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Councilman Scott Sherman / Photo by Megan Wood

Speaking to a crowd of rowdy Republicans Monday night, Councilman Scott Sherman promised that if elected mayor, he would combat organized labor’s influence by seeking to roll back wage standards for subsidized housing projects and renegotiate contracts with municipal unions.

But even if Sherman’s mayoral bid is successful, that will be a tall order as long as he’s facing a City Council with a Democratic supermajority that has a better chance of growing in 2020 than it does of shrinking.

We asked Sherman after the Monday night meeting of the county Republican Party just how he planned to implement policies to combat labor’s influence at City Hall.

He said he’d wield the power of the mayor’s office far more than his would-be predecessor, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, has done in recent years. If he can’t get five Council votes to renegotiate union contracts or limit prevailing wage standards, he said, he’ll at least go down swinging.

“He should be using more of the bully pulpit to talk about union control, some of the decisions getting made because of special interests and not what’s in the best interests of the city,” Sherman said of how his approach would differ from Faulconer’s.

On other issues, he said he’ll bypass the Council and go right to the voters. Sherman said that’s his plan to revive managed competition, the city’s defunct process of letting private companies bid against city workers to take over city services, and for fixing the mess on the city’s hands with Proposition B, the voter approved pension-reform measure that the state Supreme Court last year said violated state labor law.

“It’s not going to be done in the courts, it’s not going to be done through negotiation, it’s going to have to be done through the ballot,” he said.

Gonzalez Previews AB 5 Changes

After months of angry complaints from freelancers, Republicans mobilizing against her and multiple lawsuits, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez gave a preview on Twitter of the updates and changes she plans to make to AB 5, the landmark law she passed last year limiting when employers can designate workers as independent contractors.

The biggest change: She’s agreed to drop the cap requiring businesses to make any freelancer a part-time or full-time employee if they produce 35 articles or more in a year.

She also plans to clarify that an existing exemption in the bill – one allowing businesses to provide services to other businesses – can also apply to individual freelancers.

Freelance journalists aren’t the only ones who could see the rules change: “We are still pushing hard on industry and worker representatives to reach agreement on language regarding musicians. We plan to address the unique situation regarding musicians in the next round of amendments by March. We are working hard on musicians issues!” Gonzalez tweeted.

Musicians have become another group vocally opposing the new law. 

The language for AB 1850, the new measure changing and clarifying AB 5, isn’t public yet. Gonzalez said more announcements about changes to AB 5 will happen next week.

In Other News

County jails across the state have experienced a large increase in open mental health cases over the past 10 years, according to a new report from California Health Policy Strategies. In San Diego County, 45 percent of inmates have open cases. (CalMatters)

The City Council will consider a $600,000 plan next week to replace 144 parking spots at Balboa Park with a public plaza. (Union-Tribune)

In less than a month, voters will decide whether they should have veto power over new housing developments in unincorporated areas of the county. Scott Lewis explained the ballot measures on this week’s episode of San Diego Explained.

In a new profile, inewsource reports on attorney Cory Briggs’ history as a so-called taxpayer advocate, and how that affects his current bid for city attorney.

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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