Utility lines in the Grant Hill neighborhood of San Diego / Photo by Megan Wood

Some city residents will be six feet underground before their power lines are.

The city’s long-running, never-ending plan to bury overhead utility lines is supposed to be accelerating in coming years. But that’s not the first time the city has said that.

Ry Rivard looks at the history of the underground program, which began at the state level when Ronald Reagan was governor and will continue in San Diego, likely for decades to come.

About 20 years ago, the city tried to speed things up by asking San Diego Gas & Electric to levy a new fee on city residents. The idea was SDG&E would give that money to the city, then the city would give that money back to SDG&E to put its equipment underground. Everything was supposed to be wrapped up in 20 or 25 years.

Instead, there’s still over 1,200 miles of lines yet to be buried.

Ben Kalasho, Out

The Trump of El Cajon politics has resigned, and his colleagues couldn’t be happier.

“I think it’s time for the city of El Cajon to heal from this nightmare,” Mayor Bill Wells told the Union-Tribune.

Ben Kalasho struck a polite tone on his way out the door. As the lone vote on many issues, he said, he couldn’t be effective in office. He also cited “important family matters.”

For a time, Kalasho embraced his reputation as an eccentric egotist at constant odds with everyone. He told the New York Times, “I am against fake news, fascists, and Marxists, in that order.”

He’s been dogged by allegations of fraud and sexual harassment. Progressive activists and conservatives came together last year to ensure he lost a bid for the city’s District 1. He managed only 16 percent of the vote.

His current seat, which was at-large, does not expire until November 2020. NBC 7 reports that city officials will talk about filling the vacancy at the next public meeting.

Family of Earl McNeil Files Suit

The family of Earl McNeil, a black man who died after being taken into National City police custody, is suing National City and the Sheriff’s Department in federal court, alleging civil rights violations.

McNeil contacted National City police last summer, offering to be arrested on a possible warrant, and was detained on suspicion of being high. According to the lawsuit filed earlier this month, officers put McNeil in a restraint device for nearly two hours and missed signs that he was going into medical distress. He fell into a coma and later his family pulled him from life support.

In September, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan cleared the personnel who handled McNeil of criminal liability.

  • CalMatters has launched a new podcast following San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s effort to change the standards guiding police use of deadly force.

In Other News

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

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