san diego beach coronavirus
San Diegans enjoy the afternoon at a La Jolla beach as city officials start to slowly open up public spaces amid the coronavirus pandemic. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Beach access emerged in the first two months of San Diego’s pandemic response as a key burden on households in dealing with the governor’s stay-at-home order. It’s easy to forget that many in San Diego have never had adequate beach access.

And the coronavirus pandemic is only likely to make that problem worse.

The virus killed ElevateSD, a ballot measure from MTS that would have raised taxes to expand transit, which could have bridged the gap in beach accessibility between richer and whiter communities and low-income and minority communities.

Now, there’s no telling when voters will next be asked whether they want to expand the region’s transit system. And while the existing system doesn’t get white people to the beach all that fast either, they on average have easier beach access out of sheer proximity, based on decades of exclusionary development decisions, writes MacKenzie Elmer in a new story on the long-standing problem of equitable beach access that the pandemic is exacerbating.

SDSU Deal Not on the Docket

On Saturday, in the Politics Report, Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts broke down the concerns San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott had with the purchase and sale agreement San Diego State University submitted to the city to take over the Mission Valley stadium land. The university and mayor’s office want the deal to be approved at the City Council May 19 to allow enough time to close it before next year’s budget begins.

Well today is when the docket for the May 19 City Council meeting comes out and the deal is not going to be on it.

It could still be added to the docket as a supplemental but something is holding it up.

City Council President Georgette Gómez is in charge of putting things on the docket and she offered this written statement to Voice of San Diego: “The SDSU purchase and sale agreement hasn’t yet been docketed for Council review but all parties are working diligently, and I am committed to moving it forward as soon as it’s ready.”

UC System Won’t Release Police Use of Force Records

Despite a California police transparency law, the University of California has yet to publicly release nearly all of its known records of police use of force incidents.

The University of California system is aware of more than 200 incidents involving police use of force on its 10 campuses in recent years, reports VOSD contributor Gabe Schneider. Yet only two of those case files have been released publicly. California Senate Bill 1421, which opened up records involving instances where police used deadly force, lied on the job or committed sexual misconduct, went into effect last year.

“The unwillingness of UC campuses to release more of its investigations to Voice of San Diego over the last 16 months drives home an important point about public records: The agencies in possession of documents have significant say over what is and isn’t releasable based on how they interpret laws,” writes Schneider.

The dispute over releasing the records in some cases rests on the meaning of the word “great,” in determining whether an incident results in great bodily injury. For example, one of the case files that is being withheld involved a man who broke an ankle and leg. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story said UCLA was ordered to pay $500,000 as part of a use-of-force case; it agreed to pay $500,000 to settle the case.

The Gonzalez vs. Elon Musk Battle Continues

Now that the Alison Roman vs. Chrissy Teigen feud is over, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s spat with Elon Musk has usurped it for the title of The Week’s Greatest Internet Feud Between Mildly Famous People.

Gonzalez tweeted “F*ck Elon Musk” this weekend after Musk said on Twitter this weekend that the company would file a lawsuit against Alameda County after officials stopped the company from reopening its factory in Fremont. On Tuesday, Gonzalez told CNN that “Tesla and Elon Musk should do what every Californian is doing right now, which is listening to our public health officials.”

“We’ve been able to avoid some of the issues we’ve seen in places like New York because we have listened to the science,” Gonzalez said. “For a company that has received billions of dollars – that’s billions with a b – billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies to partner with our state, to throw this kind of temper tantrum over an order that said ‘We’ll work with you, give us some time and we’ll make sure you’re doing this properly,’ it’s just unacceptable at some point.”

When asked whether Alameda was overstepping its bounds, with tighter restrictions on manufacturing than what the state is currently requiring, Gonzalez said that Gov. Gavin Newsom has been clear that re-opening needs to be a county-by-county decision. 

In Other News

  • The El Cajon City Council rescinded its Climate Action Plan, citing revenue losses due to the coronavirus. (Union-Tribune)
  • The California State University system announced that classes will remain primarily online during the fall semester. (NBC 7)
  • The San Diego City Council Tuesday decided a housing and retail project at the site of a new trolley stop in Bay Park does not need the lengthy and expensive environmental impact report typically required in California. It’s the first time a San Diego development has received an exemption under a 12-year-old state law aimed at fast-tracking development that’s already considered environmentally friendly to combat both the state’s housing crisis and carbon footprint.
  • San Diego is agreeing to new five-year contracts totaling more than $33 million for equipment needed to haul trash to the Miramar Landfill and compact it. (Union-Tribune)
  • Although U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ruled that medically vulnerable U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detainees be released from the Otay Mesa Detention Center, he has ruled that medically vulnerable U.S. Marshals Service inmates in the same facility cannot be released. (City News Service)
  • Tijuana and San Diego leaders are forming a binational working group to track and monitor cross-border coronavirus impacts in the region. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office plans to announce the donation of 1,000 3D-printed face shields from San Diego to Tijuana’s public hospitals. The working group was able to donate approximately five ventilators to Tijuana. (Union-Tribune)
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed spending $300 million for the engineering, planning, design and construction of wastewater infrastructure at the border to address the region’s cross-border sewage issues. (City News Service)
  • The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified the university system that has not disclosed police use-of-force records. It is the University of California.

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