San Diego water officials are talking about building a $3 billion pipeline to get water from the Colorado River.
The potentially expensive, disruptive and ambitious project is another sign of the intense rivalry between the San Diego County Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Metropolitan is the region’s largest water supplier and the owner of the only physical connection between San Diego and our main source of water, the Colorado River.
Right now it’s hard to tell if the pipeline talk is serious, exhaustive due diligence or posturing. But some Water Authority officials clearly wonder if the agency could save money by building its own pipeline instead of paying to use Metropolitan’s.
Hueso’s Energy Worries
Sen. Ben Hueso, the San Diego Democrat who leads a committee on energy, held a hearing this week on cities that are planning to enter the energy market to compete with the state’s three major power companies.
“I’m concerned that we’re creating a system that is going to be ungovernable and shifting responsibilities into agencies that can’t sustain them, and eventually see a domino effect of closures of these CCAs that could lead to a collapse of our system,” he said at the Wednesday hearing, using an abbreviation for the government-run agencies that cities, including San Diego, are looking to form.
In this week’s report on goings on in Sacramento, I write a bit more about that hearing and Sara Libby tells us about how Sen. Joel Anderson is defending a bill that would let cities consider allowing bars to serve alcohol until 4 a.m.
Podcast: Teens and Phones
Speaking of 4 a.m., that’s about when I wake up these days to check my phone for a crush of news coming from the East Coast, specifically Washington. In this week’s podcast, Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts interview SDSU professor Jean Twenge to discuss her research into smartphones and their effects on youth and mental health. Basically, phone time is crowding out time for sports and a bunch of the other stuff teens ought to be doing before they get old.
In Other News
• Our Lisa Halverstadt updates us on East Village public restrooms that were unlocked after Voice of San Diego tied their being locked to a growing hepatitis A outbreak. San Diego’s streets are filled with homeless people who do not have such access to sanitation facilities that are important for combating the health crisis.
• Omar Passons, who is running for county supervisor, has had it. We’re not quite sure with what, exactly. “Man, if I told y’all how absurd the political process actually is in this town. Confirms almost everything people think,” he wrote on Twitter. He’s running against Nathan Fletcher, who has been racking up endorsements. Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña has also said she would run. Former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis left her job early to pursue the supervisor race but has not jumped in yet.
• The Union-Tribune has two important stories on the Salk Institute, which the paper reports is “reeling from lawsuits filed by three female professors who accused the La Jolla science center of systemic gender discrimination.” First, the chairman of the board of trustees is stepping down, a decision he announced on the eve of an annual concert the institute hosts. Second, the institute, despite saying it’s in great financial shape, still faces “daunting” money issues. The craziest idea to get cash? People there have explored “whether the institute would be willing to alter its official name if a private donor was willing to make a contribution upwards of $1 billion.” The institute is, of course, founded by and named after someone who found a vaccine for polio and never patented or earned money from his discovery. To think about selling off his institute’s name to the highest bidder says something about where science and medicine are today.
• A pregnant woman in the Otay Mesa immigration detention center wants to leave the facility so she can fight her deportation from the North County home where she lives with her three young daughters. Since KPBS reporter Jean Guerrero started reporting this story, the mother-to-be received an extra mattress. But she said, “I’ve been having a lot of cramping since I came, and the only thing they’ve been able to do is to tell me to drink a lot of water and get Tylenol. The doctor said, ‘keep in mind, you’re going to hear a lot of stories, but if you happen to lose your baby in here … it is not our fault, there’s nothing we can do about it.’”
• inewsource looks at the $38,000 that nonprofits, think tanks and companies have given to help our local members of Congress and their staff travel the world.
• And, finally, an absolutely crazy story from Encinitas. Some people are upset by the popularity of Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop. Why? There are lines for the ice cream and it doesn’t have its own bathroom. Customers ask other nearby businesses to use theirs: “We can’t pay for all of their people to wipe their butts with our toilet paper,” said Valerie Buccieri, who owns a salon near the ice cream shop.