.
• The minimum wage will also start adjusting automatically with inflation starting in 2024, the LA Times reports.
• San Diego’s own minimum wage ballot measure will still be on the June ballot and will still matter, since it proposes other benefits such as minimum number of paid sick days.
The Learning Curve: Schools In Malls
Next time you’re picking up take-out food or shopping for a some jeans, you may notice something strange about that business next door. It may not be a retail business at all; instead, some charter schools are choosing to take up residence in malls and shopping centers. Mario Koran reports on how some charter schools move into these spots “because it can be easier than using a district facility,” which may not be optimally located for the charter school.
Anybody can apply to open a charter school, but they have to collect a lot of support and ultimately get the school approved by the San Diego Unified board of trustees. “School districts also take on some oversight responsibilities for the charters they authorize,” Koran writes, and the districts offer the charter schools available space in their own buildings. If charter schools can find a location they like better, they can get some rent reimbursement and, if they’re small enough, avoid expensive and slow permits.
In our most recent episode of “Good Schools For All,” Scott Lewis and co-host Laura Kohn caught up with California State Board of Education member Trish Boyd Williams to talk about some Common Core myths and misconceptions. “There’s less memorization of isolated facts,” Williams said.
Public Transportation: San Diego Explained
The Metropolitan Transit District is all of the sudden getting a lot of attention. They’ve had some problems recently involving their security staff, as well as questions about how outdated their payment systems are. The district facilitates 88 million passenger trips per year using their $283 million budget. Andrew Keatts and NBC 7’s Monica Dean break down who runs MTS and what they are responsible for doing in our most recent San Diego Explained.
‘I Don’t Think We’re Riding in That Boat’
Check out the stunning video Belgian tourists caught of a whale-watching ship ramming San Diego’s Embarcadero. Seven people inside the vessel were hurt.
A man who witnessed the Hornblower harbor cruise ship crash into the Broadway Pier on Thursday said his family subsequently decided to skip the harbor cruise tour. (NBC 7)
VA Covered Up Wait Times
An investigation in the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center in San Diego revealed on Thursday the details of how VA staff covered up long wait times. VA schedulers “manipulated wait time data to make it appear veteran patients received mental health care more quickly than they actually did,” NBC 7 reports. They also found staff had simply cancelled appointments. The data investigated was from 2012 and 2013. “Each scheduler is now audited on a weekly basis,” NBC 7 reports.
Full Press on Stadium Pitch
Chargers front man Fred Maas made the rounds on Thursday advocating for a mixed-use stadium to be built in San Diego’s East Village, where he said the facility would be used “200 or 250 days of the year.” (KPBS) The Chargers hope the city will approve raising hotel room taxes to cover a third of the cost of a stadium, which he argued the city has pledged to cover. A group of developers and architects calling themselves the East Village People has popped up and is working on creating an alternative vision for East Village for people to rally behind.
If you’re patient enough to click through this slideshow, you will eventually learn how, at 16.5 percent, the Chargers’ proposed tax increase would position San Diego in third place on the list of cities that have the highest hotel room taxes in the country.
Ted Cruz Weighs in on San Diego’s Stadium, Calls Deals ‘Cronyism’
Chalk GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz up as another politician trashing the Chargers proposal to fund the construction of joint convention center stadium complex. Cruz appeared on Newsradio 600 KOGO with Carl DeMaio and they somehow ended up talking football and hotel taxes.
“I am not a fan of tax hikes to pay for sports stadiums. I think they’re typically boondoggles and examples of cronyism,” he said.
This probably won’t endear Cruz to Chargers President Dean Spanos. Spanos is a Republican donor. Spanos has been a particular fan of Rick Perry and supported the candidate and his SuperPAC this campaign cycle. Spanos later donated to Jeb Bush.
In Cruz’s home state of Texas, it was a hotel-room tax hike that helped build Arlington’s AT&T Stadium and hotel room tax hike that built Houston’s NRG stadium.
Meanwhile San Diego-area Rep. Duncan Hunter has been dispatched by Donald Trump to bolster the popularity of his presidential bid among members of Congress. (Union-Tribune)
• Encinitas residents like their town just the way it is and don’t want a bike path by the train tracks messing everything up. Their City Council scrapped the plan. (NBC 7)
• Lawyers and even judges are ponying up cash donations for their preferred candidates in the race for San Diego city attorney. (inewsource)
• A project long envisioned for the Navy Broadway Complex cleared a legal hurdle at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday. (KPBS)
• A lawsuit filed by strippers against the police can go forward, a judge has decided, partially due to the police telling the media how routinely the police perform the kinds of raids that are in question. (Union-Tribune)
• Now I must go or I might miss the cat circus. (Union-Tribune)