The Morning Report
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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
- A new real estate policy intended to boost housing near transit stations appears to be working. KPBS reports that regional transportation officials have authorized negotiations with a development team seeking to build 250 homes for low-income and middle-income households on an underutilized parking lot.
- The search for a “grand central station” that would link public transit to the San Diego Airport has been narrowed to two sites north of Lindbergh Field that are large enough to also incorporate options for housing, office and retail development. (Union-Tribune)
- San Diego County is scrapping the idea of private development on a vacant Hillcrest property. Instead, supervisors are studying the feasibility of a behavioral health hub that includes inpatient treatment, rehabilitation, crisis stabilization and more. (Union-Tribune)
- The Trump administration plans to temporarily re-assign 750 border inspectors to address a growing number of migrants arriving at the Mexican border to seek asylum. (Associated Press)
- The San Ysidro School District could go back to voters for permission to re-authorize the borrowing of $108 million left unspent from a previous bond measure that’s come under scrutiny. (Union-Tribune)
- Five more people have died from influenza in San Diego as the number weekly cases hit a season high this past week. (10News)
The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.