The Superior Court building / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

This week, the state’s 4th District Court of Appeal issued an opinion that could upend decisions in potentially hundreds of local civil cases.

The decision took a July state Supreme Court ruling that found poor litigants must be provided court reporters and took that logic a step further: It found that in cases where a court reporter had been denied, those cases could now be overturned on those grounds alone, reports VOSD contributor Lyle Moran.

One attorney told Moran that could mean re-litigating potentially thousands of cases, but the San Diego Superior Court couldn’t provide data on how many poor litigants were denied fee waivers for court reporters in recent years.

Moran also checked in with San Diego Superior Court leaders, who say the court has updated its policy and hired additional court reporters since the Supreme Court ruling – though it’s still short 10 reporters.

Gomez Wants a Stronger Council

San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez released a list of her priorities for 2019. They include the recruitment of more minorities and local residents to the city’s police force, the expansion of homeless outreach efforts and the reduction of trash from local waterways, and more housing.

Typically, the mayor sets the agenda for the City Council in his State of the City speech. But Gomez told the U-T, “We’re supposed to be focused on creating policies. We’re not supposed to be just reacting to what the mayor is putting forward.”

As Andrew Keatts explained earlier this month, Democrats have achieved a supermajority on the City Council, meaning they can, if they unite, overrule the mayor’s vetoes. How they intend to flex that muscle still isn’t clear.

On Walls and Workers

On a trip to Washington, D.C., Mayor Kevin Faulconer told CNN that he’d rather talk about bridges than walls and strengthen the region’s bonds.

After the cable news hosts pressed him on statements made by President Donald Trump, Faulconer said the government should completely reopen and the Coast Guard in particular should be compensated for its work: “The fact they’re not getting their paycheck makes no sense at all.”

The Union-Tribune reports that the partial federal shutdown is beginning to hurt San Diego’s science and medical research industries. A vice chancellor at UCSD said “at least $25 million” worth of research, some of it time-sensitive, is on hold.

Local breweries, as 10News reports, are also in limbo because the federal agency that oversees the permitting of new beer labels is closed. Some local retailers are no longer accepting food stamps. Yelp, according to KPBS, offered free lunches Wednesday for up to 500 government workers.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that the disputes over the definition of a wall are drowning out the voices of people who actually live on the border. In Calexico, many residents are wary of becoming the public face of a hard-line immigration policy.

A New Face in Carlsbad Politics

Carlsbad’s new deputy mayor is a 31-year-old progressive and the child of Indian immigrants who completed a doctorate in public health while also running her own campaign last year.

In the North County Report, Jesse Marx writes that Priya Bhat-Patel represents a change for both a city and a region that’s long been dominated by conservatives. But Republicans were among her biggest supporters in the November election — because they knew one another as neighbors with common goals for the city.

Bhat-Patel ran, she said, because she didn’t see people like her in positions of power and she hopes that her election helps “change the narrative of North County.”

Ry Rivard also reports that several North County cities will considering joining the public energy market with the city of San Diego. A new region-wide agency could serve several hundred thousand homes and businesses.

Opinion: California Needs SB 50

A bill that would have effectively increased the amount of allowable housing units in cities died last year thanks to an unusual coalition of homeowners and social justice activists. In a new op-ed, members of the YIMBY Democrats of San Diego County argue lawmakers should pass a new version of that bill in order to facilitate housing cheaper.

“Merely to satisfy household growth — to speak nothing of affordability — the state needs to build 1.8 million dwelling units, or 180,000 units annually, during the 10-year period preceding 2025,” they write. “It has not achieved that level of production since 2005.”

In Other News

  • Chula Vista is allowing dockless electric scooters, but cautiously, in contrast to the city of San Diego, where scooter companies just began dumping their products all over city sidewalks and officials are now trying to regulate them. Chula Vista’s City Council approved a pilot program that allows up to 5,000 scooters. It’s not clear how many scooters are in the city of San Diego, where regulations are expected to be approved in coming months. There’s even now a company that will remove scooters from people’s properties. (NBC San Diego)
  • The Union-Tribune rightly detects tensions between the military and its commander-in-chief over climate change, which the Navy and other branches of the Armed Forces are taking seriously but the president is not. (Union-Tribune)
  • Despite going to jail in connection with a pay-to-play scheme, the former superintendent of the San Ysidro school district can keep $200,000 in severance pay, according to a newly-released settlement agreement released to the Union-Tribune. The district paid $480,000 in legal fees to try to get back that money. (Union-Tribune)


Wednesday’s North County Report misstated the age of Carlsbad Councilwoman Priya Bhat-Patel. She is 31.

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

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