The city of San Diego has committed to getting 100 percent of electricity sold in the city from renewable sources by 2035. It’s city law.
But San Diego Gas and Electric isn’t committed to that. Thus, one way the city could achieve that goal is to take over the job of finding and purchasing the electricity sent to San Diego’s consumers. If the city and others in the region decide to do that, we could bestow upon our government the magical term “community choice aggregator.”
Yeah, it’s a mess of a term but you’re going to hear it a lot in coming years if you follow local politics. In a special and easy-to-read FAQ, Ry Rivard explains what it means, what the city is committed to and why the decision would not mean the end of SDG&E.
“Community choice actually means ‘government choice,’” Rivard explains. The city would take over the job of buying up electricity, theoretically from only renewable sources, but SDG&E would still deliver it. You’d still get bills from SDG&E. “Some customers might have no idea anything changed,” Rivard notes, if community choice aggregation was to happen.
San Diegans could get cleaner power out of the deal, but the elephant in the room is how much it would cost. “This is a big unknown,” Rivard writes.
1,500 School Pink Slips After All
Job cuts are coming to San Diego Unified School District. After initially not publishing any details of how many staff would be laid off, and then telling us our estimate of a looming 1,500 layoffs were “wrong,” the district fessed up recently and put a number to the layoffs they expect: 1,576. We were off by only half of one percent.
But Ashly McGlone reports on how even the district’s own number of 1,576 can’t get traction. Trustee John Lee Evans “told Fox 5 just 400 to 500 positions would be cut,” McGlone reports. When Superintendent Cindy Marten was asked about 850 jobs being cut, she didn’t correct the interviewer. Another public document floating around specifies 891 jobs cut. “And so, the mystery continues,” McGlone writes, until April when the last of the pink slips are due to go out.
There’s a chance that more teachers will choose early retirement options or more money will lessen the cuts. But a deficit is already projected for next year and Marten has said she’ll resist reinstating many people.
• Teachers and other schools staff are starting to get the actual pink slips.
Slow Train Coming: San Diego Explained
While California continues with its ambitious goals to build high-speed trains throughout the state, San Diegans know better than to hold their breath. The first leg of that effort is still at least 12 years away and doesn’t come anywhere near San Diego. So while generations of San Diegans may come and go waiting for the bullet train to pull into the station, one thing we could do in a much shorter period of time would be to make the trains we already have go much faster. Andrew Keatts and NBC 7’s Monica Dean look into the corridor between San Diego and Los Angeles (one of the busiest in the country) and what it would take to bring trip times way down in our most recent San Diego Explained.
Slow Changes at MTS
After much coverage of their anemic options for payment, KPBS’s Andrew Bowen reports on how Metropolitan Transit System’s bus and trolley riders will soon be able to buy day passes using a smartphone app. It’s among the earliest improvements MTS has made since they came under criticism that all of their payment methods were stuck in the 1980s. The new smartphone app will not be able to purchase single-trip fares when the app launches, although MTS says they are working on that. The app will also be able to purchase day passes on services run from the North County Transit District.
Alright Fine, We’ll Listen
After an extensive public outcry, Republican Rep. Darrel Issa and Rep. Duncan Hunter are finally back in the mood to host town hall meetings. The pair had previously decided the meetings weren’t a good idea at a time when the nation is facing upheaval on a variety of major policy issues such as immigration and health care. The meetings are expected to be packed, the Union-Tribune reports, but Issa is holding two consecutive meetings and is planning to livestream them on Facebook.
• Issa’s $10 million defamation lawsuit against his former opponent Doug Applegate has been preliminarily tossed by a judge. (Union-Tribune)
• The largest use of new smart traffic signals in the city is in Point Loma, reducing driving times by up to 25 percent. (Coincidentally, they’re installed on the road the mayor has to use to get home.) (Times of San Diego)
• The theater chain Cinepolis announced their Southern California theaters will start offering dedicated children’s playground movie theaters that include play time with a giant slide and kid-friendly seating. (Mashable)
• One California Supreme Court justice announced her retirement later this year. (KPBS)
• California legislator has impressive nunchuck skills.