San Diego is working on a multibillion-dollar plan to purify enough sewage to provide a third of the city’s drinking water by 2035. Most of our supply comes from the rivers of Northern California or the Colorado River, which are prone to drought.
Of course, having a more stable source of water will come at a cost.
Ry Rivard reports that San Diego water customers will soon pay $6 to $13 more a month to fund the first part of the city’s new recycled water project, according to a newly released estimate. The analysis was prepared in response to repeated questions from VOSD. (You’re welcome.)
As it is, the San Diego region has some of the highest water rates in the country, thanks in part to an expensive ocean water desalination plant that opened several years ago in Carlsbad. Right now, the average San Diego customer pays $135 a month for water and wastewater service, and those rates are likely to climb.
Civic San Diego Reforms on the Way
San Diego will likely soon sever ties with its downtown development agency.
On Friday, lawyers for the city and former Civic San Diego board member Murtaza Baxamusa announced that they had agreed to settle Baxamusa’s 2015 lawsuit by stripping the city-owned nonprofit of its current downtown permitting, planning and parking district responsibilities.
Now, pending a City Council vote, the city will take on those functions, the Union-Tribune reports.
For years, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and downtown development boosters have rallied behind the downtown development agency. Union leaders and progressives, on the other hand, had argued that the agency lacked sufficient oversight and was skewed toward developers.
In the wake of the former Civic San Diego president’s abrupt retirement announcement last year and continued turmoil, city bureaucrats say they are welcoming reforms.
“This is that opportunity for us to look at how things were being done,” Deputy Chief Operating Officer Erik Caldwell told Voice of San Diego after a Friday court hearing. “That combination of permitting and planning together and bringing it back into the city of San Diego gives us the opportunity to actually explore expanding (Civic San Diego’s approach) throughout the rest of the city.”
Meanwhile, union leaders were celebrating.
“It’s a big win for public benefits,” Baxamusa said.
- A new bill inspired by VOSD reporting would take the power of medical vaccine exemptions out of doctors’ hands completely. Anyone seeking a medical exemption would have to go through the California Department of Public Health. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said she’ll continue to hear out vaccine opponents but that’s it. “Arguing does not change the facts.”
- San Diego City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Barbara Bry has changed her mind about pensions. A lot. She’s no longer defending Proposition B, a 2012 measure that killed defined benefit plans for city workers but was ruled illegal by the state Supreme Court. But by far, the most important political news of the week came when Mayor Kevin Faulconer made fun of Scott Lewis, using words like “buzz kill” and “awful.”
President Threatens to Shut Down Border
President Donald Trump is again threatening to close the southwestern border “if Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration.”
Frequent border-crossers, including some who live in Tijuana and work in San Diego, talked to Reuters about how severely such a move would disrupt their lives.
In the meantime, the U-T reports that some migrant children who traveled by themselves up to the U.S. border have not been allowed to request asylum despite assurances from federal immigration officials that they prioritize unaccompanied minors. More than 50 are waiting in Tijuana.
Trump also tweeted this weekend that he will move a Navy SEAL accused of murder to a “less restrictive confinement” after Rep. Duncan Hunter and others publicized the case.
In Other News
- More than 80 women are suing Sharp Grossmont Hospital, alleging their gynecological procedures were secretly recorded without their permission. (Buzzfeed News)
- Former homeless vets have a new home in Normal Heights. Alpha Lofts will provide supportive services for dozens. (Union-Tribune)
- The Padres are back. In celebration of Opening Day, Scott Lewis and Keatts pitched Sara Libby on why she, a non-baseball fan, should get on board. As Keatts put it, “We’re a one-horse town now. You gotta pet the horse.”
- San Diego has elected not to make payment to gain control of Convention Center expansion site. A $300 million hotel project planned for the bayfront expansion site will now be considered by San Diego Port Commissioners well ahead of a vote next year on a public financing plan. (Union-Tribune)
- San Diego is exploring “cool pavement” as an alternative to traditional asphalt streets to reduce neighborhood temperatures and curb climate change. It’s an off-white mixture of materials that reflects light instead of absorbing it. (Union-Tribune)
- Federal workers are getting pay raises and workers in San Diego are set to get among the highest bumps. (Washington Post)
The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx and edited by Sara Libby.