The Morning Report
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The city of San Diego can provide cheaper and greener electricity than San Diego Gas & Electric, according to a long-awaited study the city released.
“San Diego could sell power for 11 percent less than SDG&E within the next decade, under one scenario the study examined,” our Ry Rivard reports. “The study sets the table for months of debate. By early next year, the mayor and City Council are expected to decide if the city should begin buying power for its 1.4 million residents from someone other than SDG&E.”
The city is doing this largely because of a self-imposed plan it has to fight climate change. To do that, the city wants all of its power to come from renewable sources, like wind and solar. Right now, we are reliant on natural gas-fired power.
In the past, SDG&E has outmaneuvered other local governments that have tried to poke holes in its regional monopoly. So far, the company’s allies have cautioned the city against challenging SDG&E, but have yet to begin challenging the findings of the 800-page report in detail.
Not sure what we’re talking about? Take a few minutes to catch up with our FAQ on community choice — the effort to wrest away the power to buy power from SDG&E.
• “Delays in setting up green energy accounts for SDG&E customers in multi-family affordable housing have left at least 700 homes paying high summer rates when they were counting on credits for solar energy,” the U-T reports. “Almost all of those affected live on fixed incomes in affordable housing.”
• Utilities like SDG&E have been fighting against solar power, but a Vox story predicts that cheaper batteries are going to dramatically change the game for power companies: “The existential crisis they hoped to avoid by slowing rooftop solar is going to slam into them twice as hard once batteries enter the picture.”
Hepatitis Outbreak Widens
San Diego’s outbreak of the liver disease hepatitis A, the largest in California in some 20 years, is growing. More than 200 people have been infected and 161 have been hospitalized, the U-T reports, and now a fifth death has been reported.
The outbreak has mostly affected homeless people. Vaccinations are available.
New Approach to Discipline in S.D. Schools
San Diego Unified is moving away from suspensions and expulsions of students in favor of less severe approaches like mediation and counseling, KPBS reports.
Research has shown that minorities are more likely to be affected by harsh discipline, and critics have been especially dismayed by the number of students kicked out of school for so-called “willful defiance.” In the 2011-2012 school year, more Latino kids in S.D. Unified were suspended for that violation than all the other types of kids put together.
The new system, which focuses on something known as “restorative justice,” has been in the works in the district, although a 2016 VOSD story found that the rollout was going slowly.
• The Sweetwater school district, which runs middle and high schools in the South Bay, spent millions of dollars on iPads that became outdated. Now, the district is selling thousands of them. inewsource finds that the school board signed off on the sales retroactively.
North County Report: County Workers Fear Shooting at Center
A union says the county didn’t properly respond to threats of gun violence at an Escondido resource center for the poor, and only reported one of five instances to the police. The county says it responded properly.
This story leads off the latest edition of VOSD’s North County Report. Also: Rep. Darrell Issa helps an immigrant father whose son was attacked in Mexico City, a speakeasy in Carlsbad is going old-school with a required password to get in, San Marcos schools have a new superintendent, and more.
Quick News Hits: Meet the 7-Eleven Niceness Standard
• Yesterday’s Morning Report linked to an NBC 7 story about a report that said “More than 300 workers reported wage theft in the year after San Diego’s minimum wage and sick leave law took effect.” The Center on Policy Initiatives, which issued the report, says that’s wrong. Actually, more than 300 workers took a survey. Only 86 of the 2,856 claims to the local labor office alleged employers were not paying minimum wage.
• “Customs and Border Protection officers have been illegally turning away asylum seekers who ask for help at the U.S.-Mexico border for more than a year, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles by several immigrant rights organizations,” the L.A. Times reports.
• Pride Weekend is almost here, featuring a parade through Hillcrest and a festival in Balboa Park. Last year, I chronicled San Diego’s hidden gay history — the hysteria over mid-century “fairy dives” with Navy sailor customers, police raids and the downtown roots of gay bars. Plus: The bizarre gay-baiting Navy probe that brought down a retired admiral and set a precedent that haunted gay members of the military for decades.
• The Citizen-Times, a newspaper in the liberal stronghold of Asheville, N.C., runs a column by a guy named John Shore who used to live in San Diego until a couple years ago. A reader asks: How does Asheville compare to America’s Finest City?
Well, there are no seasons in San Diego, Shore says. Sure, John. Sure. Just try wandering around in shorts on the beach in late December.
Also, he says, people back in SoCal just aren’t friendly: “if you walk into a convenience store, and say, ‘I’m wondering if you can do me a favor,’ the first thing the clerk will do is scowl and reach for the telephone, if not a weapon… at least here they know that once you’ve lost good ol’ fashioned civility, you’ve lost it all.”
Actually, we do have ol’ fashioned civility here. That’s why I’m holding my tongue.
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 (asja.org). Please contact him directly at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.