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The entryway to the administrative office at Emerson-Bandini Elementary School. / Photo by Dustin Michelson

As San Diego Unified School District officials rally support behind a new $3.5 billion bond proposal, safe drinking water has become a key part of their messaging. They say new tax money would pay to replace old plumbing that might be contaminating water with lead.

Eleven schools have been flagged for unsafe levels of lead in the water over the last two years. But as Voice’s Ashly McGlone reports in a new story, a majority of those schools were promised new plumbing under Props. S and Z and haven’t yet seen the plumbing work.

It’s not just plumbing. Many of the projects promised in San Diego Unified’s new 2018 bond were already promised in 2008 and 2012. There’s still $2.1 billion left from those initiatives, but school officials say more is needed to ensure schools are free from harmful toxins in the water.

Had the district prioritized plumbing projects years ago, some of the recent water safety concerns could have been addressed sooner.

If approved by 55 percent of voters in November, the new $3.5 billion bond would raise taxes by 6 cents for every $100 of assessed home value, or $300 for a $500,000 home, for 39 years.

Politics Roundup

  • For weeks, Democrats have been racing to get an initiative on the November 2018 ballot that would require all county candidates to face runoff elections in November elections, no matter the outcome of the vote in the primary. Republicans typically benefit from June contests, when the turnout is lower. Republicans determined to stop it have given themselves three options, each of which could delay the ballot measure until 2020.
  • The California Coastal Commission has put San Diego on notice: The city has been asked to justify its new short-term vacation rental policy, the Union Tribune reports.
  • Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez dropped some news during our live podcast taping last week. She’s written several notable bills aimed at expanding voting rights and doesn’t seem interested in the mayor’s job, so Voice’s Sara Libby wanted to know if Gonzalez is considering running for secretary of state. Her answer: “probably,” but not until current Secretary of State Alex Padilla steps down in 2022 (assuming he wins re-election this year).
  • New California rules that allow retailers to delivery in any municipality could be a game-changer in places like unincorporated San Diego County, which has ordered all pot shops to close within a few years. The regulatory change, expected to go into effect by end of year, will give local lobbyists leverage over reluctant City Councils.

Who Really Brought the Navy to San Diego?

During a dedication of grand new government building on the waterfront in 1938, 80 years ago last week, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt recalled his days as assistant secretary of the Navy and bragged about being the godfather of San Diego.

Voice contributor Randy Dotinga examined FDR’s hyperbolic claim and concluded much of the credit for the Navy’s presence here belongs to former Rep. William Kettner (yes, the Little Italy street is named after him), who sent federal money back our way and helped secure the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Naval Training Center and Naval Hospital.

FDR may have been one of the first, but he certainly wasn’t the last big name politician to swing by San Diego for a photo-op. Voice’s Adriana Heldiz recently spoke to residents in San Ysidro who feel their community is being used as a stage to attract attention to themselves.

Opinion: Government-Run Energy Is More Accountable

Solana Beach residents now have a choice among energy providers. They can stick with the government-run Solana Energy Alliance – in which they were automatically enrolled on June 1 – or they can go back to SDG&E.

In a new op-ed, the head of the California Community Choice Association argues that programs like the SEA are more accountable and transparent than investor-owned utilities, which are motivated by shareholder interests.

Earlier this month, a resident of Solana Beach said she’s sticking with SDG&E and questioned claims that SEA would be cheaper and greener.

In Other News

  • A horse died of cardiac arrest while training at the Del Mar Racetrack Sunday. A rash of horse deaths in 2016 prompted calls for changes and investigation. (10News, Union-Tribune)
  • Two former foster children are suing San Diego County and 14 of its social workers, alleging that they repeatedly failed to stop the sexual abuse occurring at home. (Union-Tribune)
  • The U-T profiled District Judge Dana Sabraw, the Republican appointee who’s been in the national spotlight for calling the federal government’s policy of separating families at the border “brutal” and “offensive.”
  • The U-T also reports that the County Board of Supervisors could allow developers who want to build away from urban job centers to buy carbon offsets in exchange for putting lots more cars on the road.
  • inewsource reports that levels of methane gas at an Otay Ranch housing project dropped by more than 50 percent in recent months. Late last year, Voice’s Ry Rivard reported that some homebuyers had backed out of their deals following the discovery of methane and other gases in the soil.

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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