Years ago, California told utilities like SDG&E it had to get a certain percentage of its power from renewable energy. SDG&E went out and made long-term contracts to buy electricity with developers of solar power.

The problem: SDG&E may soon find itself with far fewer long-term customers. That’s because the city of San Diego and other local entities are considering what’s called Community Choice Aggregation. Here’s our explainer of what that is. In short, the city would be the one to go get those contracts. SDG&E would still deliver the electricity.

But what about the existing contracts?

Now, SDG&E is asking regulators to help it do what it says it’s obligated to do: Make sure anyone who leaves this arrangement still helps pay for those long contracts. Proponents of local choice suspect utilities are trying to stop the choice movement. And they want more negotiations now to see what long-term deals can be killed because a lot of that renewable — mostly solar — power is much cheaper now than when the state forced utilities to start diversifying their supply.

Our Ry Rivard explains this major dilemma in a new story.

SANDAG Debate Heats Up

In the wake of our reporting, local legislator Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher is pushing to dramatically change how the local coalition of governments known as SANDAG is run. Now, she’s out with a U-T commentary on why change is needed via a bill she’s supporting. Check our previous coverage for background about what it would do. Meanwhile, small cities, not surprisingly, don’t like the idea of giving away their power to big ones.

How Tenet of Trumpcare Failed in Calif.

There are signs that the House might vote for Trumpcare 3.0, amended again to provide more support for “high-risk pools” to support people who can’t get insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

The L.A. Times has a story about how California couldn’t cover all those who needed to be covered when it had such a plan before Obamacare.

I got my own coverage through the state high- risk plan. It was extremely expensive at $700+ a month but covered up to just $75,000 a year. I ended up going without insurance for 6 months so I could join a much-cheaper federal plan offered in the years before Obamacare went into full effect. In 2013, I wrote about my experiences for VOSD.

North County Report: Biz Wants Power in Oceanside

Oceanside is diving itself into City Council districts, and businesses want to make sure they aren’t left out. “We want to be careful that no districts are drawn that are devoid of business,” a local business leader tells our Ruarri Serpa in the lead story in this week’s VOSD North County Report.

Also in the North County Report: Valley Center’s Lilac Hills project just won’t die, Encinitas is getting sued again over its stubbornness regarding affordable housing, and Carlsbad wants to hire someone to help it crack down on unlicensed Airbnb rentals.

Quick News Hits: The River Wild, Trump and Us

• “Appellate court justices ruled in favor of inewsource Wednesday, rejecting a lawsuit that claimed the nonprofit news organization has conflicts of interest that taint its lease agreement with San Diego State University and KPBS.” The investigative news outlet has been in the middle of a bitter row with local attorney Cory Briggs, who works with the nonprofit that filed the suit.

San Diego’s police chief, Shelley Zimmerman, wants more pay for officers, the police union thinks more overtime pay can help for now, and the City Council wants funding for a national search for a new police chief.  (KPBS, U-T)

Democrats on the City Council are pushing for more information about Mayor Faulconer’s bid to boost hotel taxes to pay for a convention center expansion and homeless services. For more about the issue, check our coverage here.

There’s been some national news about Marine Corps hazing practices that crossed major safety lines. Turns out some drill instructors in San Diego also have been disciplined.

Former Mayor Bob Filner’s rehabilitation tour continues. After self-publishing a book that goes after Trump but reportedly leaves his own faults undiscussed for the most part, he’s now talking to CityBeat about dealing with the spiraling homeless problem here.

A small tribe in the backcountry is the first here to jump into the potentially lucrative world of growing pot. (U-T)

A journalist named David Owen traveled the length of the West’s most vital river for his new book “Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River.” I interviewed him for an article in The Christian Science Monitor, which you can read here.

Owen’s book reveals how our own water-friendly do-goodery — conserving, getting rid of lawns — can actually make things worse if we’re not careful. He also writes about “paper water” (the water people have the rights too) and “wet water” (the real wet stuff), and how there’s more paper water than wet water.


Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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