When unions meet with companies to negotiate, they aren’t always hammering out heavy details like health care, compensation or staffing levels. Ry Rivard reports on how recently, the 11,000 unionized county government employees who are represented by SEIU Local 221 have been at odds with employers over something near and dear to the hearts (and feet) of many San Diegans: “they’re fighting for the right to wear flip flops,” Rivard reports.

County leaders probably thought they were being hip and cool back in June when they announced that instead of casual Fridays, they were allowing business casual dress all summer long. Just don’t wear shorts or sandals, they added.

The union balked. Claiming the policy was an illegal workplace move made without properly consulting them, the union filed a complaint with the public agency that deals with labor disputes between unions and companies.

In response, the county rescinded its invitation of casual dress all summer — but only for union employees.

“SEIU’s leadership believes it must fight for the little things to win the big things,” Rivard writes.

Culture Report: Comic-Con Swells

Comic-Con approaches once again, and despite its landlocked predicament at the San Diego Convention Center, the Con is still expanding outward. Kinsee Morlan reports Comic-Con continues to grow its footprint downtown by getting hotels and other nearby meeting spaces to lock up their spaces for official convention events. “In 2015, the annual pop culture convention sanctioned a half-dozen events outside the Convention Center walls. This year, the number has jumped to 18,” Morlan writes.

Just down the road, Morlan also highlights a new performance set to take place that was inspired by the police shooting of Alfred Olango in El Cajon last year. The performance combines dance, video and spoken word to “allow audiences to hear from a young generation about our social/political climate in an artistic way,” Morlan writes.

Also making appearances in Morlan’s Culture Report: the New York Times discovers Barrio Logan, the Balboa Park carousel needs help and much more.

Harris Alleges Retaliation

Former San Diego City Councilman Ed Harris is suing the city of San Diego over what he says is illegal retaliation and discipline without cause. The Union-Tribune’s Lauryn Schroeder and Jeff McDonald report that Harris believes he is being targeted for standing up to Fire Chief Brian Fennessy over a decision to send water emergency calls through a wider emergency system, instead of having lifeguards receive those calls. Harris, a lifeguard, has been targeted for reprimand or discipline three times in recent months, the Union-Tribune writes.

Horse Racing Stumbles

It’s July, and for many that means it’s time to dust off their most flowery and most ridiculous hats and trot out to opening day at the Del Mar horse races. But KPBS’s Alison St. John reports all is not well at the race track, as officials there continue to spend money and time trying to create an event that will claim the lives of fewer horses, and revenues continue to fall due to declining attendance. The races killed 17 horses last year. Racetrack revenues declined last year to $1 million from the prior year’s $2.6 million.

• NBC 7 has a wrap-up of hat porn from last year’s races, if you’re looking for some ideas.

Lightning Round

Lisa Halverstadt notes that two big names in San Diego, Peter Seidler and Dan Shea, will announce plans on Thursday to once again house San Diego homeless in big tents. Here’s the backdrop they are working in front of.

 Plans to replace the UC San Diego hospital in Hillcrest are afoot, and they could include more housing. (Union-Tribune)

 The votes won’t be tallied until 2018, but we’re already counting the dollars raised by Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista and those running to replace him in the next election. Challenger Mike Levin leads the pack, for now. (KPBS)

 County leaders had been mulling the possibility of dedicating 11 acres of land in Santee for affordable housing, but instead they’ll probably just sell it to developers with no strings attached. (10 News)

 Sheriff’s deputies in San Diego County are going to go ahead and get with the body camera trend. (KPBS)

 NPR profiles San Diego’s Border Angels, a group that helps immigrants survive the gauntlet laid down by nature when they try to cross the border illegally.

 Monkey Paw Brewing will be purchased by Coronado Brewing. (Union-Tribune)

 The masters of sand castling were at it again this year in Imperial Beach. Surprisingly resurgent this year: actual castles! (NBC 7)

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall is co-founder of the community group San Diego Privacy, which is a member of the TRUST SD Coalition.

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