The Morning Report
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In many cases, the leaders of local nonprofit organizations like the idea of a higher minimum wage. But, as our Lisa Halverstadt reports, nonprofits aren’t necessarily ready to deal with having to pay higher rates.
Unlike retailers, they can’t just raise prices. “They’ll either need to pull in more cash, or cut back,” Halverstadt reports.
Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego, which brings meals to seniors, may need to start a waiting list, while an organization that serves more than 1,500 developmentally disabled people is looking at wage hikes of more than $2 million.
Density Debates Rage on in North County
A group of North County residents is pushing back at a VOSD investigation into Encinitas’ attempts to find ways around a state law meant to boost affordable housing stock.
The so-called density bonus law doesn’t really provide affordable housing, they write. It allows developers to build still-expensive housing, while taking a toll on city infrastructure.
VOSD’s North County Report, meanwhile, details Carlsbad residents’ objections to plans they fear would bring tall buildings and more traffic to the Village neighborhood.
The Permanence of Portable Classrooms
Inewsource surveyed 35 local school districts and found that a stunning 20 percent of classrooms are portable. “These cheap and easy structures have been flagged for poor ventilation, and they are often either too hot or too cold. The sounds inside can be loud enough to justify a noise complaint,” the news outlet reports. “In Scripps Ranch, skunks and flooding have plagued the portables. In addition to health concerns, studies show school surroundings can negatively affect a student’s ability to learn.”
At some schools, more than half of the classrooms are portable. The little school in the town of Rainbow at the tippy-top of North County has eight portable classrooms and just four portable ones; the wealthy Rancho Santa Fe district has none.
San Diego Unified still has hundreds despite the billions being spent on constructing things like stadiums, but the good news is that the number of portable classrooms has shrunk dramatically. Inewsource also looks at the question of cost. We previously reported thatSan Diego Unified destroyed portable classrooms at a high school to make room for construction but then bought new ones.
• The Hechinger Report visits San Diego for a story profiling the state’s potential embrace of bilingual education despite a lack of qualified teachers.
Claim Filed in Police Shooting
• The mother of a man fatally shot by San Diego police downtown last fall has filed a wrongful death claim, the U-T reports. According to cops, the man aimed a fake gun at officers, who shot him because they believed it was real.
The shooting is controversial, in part because the officers didn’t turn on their body cameras; the police chief said there wasn’t time. There’s apparently security video of the shooting, but the mother says the police won’t let her see it unless she goes to court.
• State lawmakers are pushing for five gun control bills, the L.A. Times reports, targeting certain assault weapons, clips and homemade guns.
• A big national spotlight has been shining on how local law enforcement agencies use their powers to seize the assets of criminal suspects and keep some of the money. As the U-T reports, for assets worth more than $25,000, “no criminal conviction is needed for the government to keep the assets — on the theory that larger stacks of cash are more likely to be the proceeds of illicit activity.”
The county prosecutor’s office defends this practice, which has brought millions to local coffers, but the ACLU and politicians have been raising the alarm. The U-T digs into the issue prior to a panel discussion about the topic.
Building Dispute Erupts in Mission Beach
“Residents in Mission Beach are accusing a La Jolla-based developer of using outdated maps and other tricks to try and skirt local planning laws and to avoid building a community park,” the Reader reports. “They claim that doing so jeopardizes the future of development in Mission Beach and threatens to tarnish the character of the beach community.”
The dispute has to do with the former site of Mission Beach Elementary School.
Uber Over All, Once Again
Uber and Lyft have won their latest battle in Sacramento, this time vanquishing a bid by local Sen. Ben Hueso — a longtime ally of taxi companies — to hit them with regulations regarding surge pricing. Hueso dramatically predicted a horrific transportation future without regulations, saying “the blood is going to be on our hands,” but a state Senate committee bounced his bill anyway.
Legislators said they wanted to make things easier for taxi companies rather than harder for companies like Uber and Lyft.
Meanwhile, another South Bay legislator, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, saw her bill that would let “gig economy” workers like Uber drivers organize to secure better working conditions advance out of a legislative committee Wednesday.
Quick News Hits: P-U, Skunkaroo
• It might soon become easier for San Diego’s elected leaders to try to get rid of a rogue mayor. Why the worry about this? You remember: He Who Shall Not Be Named. (City News Service)
• There’s a possibility of a strike in the transit district that serves North County. (City News Service)
• The Humane Society of the U.S. is out with a story explaining its partnership with, of all organizations, SeaWorld. (By the way, this Humane Society organization is not directly affiliated with local humane societies like the one here in San Diego.)
• The new pedestrian border crossing, to be the second one at San Ysidro, won’t open until August. The June opening has been delayed (KPBS)
• Ladies and gentlemen, now that’s a cross-border tunnel. (U-T)
• The San Diego metropolitan area’s pollution report from the American Lung Association isn’t too bad: We rank 13th nationally in terms of ozone pollution, but we score better on other forms of pollution. (City News Service)
• A new report says you’ll need to make more than $69,000 a year here to live “comfortably,” but the median income — not the average — is a few thousand short.
• The Facebook page called Vintage San Diego has highlighting some really nifty color photos of Horton Plazafrom the 1950s. Check out those downtown movie theaters in the background that are open “all nite.” (No, they’re not those movie theaters. Get your mind out of the gutter, as my mom likes to say.)
• The other night, firefighters responded to a dumpster fire near my home in Normal Heights. They reported smelling smoke and a skunk stench. My nose confirmed these findings.
You know what this means. A crispy critter? Maybe, but I’m thinking more about skunk season. This is the time of year when the black-and-white nuisances get around to having babies, and our neighborhoods start to get especially odoriferous.
A while back, I wrote a VOSD explainer about skunks in San Diego. Here are a few things I learned: Normal Heights has a reputation as Stench Central; a reader told me about a nightly “skunk pageant.” Skunks often get along well with cats (please don’t let mine know). And it turns out skunks are placid creatures for the most part, and sometimes even become household pets. Don’t try this at home, though. Pet skunks are illegal in California.
If you haven’t spotted a little stinker roaming in your part of town yet, don’t worry. There are still almost seven weeks until the primary election!
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.