san diego convention center
City leaders have long wanted to expand the San Diego Convention Center. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Hotel industry leaders and labor unions recently revealed a new pitch to hike the hotel tax to fund homeless services, a Convention Center expansion and road repairs, but it could already be in trouble.

The citizens initiative includes language about union-friendly construction agreements that two construction groups don’t dig. They told our Lisa Halverstadt they may come out in opposition to the proposal.

The initiative cites legislation pushed by Assemblyman Todd Gloria that leaders of San Diego’s Associated General Contractors chapter and the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction fear eases the path for a project labor agreement, a contract that guarantees no labor stoppages in exchange for routing all workers through unions and paying union benefits.

Getting a ballot measure passed isn’t easy, especially if there’s any kind of organized opposition campaigning against it. The coalescing opposition could mean that the coalition of labor unions and pro-business groups backing the proposed Convention Center-expansion tax hike could have a tough row to hoe.

North County Report: New Oceanside Mayor Just Says Maybe to Pot

During former Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood’s seven-month absence, city staff and council members avoided controversial topics like cannabis.

Now that Peter Weiss has been appointed mayor of Oceanside, though, they’re ready to make some decisions. Weiss told our Ruarri Serpa that he wants more data before he says yes to more marijuana in Oceanside.

Also in Serpa’s roundup of news from the north: Oceanside has joined other North County cities in commissioning a study on the feasibility of ditching San Diego Gas & Electric and establishing a government-run energy program. Plus, there’s a surprise in the District 5 County Supervisor race.

ICE Will Enter Courthouses

Federal immigration authorities formalized a policy Wednesday to send deportation agents into courthouses to make arrests, reports the Associated Press.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement called out so-called “sanctuary cities” that limit cooperation with federal immigration agents, and in its new two-page directive said that the “increasing unwillingness of some jurisdictions to cooperate with ICE in the safe and orderly transfer of targeted aliens inside their prisons and jails has necessitated additional at-large arrests.”

However, the sanctuary laws may not be as restrictive as ICE is making them seem.

After the California Values Act, also known as the sanctuary state law, went into effect, law enforcement in San Diego, including the Sheriff’s department and the Escondido police department, did have to limit their cooperation with ICE agents. But ICE can still access people and be notified of their release if they’ve been convicted of one of roughly 800 crimes.

What’s Up with Those Outrageously High Water Bills?

NBC 7 and other local television news has been covering the flood of complaints coming from folks across the city, some who say their water bills shot up by hundreds of dollars for no apparent reason.

Citing the growing number of reports of abnormally high water bills, on Wednesday City Councilwoman Barbara Bry and Councilman Chris Cate called for an audit of the Public Utilities Department.

In Other News

• There’s a new deal in the long-running dispute over who should pay for the failure of the San Onofre nuclear plant. Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric have agreed to shave $775 million from the multibillion-dollar pact that allowed them to charge utility customers for the shuttered plant. (Union-Tribune)

• CityBeat columnist John R. Lamb thinks the city of San Diego should hop on the dockless-bike-sharing bandwagon. Here’s a reminder of how the city handled its first bike-share program.

• San Diego has identified 4,700 cases, both felony and misdemeanor convictions for marijuana, that will be cleared or downgraded. The same law that legalized recreational marijuana also allowed those with prior low-level offenses to have their convictions expunged. (New York Times)

• If you missed the San Diego Symphony’s cross-border concert over the weekend, read this New Yorker story that describes the musical experience, in part, as “overwhelming in its impact.”

• Mayor Kevin Faulconer didn’t a join the other mayors who boycotted a recent White House meeting with President Donald Trump, but he did exert his own acts of protest by supporting trade with Mexico and voicing support for those brought illegally to the United States as children. (Union-Tribune)

Last year, VOSD’s Mario Koran wrote about how San Diego Unified sends parents to collections agencies if they don’t pay their child’s school bus fees on time. Wednesday, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher introduced a bill that would prevent schools from doing that.

California State University trustees have given San Diego State University its first woman president.

Over the last three months, the campaign for Rep. Duncan Hunter has been spending more on legal fees related to a federal criminal investigation into his political spending than it has raised. (Union-Tribune)

• The flu has killed 206 people in the region. (KPBS)

This Forbes columnist thinks the Padres are “sitting on a brown pot filled with yellow amulets of gold” when it comes to their old, much beloved brown and yellow uniforms.

Social in San Diego

• I didn’t even bother trying to take a picture of the blood moon lunar eclipse because I knew the professional photographers would come through.

• There are salamanders in San Diego. I thought it was too dry here, but I found a few in my yard and have since seen several people posting pictures of the cute little creatures.

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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