A group called Clear the Air formed in mid-September to question and delay the city’s attempt to become a community choice aggregator, or CCA. It would be a big move that would take the power-buying reins from San Diego Gas & Electric, which has long held a monopoly, and put them in the hands of local government.
As our Ry Rivard reports, the new coalition, which has already begun its work publicly questioning the merits of a CCA program, has lots of ties to SDG&E and its parent company Sempra Energy.
The formal opposition to proposal for the city to take over electricity purchasing has now arisen. The supporters also have economically interested sponsors.
It will be a major political contest. The City Council and mayor have a big decision to make.
The City Council could vote on the power switch in the next several months, so it’s important to understand who’s saying what and why. Here’s our FAQ on the proposal. San Diegans can expect to be hearing a lot more from Clear the Air and, on the other side of the aisle, environmental groups that support the city’s effort to buy its own power.
A Place for Homeless People to Camp
A city operations yard in Golden Hill will be turned into a temporary homeless camp. (Times of San Diego)
Mayor Kevin Faulconer detailed the plan at a press conference Wednesday, where he said the 136-space, city-sanctioned campsite is part of an ongoing effort to provide safe and sanitary living conditions to homeless people, who’ve been hit hard by the hepatitis A outbreak. (Union-Tribune)
The homeless services organization Alpha Project will operate the campsite, and the county of San Diego will help by providing personnel and other services.
“It will be a place where individuals can bring their belongings and set up tents while waiting for the temporary bridge shelters to open, or for other more permanent housing solutions,” Faulconer wrote in his newsletter that went out after the press conference.
Remember, “temporary bridge shelters” are city speak for the three temporary tents for homeless people that will be set up soon.
• In an op-ed for the Union-Tribune, Joel John Roberts, the CEO of PATH, a homeless services and housing development agency, said that while street washing, tents, vaccination programs and other things the city has been doing to stop the spread of hepatitis A are laudable, the best solution is “not a shot in the arm but a permanent home.”
• San Diego City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf wrote a commentary for the Union-Tribune about her mom who had alcohol and mental health issues and was homeless when she died.
San Diego’s Fish Taco Origin Story
Fish tacos are as essential to San Diego’s identity as the beaches and the zoo.
But, believe it or not, there was a time when fish tacos weren’t something people here ate.
“When Ralph Rubio opened the inaugural Rubio’s on Mission Bay Drive in Pacific Beach, people still expected a taco to have a crunchy shell and contain some sort of beef,” writes VOSD’s Sara Libby. “It took some time before Rubio’s original fish taco, with its soft, yellow corn tortillas and beer-battered fish, caught on.”
Libby talked to Rubio in the latest episode of “I Made it in San Diego,” VOSD’s podcast about the region’s businesses and the personal stories behind them.
Rubio talks about how his family helped him open his first restaurant, how he got money to continue to grow the business, the lawsuit Libby dubbed “lobstergate” and much more in the in-depth interview.
• BTW, this episode dropped on what turns out to be National Taco Day. The nonstop barrage of all these silly Faux holidays is sorta annoying, but this one might be worth celebrating anyway. (10 News)
Local Economy Not as Strong as Thought
Economist Kelly Cunningham alerted us to something a bit disturbing. San Diego’s economy is doing far worse than everyone realized he wrote in a commentary for us. Newly released estimates show the economy was much stronger more than a decade ago than we thought but that the recovery since the recession has been much weaker than economists had thought.
He has a warning.
“The slowdown suggests GDP growth in 2017 will also further decrease. Our estimate of 0.2 percent for San Diego nearly falls to negative, which would indicate recession,” Cunningham wrote.
Mayor-less Oceanside Could Remain Mayor-less Longer
Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood’s speech and balance have been affected by a stroke he had in May. He’s been unable to do his job, and despite running up against a deadline to return to office or risk losing his seat, he asked the City Council to give him more time.
In the latest North County Report, Voice of San Diego contributor Ruarri Serpa talks about the politics behind why the City Council would say yay or nay to Wood’s request.
The U-T reported late Wednesday that the Council granted him leave through Nov. 1.
Also in this week’s roundup of news from the North: Carlsbad bans commercial marijuana operations, a 50-year legal battle over water rights to the San Luis Rey River comes to an end and more.
San Diego Woman Recounts Vegas Tragedy in Riveting Interview
Briana Waris, who works for Hughes Marino, the commercial real estate brokerage, was in Las Vegas for the country music festival Sunday. In an interview with KPBS she recounted in engrossing detail what it was like when the shooting started and people she didn’t know helped her get to safety.
Quick News Hits
• The San Diego City Council announced Wednesday its plans to sue the federal government over raw sewage that continues to pour into the Tijuana River. It’s a move Council members hope will spur the feds to do something to help prevent sewage spills in the future. (NBC 7)
• Apple and Qualcomm are embroiled in a bitter legal battle. Bloomberg Businessweek is out with the definitive piece on the tech giants’ billion-dollar war over patents fees. The case could go to trial in a San Diego federal court as early as next year.
• San Diego’s historic Santa Fe Depot is about to be sold.
• Camp Pendleton marine Mariah Klenke, the first woman to enter a highly specialized military training course after the Pentagon lifted its ban on women in combat roles in 2015, graduated the program this week and will become the first female officer to lead an assault amphibian vehicle platoon. (Orange County Register)