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Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina / Photo by Vito Di Stefano

Imperial Beach looked like the next local city to establish a system of marijuana permits.

Officials have been working on an ordinance. The City Council seemed supportive.

But then a group of prohibitions showed up. And now, as VOSD’s Jesse Marx reports, the ordinance is in limbo.

Anti-marijuana activists appeared at the city’s meeting last week, armed with warnings about the dangers of marijuana. At least one council member appears to have changed her support for the ordinance in response. Another says he was talked out of his support for the ordinance by a group of teenagers at a picnic. And a third says he’s on the fence but needs more community input and more independent research.

Some of the claims made by the activists were misleading, but effective.

So what? More than 62 percent of IB residents voted in favor of Proposition 64, which cleared the way for legal marijuana, and more than 90 percent of residents who were surveyed at a workshop in December 2017 said they’d prefer to see regulations crafted by elected officials and not by an outside group at the ballot box.

What now? The tie-breaking vote is likely to fall on Councilman Edward Spriggs. If that fails, cannabis access activists might set their sights on IB. A marijuana trade group had been working on ballot measure there that would have allowed for a consumption lounge and manufacturing facilities, in addition to dispensaries. However, the city threw the petition out, citing a technical error. If IB does not approve a marijuana ordinance, that trade group could come back and restart the petition process.

Get Ready for More Battles Overs Vacation Rental Rules

VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt gave readers a rundown Wednesday of Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed vacation rental rules.The mayor officially announced the policy framework Thursday, and the tension over the proposed regulations has already started mounting.

Vacation rental opponents and supporters at the last City Council meeting addressing the issue. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf said in a statement that she would not support the mayor’s plan, reports KPBS. And the Mission Beach Town Council already passed a resolution to oppose it, specifically because the mayor’s proposal doesn’t put a home-sharing license limit in Mission Beach. That’s an issue the town council’s leader decried in a recent VOSD op-ed.

San Diego’s Hep A Strain Still Spreading

San Diego’s deadly Hepatitis A outbreak last year has spread to other states, contributing to a steep rise in new cases nationally, according to the Huffington Post.

A man gets a hepatitis A vaccine shot amid a deadly outbreak of the disease in San Diego. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an emergency alert to local and state public health officials as they brace for a far worse outbreak nationally in 2018. More than 1,770 Hep. A cases have already been reported this year, compared to 2,984 cases total in 2017.

Recall, San Diego’s outbreak last year took 20 lives and resulted in more than 400 hospitalizations. VOSD reporter Lisa Halverstadt previously reported on the slow response by local government officials to address the crisis, and the behind-the-scenes wrangling that went on as cases climbed. Street bleaching, handwashing stations and a vaccine push helped stem the tide, and the county ended the local emergency earlier this year, but fallout continues, as recapped in this San Diego Explained.

Reforming Elections Is Hard

Former Poway Mayor Don Higginson sued Poway and the state last year over the city’s decision to change its at-large voting system to a by-district system in compliance with the California Voting Rights Act.

Poway City Hall / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

The case was dismissed, but Thursday a Ninth Circuit panel ruled that Higginson adequately alleged that “he resides in a racially gerrymandered district” and the new system reduces the number of candidates for whom he can vote, reports Courthouse News Service.

The issue will be relitigated at a lower court, and the state and the city of Poway will have to convince the court that the California Voting Rights Act doesn’t violate the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

“This case could have huge implications on re-districting and whether CA’s Voting Rights Act is constitutional,” tweeted Courthouse News’ Bianca Bruno.

  • A proposal to reform elections in the city of San Diego by implementing November-only elections was squashed this week. (Times of San Diego)

In Other News

  • On this week’s San Diego Explained, Voice of San Diego’s Ry Rivard and NBC 7’s Monica Dean unpack China’s new recycling policies and explain how it could affect San Diegans’ trash bills.
  • Could San Diego City Council President Myrtle Cole be the first incumbent representing southeastern San Diego to lose her re-election bid in 27 years? inewsource looks at the viable threat posed by Cole challenger and former staffer Monica Montgomery, who trailed Cole by just 200 votes in the primary, despite raising just a third of the campaign cash.
  • San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten took the stand yesterday about whether an investigator was wrongfully terminated after he looked into an alleged sexual assault at an elementary school.
  • There’s been lots of chatter lately about redevelopment plans for Horton Plaza, a formerly bustling downtown mall that’s lately become a ghost town. The mall was recently acquired by a new company, but now 10News is reporting that Horton Plaza is changing hands again.
  • Tight quarters, inadequate technology and delayed audio broadcasts are just some of the gripes expressed about San Dieguito Union High School District’s board meetings, according to The Coast News. The outlet also highlights a law school grad who’s advocating for students facing suspension or expulsion.
  • In May, the City Council voted to slash some fees associated with building granny flats, or small apartments or cottages typically located behind homes. It’s one new policy aimed at making a dent in the housing crisis. KPBS talks to one resident who’s moving forward with building a granny flat now that fees have been cut, and one who says construction costs are still too steep.
  • Despite recent raises of 25 to 30 percent, San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit says the department is still short 200 police officers, and they could lose 500 more to retirement over the next five years.“The budget is there, but recruitment is tough. The applicants are not there,” Nisleit said. (Union-Tribune)
  • Police are investigating the death of a man who died this week after being arrested and restrained by police officers in National City. Protesters this week rallied at police headquarters and at National City’s City Hall, calling for body-cam video of the interaction to be released. (Union-Tribune)
  • Forbes dropped in on “Wonderspaces,” a wildly popular art exhibition VOSD’s Kinsee Morlan told you about in last week’s Culture Report.

Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified Monica Montgomery, the City Council candidate challenging Myrtle Cole, and misidentified the outlet that published the story on the race. It was written by inewsource.

The Morning Report was written and compiled by Ashly McGlone and Kinsee Morlan, and edited by Scott Lewis.

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