Homes being rebuilt after a fire in Alpine / Photo by Ry Rivard

As insurance companies raise rates to cope with growing wildfire risk across California, many homeowners are likely to be caught off guard by higher rates.

It may not need to be this way. Ry Rivard explores the state’s insurance regulations and how public notifications required by law doesn’t actually result in the public being notified of proposed rate changes. Insurance companies are exploiting a loophole to avoid public hearings about high rate increases.

For instance, if an insurer asks for more than a 7 percent increase, the public can force the state’s elected insurance commissioner to hold a public hearing.

In the past two years, more than two dozen home insurance companies requested a rate increase of 6.9 percent. 

“When the voters passed Proposition 103, they expected there to be a lot of hearings, and there aren’t,” said Harvey Rosenfield, the author of Proposition 103.

Even the 6.9 percent requests mask the true effect of rate increases on homeowners. That’s because insurers are using the average rate hike across the entire company. One company that requested such an increase is actually looking to double rates on more than 5,000 homeowners.

Another Big Balboa Park Project

There’s another plan to clear (some) cars out of a longtime parking lot in Balboa Park.  

The city plans to transform what’s now an asphalt parking lot in front of the San Diego Air & Space Museum into a paved public space complete with landscaping and public seating a la the more bustling Plaza de Panama.

At a Balboa Park Committee meeting last week, Park and Recreation officials said the city will use $1.2 million of roughly $9 million that had been set to help bankroll the now-defunct Plaza de Panama project to pay for the Palisades area makeover. They hope to finish the project within the next six months.

Officials said last week that the project will result in the loss of 144 parking spaces in the area but that they plan to add 114 additional spots in two other parking lots.

While new to many current park stakeholders, the plan to remove parking and restore what had been a public space back during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition is set out in the city’s master and precise plans for the park that were approved by the City Council about three decades ago.

Politics Roundup

Gómez Has a Warning for Faulconer

San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez’s proposal to require developers to build more affordable housing or pay a larger fee was narrowly approved. But Mayor Kevin Faulconer could still squash it. 

In a podcast interview, Gomez told Scott Lewis that if the mayor vetoes her new inclusionary housing ordinance, some of his own efforts might be in jeopardy. 

“I’ve been a good ally and he’s been a good ally,” she said. “He’s been very supportive of the work I’ve been doing around transit and I’m appreciative of that. But this is important. So if this were to go down I would engage differently.”

Faulconer has created a broad coalition of supporters to help campaign for a tax increase that would fund a convention center expansion as well as homeless services and more. 

Gomez also declined to say which of the two leading mayoral candidates she plans to support. 

You can listen to the highlights on our weekly show or watch the entire interview here. 

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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