Todd Gloria at a Yes! For a Better San Diego campaign press conference in October 2019. / Photo by Megan Wood

For years, Todd Gloria had a labor problem.

As a Democratic city councilman, he even received a D- on the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council’s 2012 report card assessing city officials’ labor friendliness.

Yet Gloria has since managed to secure endorsements from the city’s major labor groups in his bid for mayor and kudos from the California Labor Federation for his tenure in the state Assembly.

In a new story, Andrew Keatts tracks how Gloria repaired those relationships and how city politics have shifted since former Mayor Bob Filner chastised Gloria for not being progressive enough.

Gloria supporters, including Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who led the Labor Council back in 2012, say the mayoral candidate has learned to brace for pushback and to prepare for fights he once sought to avoid.

Gloria acknowledged he’s learned from past fights over a minimum wage hike and the Barrio Logan community plan but maintains that the newfound support says more about the city’s current political climate and the ascendency of labor than about changes in his positions.

“I don’t feel as if I’ve changed; the circumstances around me have,” Gloria said.

Ash Street Scandal Bleeds Into the Mayor’s Race

Elsewhere in the mayor’s race, City Councilwoman Barbara Bry has attempted to leverage the ongoing scandal at 101 Ash St. as evidence of her opponents’ poor judgment. The former Sempra headquarters was supposed to house hundreds of city employees by now, but it sits vacant because of numerous asbestos violations. 

Bry has identified the building’s lease as the problem. It was approved by her opponents, Gloria and City Councilman Scott Sherman, in late 2016 before she joined the Council. 

But a review of public discussions going back three years as well as interviews with commercial leasing experts suggest that the lease isn’t to blame, Jesse Marx reports in a new story. The project went haywire during the remodel and eventually county air pollution regulators stepped in and urged the city to shut it down. 

Initially the remodel was only supposed to include five floors, but it was expanded to all 19 floors in 2018, when the City Council agreed to set aside an additional $30 million for improvements. 

Bry voted yes on that, as did Sherman. Gloria was no longer on the City Council by then. 

More details are beginning to emerge on why the remodel was such a mess. 

Our media partners at NBC 7 report that an engineer who worked on the Ash Street project claims his supervisors ignored his warnings about asbestos contamination and fire dangers. In a letter he filed with the city attorney’s office, Marlon Perez says a supervisor in the public works department knowingly put an unqualified person in charge of renovations and he erroneously designated the building as “free of asbestos and 100 percent safe for workers to enter.” 

Perez is the second engineer to come forward with claims about the city’s mishandling of the asbestos removal process. 

To the Times, Encinitas’ Housing Situation Is Sunny and ‘Funky’

The New York Times real estate section shed its grace on Encinitas, highlighting the small city’s “beachy energy” and schools. The paper profiled a couple who, tragically, was forced to sell their home in Boulder for $1.1 million so that they could afford to live in Cardiff with an ocean view. 

This story has a happy ending. The new home required a lotta renovations, but the headaches were worth it — they just loved the town’s “crazy, funky vibe.”

We also learned about a second couple who used to live in the South Park neighborhood of San Diego. They sought out Encinitas to avoid the “street noise,” but really what they loved in this quaint part of North County was “how quickly home prices were rising.” They made a cool $600,000 off a single piece of property in Leucadia in four years’ time. 

It’s all very touching. But here’s what the article glossed over. 

For years, Encinitas has been unable to get a plan on the books showing where housing at all income levels, including affordable housing, could go. State regulators recently warned city officials that its existing “policies perpetuate segregation on persons in protected classes.”

In a recent newsletter, Mayor Catherine Blakespear said she believes “the city is fully compliant” with state housing law, “and we’ll be meeting with the Department of Housing and Community Development this week to discuss the issues they have.” 

In Other News

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

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