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Over the last two years, the City Council has talked about changing the San Diego Unified board election process but always stopped short of moving to district-only elections.
Now, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, herself a former San Diego Unified trustee, wants to give the City Council a last shot at making changes, otherwise she is prepared to do so at the state level.
Weber introduced a bill in the state Legislature that would require candidates for the San Diego Unified Board of Education to run solely within their subdistricts – a change long sought by many advocates. Right now, candidates run within a subdistrict in the primary, then run districtwide during the general election. In 2017, the San Diego County Grand Jury determined that requiring candidates to participate in a citywide election, rather than a district-only election, forces them to rely on support and financial backing from special interest groups.
The current process has resulted in many trustees strolling onto the school board unopposed or without major challengers. Trustee Mike McQuary won his first term unopposed. When he ran for re-election, he couldn’t even remember his challenger’s name, which is not exactly the sign of a robust contest. Trustee Richard Barrera, who’s dismissed the move to district-only elections as a Republican ploy, has run unopposed in three straight elections.
In 2016, one of Weber’s top staffers at the time, LaShae Collins, ran for the San Diego Unified board. In the primary, Collins won overwhelmingly – she beat Sharon Whitehurst-Payne by 20 points. But in the citywide general election, where Whitehurst-Payne benefited from union support, Collins lost by 9 points.
Another Deadly Border Patrol Crash
One person died and four others were injured following a U.S. Customs and Border Protection pursuit that began near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry Thursday morning, NBC San Diego reported. Earlier this month, a ProPublica and Los Angeles Times investigation found that in the last four years alone, “Border Patrol agents engaged in more than 500 pursuits in border districts in California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Of those, 1 in 3 ended in a crash.”
- Speaking of the border, our latest San Diego Explained video offers some basic facts about American citizens’ rights when crossing the border.
Offshore Drilling Off the Table, For Now
For years, oil interests have looked to drill again for oil off California’s coast. Now, it looks like the Trump administration’s to lease federal oceanlands to oil companies is on hold indefinitely, the new head of the federal Department of the Interior told the Wall Street Journal.
“What I can definitely say is, I’m not at a point now where it’s an imminent thing,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told the paper.
Citing two people briefed on the matter, Bloomberg reported that Trump is waiting until after the 2020 election to make another push.
Environmentalists and even coastal Republicans have rallied against drilling plans for years. Even the Navy has expressed some doubts, as we reported last year.
The federal government estimates that there are about a billion barrels of “technically recoverable” oil close to coastal San Diego County and Orange County.
Companies have not signed any new deals to drill off the California coast since a Santa Barbara oil spill 40 years ago.
In Other News
- More and more older Americans are homeless. They include 71-year-old Carl Russell, who sleeps on the streets in downtown San Diego. ”I can’t sleep solid because I don’t want to get my throat cut,” Russell said. “I lost a friend here who got stabbed to death.” (KPBS)
- A bill to overhaul California’s zoning laws is confusing. Here’s an illustrated flowchart to explain where things stand, as of now. The bill’s chances of actually passing remain uncertain, since some Sacramento lawmakers are basically going to force some communities to build more housing, despite local opposition.
- Like hotels, Airbnb plans to pay transient occupancy taxes in Oceanside starting next month. (NBC San Diego)
- The flu is still killing people in San Diego. So far, 67 people have died this flu season, far fewer than last year and the number of overall cases continues to fall. (Times of San Diego)
- A man accused of targeting Raytheon, the major defense contractor, has been arrested trying to cross into Mexico. A car registered to the man crashed into Raytheon’s office on Balboa Avenue and burst into flames. (NBC San Diego)
The Morning Report was written by Ry Rivard, and edited by Sara Libby.