Smaller cities have generally opposed AB 805, which among a few items, would reshape the voting structure at the San Diego Association of Governments, giving more power to larger cities.

This week, The Coast News reports Encinitas became the first city in North County to support the reform bill, with the city’s lone Republican, Councilman Mar Muir, voting against it.

AB 805, written by San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, was crafted to bring a series of oversight changes to regional planning agencies, in light of Voice of San Diego’s reporting on scandals at SANDAG, including that the agency knowingly relying on faulty tax revenue projections when trying to pass a tax increase, and not reporting cost increases for projects from the previous tax increase.

AB 805 would alter the voting structure of the Board of Directors at SANDAG, to give cities a weighted vote proportional to their population. That would give larger cities a leg up from the current system, which currently requires measures pass majorities of both the weighted and unweighted votes.

But AB 805 also empowers local agencies like North Country Transit District to put measures on the ballot to raise their own revenue. That was a dealmaker for Councilman Tony Kranz.

“That is enough by itself for me to support the bill,” Kranz said, according to The Coast News. “The ability for NCTD to put a revenue raising measure on the ballot as a region makes sense. As we learned with Measure A, trying to address transportation issues regionally is a challenge.”

That sentiment was echoed by Carlsbad Councilwoman Cori Schumacher in an op-ed for Voice, in which she said AB 805 would be a direct boost to transit in North County.

The bill passed the state Legislature this week and is on the governor’s desk. He has until Oct. 15 to sign or veto it.

Pregnant Woman Released From Immigration Detention

Maria Solis, a pregnant mother from Oceanside, was released after being held at an immigration detention center for nearly six weeks.

Solis said she was in danger of a miscarriage due to her treatment at the facility, and her history of pregnancy difficulties. Solis is a survivor of domestic abuse, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement released her to her family on Tuesday, pending the outcome of a visa application for survivors assisting law enforcement.

ICE’s own policy prohibits the detention of pregnant women, except in “extraordinary circumstances,” and the American Civil LIberties Union and an organization called MomsRising intervened on Solis’ behalf.

Solis’ lawyer is pleased with the outcome, but said Solis’ time in the detention center may have harmed the baby.

“Maria, Maria’s family, and I are very happy for this outcome, though I remain concerned for the health of Maria’s unborn child on account of the stress Maria endured over the last month and a half,” Leah Chavarria said in an ACLU press release.

Eyes on the 49th District

The Los Angeles Times is calling California’s 49th Congressional District the hottest race to watch in the coming year, as Rep. Darrell Issa fends off multiple challengers in the district that has been trending to the left in recent years.

The paper notes that Issa was re-elected in 2016 by a margin of only 1,651 votes. The 50th District, where Rep. Duncan Hunter faces a criminal investigation for mishandling campaign funds, is also on the list. But Hunter largely faces Democratic challengers in the solidly red district.

And the Union-Tribune reports this week that the fallout from the 2016 election isn’t even over.

In November, Issa sued Democratic challenger Doug Applegate, claiming Applegate made libelous statements in an advertisement that featured a New York Times article that reported Issa was using his position as a congressman to enrich himself.

In March, a judge sided with Applegate, saying Issa failed to prove Applegate’s and the New York Times’ statements were not true. This week, the court ordered Issa to pay Applegate $45,000 in legal fees, about half of what Applegate had sought.

Much Ado for Arts at KAABOO

In this week’s Culture Report, Kinsee Morlan writes that the music festival KAABOO has been upping its visual arts exhibit at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. This year, KAABOO’s exhibit features live murals and public art, and a contemporary art fair, with big name artists and some San Diego names.

Morlan writes that the drift toward gourmet food, craft beer and visual arts is kind of a thing right now at music festivals, like KAABOO and Coachella.

Also in the News

• Carlsbad and Encinitas get shoutouts in a Los Angeles Times column about how home values inflated by manufactured scarcity are bad for people. (Los Angeles Times)

• The Carlsbad Planning Commission is worried about toxic contaminants in the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, ahead of the lagoon’s dredging. (Union-Tribune)

• Encinitas will let nature take its course on the iconic path at Beacon’s, but will move the parking lot, and erect a staircase to provide beach access. (The Coast News) (Disclaimer: I work in IT at the Surfrider Foundation, which opposed a cement wall.)

• Oceanside got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to overhaul its runway. (Union-Tribune)

• Oceanside cleared trees from a canyon to remove a homeless camp, but it just pushed people into other areas of the city. (KPBS)

• It’s likely that this is the week if you want to smell a Corpse Flower blooming at the San Diego Botanic Gardens. (Facebook)

• Mate in San Diego? The world’s first talking sex robot was designed by a company in San Marcos. (Union-Tribune)

Ruarri Serpa

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.

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