The foundation of a home in Fallbrook remains standing after the Lilac Fire engulfed a nearby community. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

More and more, San Diego Gas & Electric is shutting off power to backcountry communities when it has reason to believe that heavy winds could take down its power lines and start a fire.

That’s been one of the utility’s main fire prevention efforts ever since the company helped cause catastrophic damage countywide in a 2007 fire. The company has spent $1.5 billion upgrading its equipment to make such accidents less likely, yet it still isn’t confident it can keep the power on when it’s especially windy in East County.

For families who live in those areas, especially those who need the power to run medical equipment in their homes to keep them healthy, that solution is a problem of its own, as Ry Rivard reports in a new story on SDG&E’s fire prevention efforts.

Yet, SDG&E’s increased willingness to turn power off is considered a model for other utilities in the state, especially since Pacific Gas & Electric equipment caused the Camp Fire last year. That hasn’t appeased County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who represents East County, who said the decision to increase shutoffs is just SDG&E covering “its liability rear end” after failing to adequately secure its equipment.

Briggs Wants to Stop SRO Closure

Attorney Cory Briggs has sued to try to force the new owners of a downtown single-room occupancy hotel that has for years housed dozens of low-income San Diegans to replace the units they plan to shutter.

Briggs, who sued on behalf of the Affordable Housing Coalition of San Diego County, argues that the Plaza Hotel owner failed to meet a deadline to seek an exemption to avoid replacing the units they plan to destroy and thus that the city should not have approved the conversion absent that commitment.

Housing commissioners had voted in March to sink up to $500,000 into relocation assistance for tenants, something they’ve never done before.

Briggs told The Union-Tribune that his lawsuit isn’t intended to force the Housing Commission to abandon its plan to add departing tenants but wants the agency to require the new owners to follow city law.

NBC 7 San Diego reported that more than half of Plaza Hotel’s tenants have already moved out as of this week.

VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt previously dug into the coming Plaza Hotel closure and the history of the city’s dwindling single-room occupancy hotel supply.

In Other News

  • Violent crime is up slightly citywide year over year but a Union Tribune analysis shows some San Diego census blocks have seen larger spikes in crime in the past five years. (Union-Tribune)
  • State officials have rejected San Diego Gas & Electric’s attempt to end a high-usage charge that left customers reeling last summer. (Times of San Diego)
  • The City Council will vote next week on whether to hire a childcare coordinator to help city workers with young children. (KPBS)
  • An Oceanside city councilman is arguing that City Council members deserve full-time jobs and salaries. (Union-Tribune)


Thursday’s Morning Report included a summary of a KPBS story on the “YIGBY” movement. The group includes the Clairemont Lutheran Church congregation but is itself nondenominational.

Disclosure: Mitch Mitchell, SDG&E’s vice president for government affairs, sits on Voice of San Diego’s board of directors.

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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