mara elliott san diego
City Attorney Mara Elliott / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Suddenly, several San Diego officials from both sides of the aisle are on record opposing City Attorney Mara Elliott and Sen. Ben Hueso’s attempt to make it much harder to sue agencies that fail to comply with the Public Records Act.

Going to court is currently the only enforcement mechanism the public can employ when an agency either ignores a public records request or resists it by invoking an exemption that doesn’t apply.

On Monday, the City Council unanimously voted “to oppose what they said was an attempt to undermine the state’s public records law,” Ry Rivard and Andrew Keatts report.

A spokesman for Mayor Kevin Faulconer also confirmed that he does not support the legislation.

“In its current form, SB 615 runs counter to the transparency and open government initiatives Mayor Faulconer has championed since taking office,” Faulconer spokesman Craig Gustafson said. “He does not support this bill.”

Several members of the City Council said they not only opposed the bill, but took issue with the fact that Elliott pursued the legislation without informing them beforehand. A deputy city attorney reminded the Council that it’s legal for the city attorney to do so.

Where was Elliott while this was happening?

Elliott was not at Monday’s meeting. She had her hands full defending the city’s landmark pension reform as it went back before the 4th District Court of Appeal Monday.  

Sweetwater Schools Have a Plan, But  it Requires Hopeful Math

From VOSD’s Will Huntsberry: Sweetwater Union High School District officials say they have a plan in place to balance next year’s budget by cutting $37 million.

Much of the district’s math relies on projections that may or may not become reality. It says it hopes to save as much as $13 million from an early retirement plan that pulled many veteran teachers from the classroom. And it hopes to get another $10 million in savings during upcoming labor negotiations.

But it’s unclear what concessions might even be possible. The district has already promised not to lay off teachers. Officials could float a pay cut or larger class sizes.

Superintendent Karen Janney announced the plan – which comes as a result of the district’s ongoing budget crisis – during an odd press conference Monday. She read a prepared statement in front of several TV cameras. But then the district’s spokesman Manny Rubio abruptly requested the cameras be turned off. The superintendent would only take questions about her plan off-camera.

Yes, It’s Cold Out, but Chill-ax

As bad as the rain has seemed this winter, it could be worse. Seriously. San Diego may have experienced the coldest February in a decade, but it was only the 55th coldest on record.

In fact, Ry Rivard writes in this week’s Environment Report, mega-droughts and extraordinarily wet periods that cause flooding are part of San Diego’s DNA. While the climate is changing, what we’ve been experiencing these past couple months is not unprecedented. And because we just went through a relatively warm and dry period, the gloom may seem more severe to us than it really is.

Also in the Environment Report this week: the longtime head of the San Diego County Water Authority is expected to remain on the agency’s payroll through July 2020, earning $26,000 a month, while the agency is led by one or more acting general managers.

The 77th Assembly Race Is Already the One to Watch

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, who left the Republican Party in January to become a Democrat, appears to have challengers on both sides.

City News Service reports that June Cutter, an attorney and Republican, has announced her candidacy, vowing to cut back on what she sees as wasteful spending in Sacramento. She’s touting endorsements from state Sen. Brian Jones and San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate.

Sunday Gover, the Democrat who narrowly lost to Maienschein last year, has opened a campaign committee, suggesting she’ll challenge him from the left.

The California primary is one year away, and the district includes portions of San Diego as well as Poway and Rancho Santa Fe. As of February, Democrats maintained a slight advantage over Republicans in the voter registration rolls — about 32 percent to 30 percent. Nearly 33 percent of voters, however, are listed as no party preference.

In Other News

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

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