When you turn on your tap, the water just comes out. That obscures not only an enormous amount of engineering but also a lot of politics.

A defining feature of Southern California water politics is a long-running legal dispute between the San Diego County Water Authority and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Billions of dollars are at stake and tens of millions of dollars have been spent on lawyers.

But the Water Authority faced a major legal setback this week. For years, the Water Authority has argued that Metropolitan charges too much to deliver water to San Diego from the Colorado River. On Wednesday, an appellate court sided with Metropolitan: San Diego water customers are, by and large, paying their fair share to use a statewide water delivery system, the court found.

The Water Authority will ask the state Supreme Court to review the case, so the loss is by no means final, but this week’s ruling creates a few wrinkles of its own.

By fall, the Water Authority will likely have to decide whether it will support Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to ensure Southern California can continue taking water from Northern California. By the end of the year, the Water Authority must also decide whether it will continue to buy water it has long argued it is overpaying for. Both decisions involve water that San Diego officials had hoped a court would agree is overpriced.

Sacrament Report: Uber Tips Bill and Health Care on Hold

In our weekly roundup of news from Sacramento, we learn that Uber’s decision this week to allow users to tip has rendered moot a bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher.

Another bill from a local lawmaker in the roundup this week is one by Sen. Ben Hueso that sets aside $2.1 million to study ways to fix problems in the Tijuana River Valley. For years, San Diego has been trying to keep the Tijuana River Valley clear of debris and sewage flowing in from Mexico. Also in the Sac Report: Assemblyman Brian Maienschein is on a new nonprofits, and a bill by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber to make school funding more transparent is a direct challenge to Gov. Jerry Brown.

 Late Friday afternoon, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said he plans to table a bill that would have provided single-payer health care coverage for Californians. He said the bill is not dead but needs more time to work through, plus it’s not yet clear what Congress will do.

State Sen. Toni Atkins, one of the California bill’s authors, said in a joint statement that she was disappointed debate over the bill would end for the year. “This issue is not going away, and millions of Californians are counting on their elected leaders to protect the health of their families and communities,” Atkins said.

VOSD Podcast: SoccerCity’s Ever-Distant Goal

On this week’s podcast, co-hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts discuss all the hurdles standing in SoccerCity’s way.

Also on the podcast, our weeklong series on the South Bay’s hidden homelessness crisis continues with a special episode by Gabriel Ellison-Scowcroft, who reports on the role schools play helping students and their families who struggle with homelessness.

Good Schools for All: A Bridge on the Leap to the Real World

On this week’s education podcast, Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn sit down with Carlos Cortez, president of San Diego Continuing Education, to talk about how the school is helping guide students who struggle with the transition into the so-called real world.

In Other News

 A federal judge this week ruled that San Diego County “can’t dodge wrongful death claims filed by the family of a man diagnosed with schizophrenia who hanged himself while in custody,” according to Courthouse News Service. Our contributor Kelly Davis reported on the case earlier this year. There have been multiple rulings like this in multiple cases that could cost the county millions of dollars.

• For all the things San Diego isn’t doing to ensure people have affordable housing, at least we’re not Marin County. (Planetizen)

More people die in San Diego from car crashes than are murdered. (KPBS)

• The border wall that President Donald Trump has promised to build is behind schedule. Construction was supposed to start this week in San Diego, but it hasn’t. Also, so far as we know, Mexico has also not yet committed to paying for the wall. (Union-Tribune)

Most Popular Stories

These were the top five most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of June 16-23. To see the full top 10, click here.

1. How San Diego’s Biggest Developers Swarmed Against SoccerCity

If SoccerCity goes down, many will claim the kill shot. But it was the biggest developers in town who actually put hundreds of thousands of dollars into a professional campaign to stop it and they worked together to find the best arguments.Some of them have competing visions for the land. Some of them don’t believe it’s a good project. Some think it will hurt their projects and other plans for Mission Valley. (Andrew Keatts)

2. A Faded Crosswalk, a Teen’s Death and the Housing Crisis Behind it All

When a 15-year-old was killed by a semi-truck in Otay Mesa in 2014, news reports focused on the fact that the teen was on her phone. No one asked why she was walking in an industrial area where few pedestrians ever go. The answer: She was walking home from school. Home was a junkyard. (Maya Srikrishnan)

3.  Fact Check: Did San Diego Miss Out on 1,000 Conventions?

An expansion to the center would surely allow more events to be held, and data exists showing some event planners find the current space too small to meet their needs. But just how many events have been lost to space and date constraints? (Ashly McGlone)

4.  San Diego Unified: Let’s Delete Emails First, Let Board Ask Questions Later

The San Diego Unified District is changing its policy so it permanently deletes emails after six months, and the board won’t get to discuss the policy change until it has already gone into effect. (Ashly McGlone)

5. It’s Not Too Late for the City Council to Reverse Course on the Hotel Tax Plan

The measure to raise hotel taxes in order to fund a Convention Center expansion has hit some hurdles, all of which can still be overcome. (Bob Nelson)

Ry Rivard

Ry Rivard was formerly a reporter for Voice of San Diego. He wrote about water and power.

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