The Morning Report
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Leaders of two water agencies that serve about 50,000 people in and around Fallbrook are fed up with rising costs at the San Diego County Water Authority. They plan to buy water from Riverside County instead.
The decision to find cheaper rates in a neighboring county calls into question the Water Authority’s future, Ry Rivard reports. Several other local water districts, including the city of San Diego’s water department, plan to recycle their wastewater — a move that could further diminish the need for the region’s main supplier.
The Water Authority has spent big in recent decades to ensure the region wasn’t caught off guard by drought. Today, San Diegans pay some of the highest rates in the country.
Considering that the water will come from the same river and get here through the same pipes, though, customers of those districts shouldn’t notice a difference. Instead, the exit plans expose one of the hidden absurdities in California water: Making a few changes on paper can save customers hundreds of dollars a year.
Still, there’s no guarantee the exit plans, which need outside approval from a commission, will be successful. The Water Authority is notoriously litigious and it may not let the agencies leave without a fight.
Tariffs to Increase the Prices of Groceries, Cars and Craft Beer (!)
President Donald Trump’s plan to impose a 5 percent tariff on imported goods from Mexico starting June 10 is seen as a cudgel to halt illegal immigration but will lead to higher prices for San Diego consumers when they buy groceries, cars and craft beer, the U-T reports.
He’s threatened to double the taiff to 10 percent in July and gradually increase it to 25 percent.
It would also inflict damage on Tijuana, where the economy is doing well. The U-T also reports that residential real estate construction is booming and manufacturing and medical tourism have helped grow the labor force to historic levels.
“Tijuana’s woes usually coincide with some worldwide event and a bad economy in Mexico,” the newspaper reports. “This time, any economic crisis would be directly caused by the American government.”
Mayor Kevin Faulconer strongly condemned the tariffs late Friday. “Increased tariffs on Mexico are a tax on San Diego’s border economy,” he wrote on Twitter. “This proposal undermines the USMCA trade deal the administration is working to pass. I strongly oppose tariffs that would hurt families and businesses whose way of life rely on fair and free trade.”
What Weber’s Bill Means for the Rest of the Country
Over on the podcast, Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby highlight Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s police shooting bill, which her peers unanimously approved last week.
To put that conversation into a national context, the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery stopped by the podcast studio and discussed how the bill fits into a broader conversation about reform. In this bonus podcast episode, Lowery talked about why police shootings generally have faded from view compared with a couple years ago.
- The country got a taste of what the crush of Democratic presidential candidates all vying against one another will actually look like thanks to the California Democratic convention this weekend, where more than a dozen made their pitch. (NPR)
- A small-scale battle over who’s to blame for the demise of SB 50 has been playing out on Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins’ Wikipedia page. Her press secretary attempted to rewrite critical passages — painting her as a champion of housing in the process — but a Wikipedia editor blocked her.
- In the latest chapter of the pension dilemma that never ends, the San Diego City Council is poised to make a big legal decision behind closed doors. Lewis and Keatts report that elected officials must soon decide whether the should join the unions to take Proposition B out of the City Charter or to continue to fight for it. The mayor wants to continue the fight in court after losing at the California Supreme Court level, but he won’t have much say in the process.
In Other News
- Eleven people were named as part of an alleged charter school scam that netted some $50 million in taxpayer money. The U-T waded into the 235-page indictment to understand how prosecutors say the conspiracy unfolded.
- The flu outbreak at San Diego’s migrant shelter is only getting worse. (NBC San Diego)
- Black residents make up 4.5 percent of San Diego County’s population, but they represent 19 percent of the youth in foster care. Local advocacy groups held a press conference to bring attention to racial disparities in the child services system.
The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.