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San Diego City Hall / Photo by Sam Hodgson

VOSD’s Jesse Marx broke the news late Wednesday that San Diego city employees who attended a City Council meeting earlier this week have been instructed to quarantine after someone in attendance tested positive the following day for COVID-19.

On Thursday afternoon, the city’s human resources department emailed all city staffers to confirm that an employee who attended the City Council meeting later tested positive for coronavirus. The email clarified that quarantine isn’t required for all who attended the City Council meeting in person but only those “meeting close contact criteria.”

All who will need to quarantine for 14 days have already been contacted, the HR department wrote.

In a Thursday statement, City Council President Georgette Gómez, whose office is tasked with scheduling City Council and committee meetings, wrote that she is working with city administrators to ensure all who were potentially exposed are tested and have quarantined to reduce the possibility of community spread.

“We are in the process of evaluating how to safely move forward with critical city business,” Gómez wrote.

For now, a City Council meeting and two City Council committees are scheduled for next week. The city’s planning commission is also set to meet.

Barrios Maybe Not Out After All

Kelvin Barrios suspended his campaign for the San Diego City Council earlier this week after losing a bunch of major endorsements. His own employer, Laborers Local Union 89, pulled support in the face of reports about a criminal probe and potential ethics violations

It’s too late to remove Barrios’ name from the November ballot, meaning voters could still elect him to the District 9 seat (currently held by his former boss, Council President Georgette Gómez). And when asked about it by Univision, he didn’t rule out the possibility that he might still serve

“I would have to think about what to do in that moment because that means that the voices of our district would still want me to be the voice of our district in the city,” he said in Spanish. 

The San Diego County Democrats are officially neutral in the D9 race, but there’s a possibility the party’s leaders could endorse Barrios’ opponent, Sean Elo. The party’s executive board meets Tuesday.

Back to School, COVID-Style

The Union-Tribune surveyed school districts across the county have reopened or set opening dates sometime this month.

But eight districts, including San Diego Unified and multiple South Bay districts, are closed indefinitely or haven’t set full reopening plans.

As Will Huntsberry reported earlier this week, a limited number of San Diego Unified students, including special education and homeless students, may start slowly returning to school Oct. 13.

As more schools reopen, NBC 7 notes that the county announced this week it is opening coronavirus testing sites in San Diego, Chula Vista, Del Mar and El Cajon that are exclusively for school staff and students to make it easier for them to access testing.

  • As more students and families stay home, 10 News reports that child welfare calls are down though experts fear the economic impacts of the pandemic could be leading to more child abuse.

Check Out the Rest of Politifest

Our annual public affairs summit runs through Saturday and you can register at any time — literally right up until the end.

If you haven’t registered yet, below are the discussions you’ll be missing today and Saturday. You can register here. 

We will be recording and posting all of these discussions as soon as we can. You can check out our live blog to see interesting updates from the latest sessions. Adriana Heldiz also made this video highlighting the major races and issues in the November election.

Here’s a sampling of some of the sessions we’ll be hosting the next couple days.

5-5:55 p.m.

VOSD Editor in Chief Scott Lewis is moderating a mayoral debate between City Councilwoman Barbara Bry and Assemblyman Todd Gloria.

VOSD’s Kayla Jimenez is moderating the first of two forums with Oceanside mayoral candidates Christopher Rodriguez, Fernando Garcia, Fabio Marchi and Esther Sanchez.

Coast News reporter Caitlin Steinberg will moderate an Encinitas mayoral debate between current Mayor Catherine Blakespear and challenger and community advocate Julie Thunder.

VOSD’s Will Huntsberry will speak with school board candidates Dr. LaWanda Richmond, Camille Harris, Crystal Trull, Richard Barrera and Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne.

6-6:55 p.m.

VOSD’s Kayla Jimenez is moderating the second of two forums with Oceanside mayoral candidates Rocky Chavez, Rob Howard, Ruben Major and Louis Uridel.

Community members and groups will host conversations about the role of town councils, equity issues as the region recovers from the pandemic and Sandag’s transportation vision.

Saturday

10-10:55 a.m.

Lauren Hepler of CalMatters will host a session on state Proposition 22 with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and David Cruz of the LULAC Business and Economic Development Council.

VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan will lead a discussion about redistricting and its implications for the city.

11-11:55 a.m.

Alain Stephens of The Trace will discuss police reform with state Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

VOSD’s Kayla Jimenez will lead a panel about Gen Z activism around racial injustice.

Noon-12:55 p.m.

Lewis will host a discussion with City Hall insiders about political changes in the city and the major issues the city will face in the months to come.

You can check out the full schedule here. 

News Roundup

  • In a new op-ed, Brian Pollard argues that the mayor appears poised to give a sweetheart deal to a utility and to leave vulnerable communities behind in the process.
  • Despite some delays, the Union-Tribune reports that an $8 million makeover of the Children’s Park downtown is continuing to move forward.
  • Rare good news for library lovers during the pandemic: The city has announced it will be reopening a dozen city libraries this weekend.
  • Times of San Diego reports that Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed Assemblyman Todd Gloria’s legislation to streamline environmental reviews as regional leaders transform the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command site in Old Town into a transit hub accompanied by a mixed-use development.
  • Fox 5 San Diego checked on eight border wall prototypes constructed in the South Bay a couple years ago ahead of a visit by President Donald Trump and found they are now “mounds of concrete chunks, rebar and pipes.”
  • Attention San Diegans who have been following the city’s long-running vacation rental regulatory saga for years. The city has posted details on a new proposed ordinance on its website that’s backed by City Councilwoman Jennifer Campbell, major labor groups and Expedia, which owns two vacation rental platforms. The city’s planning commission is set to weigh in on the proposed ordinance at its meeting next Thursday.
  • Yikes. 10 News reports that at least three large great white sharks were spotted around Torrey Pines State Beach on Thursday.

Correction

Wednesday’s North County Report misstated the Oceanside planning commission’s most recent stance on North River Farms. It is neutral.

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

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