The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
The Carlsbad desalination plant is supposed to be busily taking the salt out of sea water and making it drinkable for a thirsty county. It’s been in business a year and a half, so how are things going?
As our Ry Rivard reports in a new story, the plant has failed to deliver almost 20 percent of the water it’s supposed to. Over the past year, it didn’t deliver any water at all for 46 days.
“The plant’s reliability has gotten worse since it first opened. In 2016, Poseidon filled 95 percent of the Water Authority’s orders for water,” Rivard reports. “So far in 2017, the company has only filled 70 percent of the Water Authority’s orders.”
Reliability was supposed to be the trade-off for the expensive water the plant produces, which the San Diego County Water Authority is obligated to buy.
No one seems terribly upset, at least not yet. Water officials are happy with the 30-year deal they got, and the company that runs the plant says: “we have a very good story to tell.”
Fact Check: Claims on Vacation Rental Proposal Miss the Mark
Councilwoman Barbara Bry is pushing to impose limits on Airbnb-style short-term vacation rentals, and two companies — Airbnb and HomeAway — are trying to rustle up opposition.
HomeAway is claiming that Bry wants to “outright ban whole-home short-term rental units in single-family neighborhoods.” San Diego Fact Check took a look at this claim and finds that it’s not only false but a whopper too: It’s pure “Huckster Propaganda.”
But wait, there’s more: Lisa Halverstadt also fact checked an Airbnb claim that Bry wants to “severely restrict home sharing in San Diego.” That, Halverstadt finds, is “a stretch.”
Politics Roundup: Hunter in the Crosshairs
A Democratic victory in East County’s rock-ribbed Republican congressional district would be one of the biggest upsets in county political history. Incumbent Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, the son of the longtime congressman who shares most of his full name, is facing an ethics investigation over wayward campaign spending, and some of the expenditure details.
In a new story, Politico examines the race for Hunter’s seat. As Politico notes, “two well-funded Democrats have lined up to challenge the fifth-term congressman.”
One of them, a former Navy SEAL, has quite the zinger about the incumbent: “He’s focused now on looking out for himself and staying out of prison more than he is representing constituents of the district.”
• Fred Maas, the former CEO of the Centre City Development Corporation redevelopment agency, has been appointed to the California Horse Racing Board of Directors.
• We’ve told you about the state Supreme Court ruling that will smooth the way for Californians to raise taxes at the ballot box. In the ruling, one of the justices waxed mythological: “As Ulysses once tied himself to the mast so he could resist the Siren’s tempting song … voters too can conceivably make the clear and important choice to bind themselves by making it more difficult to enact initiatives in the future. The electorate made no such clear choice to tie itself to the mast here.” (U-T)
Quarterback Calls Foul on New Team Home
Former local pro quarterback Dan Fouts thinks it’s a disgrace that a little L.A. stadium is playing host to the former-San-Diego-team-that-shall-not-be-named. This perspective will go over well here. But another opinion of his — that the city of San Diego and the team owners share responsibility for not reaching a stadium deal — is sure to raise some hackles. (U-T)
Quick News Hits: Bob’s Your Entree
• Dozens of Oceanside residents appear to have had their identities stolen as part of a hack of the city’s utilities payment system, the U-T reports. The actual number of victims could be higher. The system is offline for the moment. One victim said his credit card was charged for an unauthorized purchase of $700 worth of barbecue equipment.
• The power company that ran the San Onofre nuclear power plant says it’s going to try hard to get rid of dangerous nuclear waste. (L.A. Times)
• Here’s an unexpected twist on the latest border tunnel discovered by authorities over the weekend: This one was used to illegally shuttle Chinese nationals into the U.S. (AP)
• Mission Valley’s Town & Country Hotel has been cracking wise lately.
• The North Park Diner — neé the Old Mill Cafe, neé the Lumberjack Grille — has a new name and a new sign out front. You can take a look at it here and ponder the listed offerings: “Ribs,” “Wings,” “Ramen” and “Cup Bob.”
Yes, “Cup Bob.”
Do they mean kabob? It’s a mystery. My own personal theory: Joe and his cup took the day off.
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.