The Sycuan Indian reservation is situated deep in East County, and the tribe would very much like to undertake some new development projects like a hotel and casino expansion. One problem: they just don’t have the water to do it. Ry Rivard reports how the tribe has summoned significant support in the California legislature to bypass the normal processes and give them quick access to Colorado River water, desalinated water, and other water sources used by San Diego.
“Sometimes we need legislation to fix very old injuries,” wrote Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the sponsor of the bill, in a tweet following the story’s posting.
The bill has garnered the support of politicians and companies, but the local water provider wants to make sure the tribe can pay for the water as though they had gone through the normal process, and that they don’t end up in a court battle. A spokesman for the tribe called the normal process for getting the water a costly “crap-shoot” that was an insult to tribal sovereignty.
More Water Drama
The San Diego County Water Authority filed yet another lawsuit this week, alleging that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is overcharging San Diegans for water it delivers here from the Colorado River. A judge has already found in San Diego’s favor in two previous lawsuits similar to this one, but Metropolitan is ignoring at least one of those judgements while they hope to win on appeal. So the lawsuits and appeals keep flying.
San Diegans were spared a second, unrelated rate increase earlier this week that could have fallen hardest on North County farmers. At a Tuesday meeting on rates, Rivard reports that Metropolitan’s board declined to change how it charges customers, including San Diego, for treated water. The failed proposal was the topic of a strong back and forth between a Metropolitan representative and the chairman of the Water Authority’s board.
Quick, Become Trilingual!
When immigrant students arrive in the San Diego Unified school system, some face a unique challenge: they have to learn two different languages entirely from scratch. Rachel Evans reports on how, if a student doesn’t speak a foreign language offered by their school, they have to tackle English and one of those other foreign language at the same time. Students can try to test out of the requirement, but the assessments themselves are only offered in certain languages. It exacerbates an already pronounced problem, Evans writes: “Immigrants, specifically those with few English skills and limited years of school, are at an increased risk of dropping out or falling short of grad requirements.”
On Buskering: San Diego Explained
If you’ve ever been outdoors in San Diego in a popular tourist spot, you’ve probably ran into a busker. Those are the folks who perform their art in public spaces, often in search of donations. Jugglers, musicians, mimes and magicians all fall into this category. Balboa Park’s main pedestrian thoroughfare is a reliable place to find busking, so Kinsee Morlan joined NBC’s Monica Dean out under the sun to show what goes into busking and how it’s regulated in our most recent San Diego Explained.
Convoy District Activists Win a Round
Members of a group called the Convoy District Partnership are fine with the idea of bringing faster internet options to their neighborhood, but not if it means allowing Time Warner to build an industrial facility on Convoy Street, that neighborhood’s most vibrant road. Time Warner already owns the land and a vacant building on top of it, the question is whether the community’s “Main Street” is the right place for an unmanned building with an equipment yard. “This is not a property rights issue, but rather a neighborhood compatibility issue,” the members write. The San Diego City Council had already approved the plans.
Not so fast, said the San Diego Planning Commission on Thursday. The Convoy community appealed the project and the planning commission unanimously agreed to reject Time Warner’s plans for the site, “sending TWC back to drawing board,” writes NBC 7.
Everyone Gets An Increase!
Mayor Kevin Faulconer is out with his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and it’s full of spending increases that are sure to please many crowds. You street repair complainers get a tripled budget, and there is a big increase headed for infrastructure repair as well. Libraries, rec centers and homeless services are all feeling the love, too, the Union-Tribune reports.
We previously rained on this parade, though. An analysis of the city’s estimated coffers and the expected costs to repair city infrastructure revealed we are nowhere even close to getting a handle on the problem.
Appeals Court Sides With Teachers Unions
A big court decision on Thursday overturned a previous ruling in the Vergara case, a controversial case which had widely been seen to threaten teacher tenure and dismissal laws in California. By overturning the lower court, a three-judge appeals court panel admitted there were problems in the way the system is implemented but denied the plaintiffs had proven the laws in question were to blame, the Sacramento Bee reports. The original lawsuit “held that the state has deprived students of their right to a quality education through policies” such as seniority-based layoffs and an inflexible firing process.
We previously noted how the original court’s ruling was extraordinary in how it vividly framed the problem. The next step for the case is to see if the California Supreme Court will hear an appeal.
• Crime in San Diego in 2015 was up six percent from a 36-year low in 2014. (KPBS)
• We’re still trying to hold energy companies accountable for the California energy crisis of 2000. (Union-Tribune)
• Liam Dillon looks into why California is so short on housing and what lawmakers are doing about it for the LA Times.
• Public transit riders rejoice: MTS may soon get you a smartphone app to pay for fares. (KPBS)
• Soon we’ll all get to take a good look at the quality of San Diego’s outpatient surgery centers. (inewsource)
• This story of a San Diego resident, former U-T reporter and current Chamber of Commerce VP Elizabeth Fitzsimons, who adopted a Chinese baby has been turned into a Modern Love podcast episode. (New York Times)
• Worried about thieves? Forget your pricey gadgets; guard your nuts. “It’s not just some teenage kids ripping off nuts. These are sophisticated people.” (NBC 7)
Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled Elizabeth Fitzsimons.