Power lines in San Diego
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San Diego City Council had a chance Thursday to tell Mayor Kevin Faulconer what it wants to see in a new contract with a power provider before it goes to bid – but they couldn’t agree on anything. 

City spokespeople also couldn’t tell reporter MacKenzie Elmer what’s next for the franchise fee agreement immediately after the special Council meeting. 

It’s clear the Council is jazzed by the interest from behemoth Berkshire Hathaway and Anaheim-based Indian Energy LLC, which makes for a more competitive bidding process and a greater chance San Diego can ask and get things like a $62 million cash payment from the winner. 

Elmer unwraps some caution tape for ratepayers in the meantime. There’s a chance, if the city allows the winning power company to pay that back to the city in both cash and services (like programs to fix sidewalks or a solar panel rebate), it will be hard to compare offers objectively. 

In short, it’s easier to compare dollar amounts than what a power company says its service is worth. 

And, once again, there doesn’t appear to be anything guaranteeing that the $62 million payment the city is seeking will be paid out of shareholders’ pockets like the Council wants. 

We’ll see how the city attorney’s office decides to describe the payment in the future contract. 

How San Diego Gave ‘A Shot in the Arm’ to the Suffrage Movement

August marks the 100th anniversary of the United States granting women the right to vote and while the national battle for suffrage often gets the most ink, VOSD contributor and resident historian Randy Dotinga zoomed in on the role San Diego played in moving the cause along.

Dotinga found that newspaper magnate and philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps helped lead the suffrage movement in California, rallying for reform in the early 1900s. Scripps led the La Jolla Woman’s Club to push the cause and enlisted her chain’s newspapers to back the right for women to vote and urge men to support them.

San Diego County voters in 1911 supported suffrage by 3,331 to 2,464 votes, providing about a third of the votes in a statewide winning margin that was “a shot in the arm” for the national movement.

Opinion: Time for MTS to Stop Targeting Black Riders

Last week, VOSD revealed that Black riders make up less than 15 percent of the Metropolitan Transit System’s ridership but received nearly a third of quality of life citations the agency gave out last year.

In a new op-ed, National City Council candidate Marcus Bush writes about an experience last August in which he says he was harassed and improperly detained by MTS officers. At the time, Bush – who is Black – worked for City Council President Georgette Gómez, then chair of the MTS board.

Bush argues MTS should rethink its approach to enforcement and fare evasion citations that have soared in recent years and take steps to address both disparities in enforcement and the root causes that can lead riders to evade fares.

News Roundup

  • inewsource found the city may have overcharged property owners thousands of dollars in granny flat permit fees.
  • Ocean Beach residents are sounding off about recent large gatherings near the OB Pier they believe that the city should be cracking down on, 10 News reports. CBS 8 reported that police showed up at 10 p.m. Wednesday night to break up the crowd.
  • Meanwhile, City News Service learned that the Port and the city of Coronado shut down Grand Caribe Shoreline Park on Thursday due to heavier than normal use.
  • One of the homeless service providers at the Convention Center told the Union-Tribune it thinks shipping containers could be ideal housing solutions for the hundreds in search of homes. Another potential solution – a proposal to house homeless veterans at the Del Mar Fairgrounds – seems to have fallen apart.
  • San Diego’s smart streetlights are getting national attention. Jesse Marx has written extensively about the program and reported last month that the cameras are exclusively a tool of law enforcement. CityLab talked to the CEO of a private company, who said: “Nobody asked us to keep the video on. I actually decided to do it, from the standpoint of public safety.”
  • The City Council voted Thursday to declare that if federal officers hypothetically came to San Diego to intervene in peaceful local protests that have not yet happened, they would be against it. (Union-Tribune)
  • Bike lanes on 30th Street in North Park, opposed by some local residents and businesses, could be in place by September after a tentative ruling from a Superior Court judge declined to halt the project while a lawsuit from the “Save 30th Street Parking” group continues. (KPBS)
  • Hours after the County Board of Supervisors decided to let gyms and churches operate in parks, the Awaken church in Kearny Mesa held an outdoor service with few congregants wearing face coverings. In mid-July, the county issued a cease-and-desist letter to the church for not following public health orders during outdoor services. A county spokesman said the government is considering how to respond to the latest defiance. (Union-Tribune)
  • Law enforcement officials issued a warning Thursday based on data showing a spike in fentanyl-related overdoses across the county. (NBC 7)
  • Two men are facing hate crime charges after they threw eggs at and antagonized Black Lives Matter protesters in Imperial Beach, and sucker punched a Black man recording the protest. (Union-Tribune)

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

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