Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed AB 805, a bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher that, among other things, dramatically shifts the balance of power at the San Diego Association of Governments.

The overhaul of the regional planning agency follows a year in which the agency has been enveloped by a scandal revealed by Voice of San Diego’s Andrew Keatts.

The bill shifts power at the agency toward more liberal urban cores like San Diego and Chula Vista and away from smaller cities that tend to be more conservative. It also creates a new layer of oversight, and allows agencies like MTS and the North County Transit District to initiate their own tax measures.

Keatts explains all the changes the bill will make, including the wins for organized labor, and details how SANDAG plans to respond.

There’s No Business Like Family Business

Building a business is hard. Building a family business can be even harder.

In the latest episode of VOSD’s “I Made it in San Diego” podcast, I talk to Ryan Smith about the tensions that can flare when siblings become colleagues.

Smith is one of the founders of Carlsbad-based Bitchin’ Sauce, a hummus-like vegan dip. His face was on the label of the dips – that’s how integral and connected he was to the business. But in 2015, an intense family feud left just one family member with the business and the keys to the Carlsbad factory, while the rest had to figure out what to do next.

Spoiler alert: Smith and the rest of the family decided to build a new business. It’s called Good Lovin’ Foods, and it’s taking off.

Kris Michell’s Big To-Do List

Kris Michell has quite the daunting to-do list.

As the city’s new deputy chief operating officer for special projects, she’s got some big things to get done, including pushing the long-sought expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, doing something with the stadium in Mission Valley and, oh yeah, she’s also been tasked with helping solve the city’s homeless problem, too. (Union-Tribune)

Most recently, Michell ran the Downtown San Diego Partnership, a business association. Before that, Michell had her hands in many of San Diego’s biggest civic affairs for over two decades.

Op-Eds: In Defense of Cate, and Talking Up the Regional Homeless Plan

San Diego Councilman Chris Cate admitted to leaking a confidential memo from City Attorney Mara Elliott to investors seeking to redevelop the former Charger’s stadium in Mission Valley. 

The city attorney is not happy about it.

But Tony Manolatos, a partner in a PR that’s been hired to help Cate’s through the crisis, says sharing the memo was actually Cate doing his job. In a new op-ed for VOSD, Manolatos says “Cate’s disclosure was neither illegal nor improper,” and argues that the councilman was just trying to get more information before a vote on the controversial stadium proposal.

Meanwhile, CityBeat columnist John Lamb says the whole debacle has dimmed Cate’s chances of a successful mayoral run in 2020, and that Cate and Manolatos’ handling of the affair isn’t helping.

“Instead of simply apologizing publicly, Cate has likely dug a deeper hole from which to extricate himself,” Lamb writes.

• The hepatitis A outbreak has amplified the spotlight on the homelessness crisis. Lots of people who don’t often think about homelessness and what to do about it are suddenly paying attention.

North Park resident and documentary filmmaker Dennis Stein thinks now is the time for city and county leaders to use the limelight to start talking about the regional homelessness plan that’s in the works. He writes that the temporary solutions launched to help quell the spread of hep A are necessary, but that it’s important to keep plugging away at the regional plan, which lays out a more permanent path toward housing people who are homeless.

Quick News Hits

• In a memo Wednesday, Councilman Chris Ward urges the County Board of Supervisors to share more data about the hepatitis A outbreak and perhaps cough up more money to help fight it.

• In VOSD’s weekly North County Report: Encinitas City Council is still struggling to develop a new affordable housing plan, Solana Beach is set to vote on whether to become a community choice aggregator and more.

 The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation gives money to smart and creative people every year. This year, one of the recipients of the MacArthur genius grant is Stefan Savage, a UC San Diego professor who focuses on protecting computer systems. (Los Angeles Times)

 Orcas will not soon be swimming in tanks built of Legos. In other words, Legoland owners say they do not want to buy SeaWorld. (Union-Tribune)

 Our Scott Lewis went on KPBS’s Midday show to talk about the map VOSD developed to help parents navigate the process of choosing where to send kids to school.

 There may soon be some relief for San Diego’s sleep-deprived tweens and teens. (KPBS)

• Living in San Diego is expensive. (Times of San Diego)

Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture Report. She also managed VOSD’s podcasts and covered...

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