Assemblyman Todd Gloria speaks at a San Diego Labor Council rally. Gloria is running for San Diego mayor. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

We waited two days for an update in the ballot counts to be sure we could declare a winner in the mayor’s race. Thursday, the county tallied about 30,000 more votes in the race and Assemblyman Todd Gloria’s lead over Councilwoman Barbara Bry widened.

Bry had not conceded as of Thursday. With roughly 155,000 votes remaining to be counted in city races, however, Bry needed to win almost 70 percent of them to catch up. She had told her supporters and the media she might be able to pull this out.

When the update came, only 45 percent of the latest batch went to her pile.

Todd Gloria will be San Diego’s next mayor.

In a new story, Andrew Keatts examined Gloria’s pledge to lead San Diego like a big city. The new mayor-elect said he wanted to dispatch with problems like vacation rentals and scooters quickly and decisively and address systemic problems in housing, homelessness and transportation.

Keatts asked the Chamber of Commerce and largest union of city employees why they made it such a priority to elect Gloria over Bry. They invested major resources into it.

The election was not just a choice of mayor but a referendum on regional transit ambitions and growth and it seems like Gloria has a mandate to deal with big problems in both areas. But he will also face unprecedented budget pressures while so much of the city’s economy remains paralyzed by a pandemic that this week spread so much more shutdowns are likely.

About That … School Reopening Chances Looking Bleak

Schools for most of the students in San Diego are still closed to in-person learning. What minor hopes desperate parents and teachers struggling with online learning may have that they will open took a hit Wednesday.

The county announced we may be headed to a more restrictive tier of control of the coronavirus.

In this week’s Learning Curve newsletter, our education reporter Will Huntsberry gets into detail about what will happen to schools if purple tier restrictions kick in for San Diego County. Districts that aren’t already open will not be allowed to do so, he explains, while districts that have already opened can stay open.

The county announced it has 7.4 cases per 100,000 residents, which means we’re already in the purple tier. If we stay in that tier for another week, it means all the restrictions that go along with purple status will kick in.

That means most indoor businesses will have to move operations outside or shutdown. Except hair salons can stay open for indoor.

County education officials are unsure how many districts are currently open for hybrid learning, but the Union-Tribune reported last month that about two-thirds were open for in-person classes or about to open.

Also noteworthy: Big districts across the state, including San Diego Unified, are now asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to create a “common standard” to decide when school districts can reopen. The superintendents’ letter laid out several pages of criteria they believe should be in place, such as widespread testing at no cost, a universal mask requirement and six-feet distancing.

More School Disruptions Coming

More than 100 teachers are expected to leave their post mid-year thanks to a Dec. 31 retirement incentive offered by the San Diego Unified School District.

The district is offering most employees who are at least 55 years old with 15 years of service $25,000 to $75,000 to retire, with money deposited into employee health savings accounts over five years.

But with most students expected to return to campus shortly after, assuming current reopening plans come to pass and public health circumstances allow, schools could find themselves short-handed. Details about how district officials plan to handle the vacancies and turnover remained elusive to many employees, principals and families this week, reports Ashly McGlone.

District officials did not respond to McGlone’s questions about the timing of the incentive.

Teachers’ Union representatives said 130 of its members submitted retirement papers by the deadline last week, along with 26 administrators and 200 or so non-teaching employees, like office, maintenance and food workers.

Major Support for New Police Oversight Board

San Diego voters overwhelmingly approved a measure this week to create a stronger oversight body for the San Diego Police Department. Measure B will replace the existing Community Review Board on Police Practices with a commission that has the power to conduct independent investigations and subpoena witnesses, and have its own legal counsel.

“With the ability to audit and monitor, the new commission is going to have the ability to make recommendations to the San Diego Police Department about what their practices should and should not be,” said Andrea St. Julian, co-chair of San Diegans for Justice and the author of Measure B. “And supporting that ability is the commission’s ability to hire policy analysts who can advise them on what the best practices are.”

Our managing editor, Sara Libby, spoke with St. Julian about its passage and how implementation of the measure will work.

Election Updates

The newest batch of vote totals is up, though it only reflects about 65,000 new votes counted and 305,000 remain uncounted.

  • The District 2 county supervisor race remains incredibly close. Poway Mayor Steve Vaus is leading former state Sen. Joel Anderson by fewer than 1,000 votes.
  • There’s an even closer squeaker in a race for the Imperial Beach City Council: Jack Fisher is leading Mark West by just 15 (!!!) votes. 
  • California leaders are weighing whether to move to an all-mail election, the Associated Press reports.
  • Sara Jacobs claimed a “decisive victory” in her race for Congress in a statement she put out Thursday. She offered an opening promise of sorts: “I am going to Washington as only the third woman to ever represent San Diego in Congress, and as one of the youngest women ever to serve, from anywhere. And I take that responsibility seriously — to carry the mantle of a generation burdened by student debt and living through the second economic crisis of our adult lives. I’m ready to fight – for my generation and future generations – to make sure that our schools are safe, that our planet is livable, that we end the Forever Wars and uphold our responsibility to our veterans and military families.”

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood, and edited by Sara Libby.

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