Before the big Uber news this week that its company’s CEO has resigned, there was the other big Uber news this week that the company will add a feature allowing riders to tip drivers.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher celebrated the move as a win – she has written a bill currently before the Legislature that would allow users of labor-based app services to include tips if they pay by credit or debit card.

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“We did it! Together, with the hard work of drivers, riders and legislative pressure, Uber is going to allow in-app tips,” Gonzalez Fletcher said in a statement. “Workers should receive the tips they earn. If a customer has to pay with a credit card, they should be able to tip with a credit card. This seems like a very easy and fair concept, and we are glad Uber recognized it needed to modernize its payment practices.”

So does that mean the bill is moot?

Gonzalez Fletcher’s chief of staff, Evan McLaughlin told me their team doesn’t know of any other apps that don’t already facilitate tipping, and that the assemblywoman has decided to hold the bill for the rest of the year. She plans to monitor the rollout of Uber’s tipping feature, “but any further pursuit of a bill requiring this won’t happen this year,” McLaughlin wrote in an email.

Hueso Bill Funds Studies of Tijuana River Valley Solutions

For years, San Diego has been trying to keep the Tijuana River Valley clear of debris and sewage flowing in from Mexico. A February sewage spill on the Mexican side of the border showed how tentative any success has been: Millions of gallons of sewage flowed north through the Tijuana River, causing foul odors and closing beaches in the South Bay.

A lot needs to be done to prevent that from happening again, including major infrastructure upgrades in Tijuana. But Sen. Ben Hueso introduced a bill that would try to find some solutions to capture the trash, dirt and sewage that rushes into the United States.

The bill, SB 507, allows money to be set aside for land purchases to be used for studies of fixes to Tijuana River Valley’s problems. Right now, about $2.1 million is sitting around in an account but it is earmarked only for land acquisition. San Diego County has already bought hundreds of acres of land in the valley; it doesn’t need more and there isn’t much left to buy even if it wanted to. Instead, it needs to protect the land it has.

“Making available these funds to address today’s pressing issues will allow us to find tangible solutions in the foreseeable future,” Hueso’s office said in a fact sheet supporting the bill. “It is critical that we prioritize the health and safety of residents and ensure the protection of natural habitat and wildlife which are so important to our ecosystem.”

Ry Rivard

Maienschein Joins New Nonprofits Select Committee

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, who spent years working for nonprofits, has joined a new Assembly select committee focused on how government can better help nonprofits.

The select committee met for the first time on Wednesday to start discussing how the state can bolster collaboration with its large nonprofit sector.

Maienschein said he jumped aboard to ensure San Diego’s more than 10,000 charities have a representative at the table.

As a former San Diego United Way official and a director of a youth-serving nonprofit, Maienschein said he felt uniquely suited to help.

He’s particularly eager to help San Diego nonprofits more easily navigate state bureaucracy and the budget process, which can be a roller coaster ride for nonprofits whose work is impacted by state policies.

“It’s difficult to figure out how the state functions and it’s difficult to work with the state,” Maienschein said. “Me being on the committee at least provides an avenue for nonprofits in San Diego to help them make connections that they might need.”

Nonprofits represent a growing sector in San Diego’s economy. Last year, the University of San Diego’s Caster Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research reported nonprofit employment has been on the rise and that more than 85 percent of San Diego nonprofit leaders surveyed by USD were feeling an increased demand for their services.

Lisa Halverstadt

Weber Goes Head to Head With Brown on School Funding

A sweeping analysis from CALMatters has found that four years into Gov. Jerry Brown’s big experiment with overhauling school funding, “there’s little evidence yet that the investment is helping the most disadvantaged students.”

The findings echo what many advocates have long feared.

As Maya Srirkrishnan wrote last week, in San Diego Unified, “parents, advocates and teachers have been urging the district to be more transparent in its expenditures. They’re particularly concerned over how the district is using special funds from the state intended to help low-income students, English-learners and homeless and foster youth.”

CALMatters calls San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s bill to add transparency to the process “a direct challenge to Brown.”

Weber herself was just as blunt: “if the governor doesn’t solve this problem, we may have to dismantle this policy,” she said.

Weber’s effort appears to be attracting support from across the aisle. On Wednesday, the California Assembly GOP tweeted a link to a Union-Tribune editorial urging the Legislature to pass – and Brown to sign – Weber’s bill.

We don’t have time 2 see if LCFF funding works later…kids in poverty are struggling in school now. #CADeservesBetter

— CA Assembly GOP (@AssemblyGOP) June 21, 2017

Golden State News

The number of states affected by California’s own travel ban doubled this week. (San Jose Mercury News)

 Sunny California’s producing lots of solar power, and sometimes that means paying other states to take some of it. (Los Angeles Times)

 Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León is proudly leading the California resistance against President Donald Trump. (Mother Jones)

 Assemblyman Evan Low is pitching a solution to help cities statewide address massive rape-kit testing backlogs: Ask taxpayers to chip in. (Sacramento Bee)

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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