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Hotels, restaurants and shops that rent their spaces from the city and the Port of San Diego have implored their local government landlords to provide rent relief as they grapple with coronavirus shutdowns.

Within a few weeks of their initial requests, Lisa Halverstadt reports that both the city and the Port have promised to allow at least some of their tenants to pay the rent amounts they are required to pay each month – known as minimum rents – months from now.

But businesses and leaders of both the Port Tenants Association and the Mission Bay Lessees Association have said deferrals won’t be sufficient as they struggle to keep their doors open during an unprecedented economic crisis. Many have been forced to shutter altogether.

“These businesses are closed for no fault of their own. There’s no revenue coming in,” said hotelier Bill Evans, whose company rents three properties from the city in La Jolla and Mission Bay Park. “How does the city expect those payments to be made?”

How Local Media Is Surviving the Pandemic

The public needs sources of reliable information now. But as news consumption is going up, media outlets that rely on advertising revenues are hurting. 

VOSD contributor Randy Dotinga surveyed San Diego’s newspapers, magazines and broadcasters. Three publications have stopped publishing entirely. 

The Union-Tribune is relying on its subscribers and remaking certain editions sections as reader demand changes. Publisher Jeff Light said the newspaper is sticking to its plan to transform from a mostly print company to a mostly digital one. In the meantime, KPBS halted a pledge drive but may get federal relief funding. 

A British media trade magazine reported this week that more than 1,000 U.S. publications are making cutbacks due to the coronavirus. A bit of good news: 54 percent of U.S. adults told Pew that the news media have done an excellent or good job responding to the coronavirus outbreak. 

While we’re on the subject … Scott Lewis, the guy who’s in charge of this place, or whatever, reports more sustained readership than ever and says there are no planned cuts. 

Opinion: School Employee Raises Positioned Everyone Poorly for This Crisis

Californians agreed to tax themselves to raise money for education under Proposition 30, which passed in 2012. But that money is mostly being spent on administrator and teacher pay raises.

In a new op-ed, Todd Maddison, an Oceanside Unified parent and research manager at Transparent California, writes that raises are coming at the expense of programs and services that benefit students. He also argues that both districts and the county Office of Education need to inform parents when raises might endanger a school’s financial well-being.

There’s a looming school budget crisis because of the pandemic. Districts get most of their money from the state, and the outlook for the state budget right now is not good. Ashly McGlone presented some numbers last month and reported that San Diego Unified was among the districts asking state lawmakers for $3 billion in emergency funds.

  • The U-T also reports that one day — one day! — into San Diego Unified’s move to online learning and already there are stories emerging of people potentially hacking into Zoom sessions. A spokesman for Sweetwater Union High School District said it’s “moving away” from the videoconferencing platform given security concerns. 

In Other News

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

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