A water vending machine in Chula Vista / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

If you are wary of drinking tap water but don’t want to buy endless bottles of water, there’s another option: water kiosks outside of supermarkets and other stores that dispense treated water. There are more than a thousand such machines in San Diego County.

Ry Rivard dug into the water vending machine industry and found some fascinating stuff: The markup on the water the companies dispense is enormous: One company pays about $4,000 for water and resells it for $70,000 per kiosk.

And though they’re marketing a fresh, clean product, some industry veterans say the competition is fierce – and dirty.

“It’s really a nasty business, it’s not a gentleman’s business,” said an attorney who’s represented one water company. 

Though the California Department of Public Health oversees the industry, last year it inspected just two – two! – machines throughout San Diego County.

Lemon Grove Still Contemplating Pulling the Plug on Itself

Lemon Grove is once again facing calls to give up being its own city and fold under the county’s purview in order to resolve ongoing financial issues, the Union-Tribune reports.

The city’s struggles are a result of “rising pension and public safety costs and declining revenues,” according to the U-T. “As reserves shrink and city officials appear unable or unwilling to impose tax increases, former and current city officials say it’s time to at least consider disincorporation.”

Last year, VOSD contributor Randy Dotinga laid out what would need to happen in order for the city to disincorporate. Citizens could initiate the process, which would eventually be handed over to the Local Agency Formation Commission. The state Legislature also has power to dissolve a city.

The Painful Bureaucracy of ‘Remain in Mexico’

The Trump administration’s border policies can change quickly, and even attorneys have trouble keeping up. Now imagine what it’s like for a migrant seeking refuge. 

In this week’s Border Report, Maya Srikrishnan pulls back the layers of bureaucracy to explain how a woman managed to win her asylum case yet remained detained for more than 24 hours. It took two days before she was allowed to leave. 

Officials now say they needed to fill out the right paperwork and get approval from the right agency within the Department of Homeland Security. But knowing which is the right agency depends on where the migrant happens to be. 

In Other News

  • Californians overwhelmingly support the new vaccine law that was prompted, in part, by a Voice of San Diego investigation. (Los Angeles Times)
  • The San Diego Police Officers Association endorsed Todd Gloria’s campaign for mayor Monday. Among unions, the police are often the most likely to consider endorsing a Republican in races like this but there remains no prominent Republican in the race. The primary is in March.
  • Rady Children’s Hospital settled a lawsuit filed by the family of a transgender boy who killed himself after hospital staff allegedly ridiculed his request to be referred to as a boy. (NBC San Diego)
  • The 9th Circuit will hear arguments in Rep. Duncan Hunter’s effort to get the case against him thrown out on Dec. 12. (Union-Tribune)
  • At a gathering for fans of the Padres, the chairman of the team’s ownership group, Ron Fowler, apologized for the season and ripped the team’s performance over the last four months. He promised heads would roll, starting with his own, if next year wasn’t better. (Union-Tribune)

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Scott Lewis.

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