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Assemblywomen Shirley Weber attends a San Diego County Democratic Party event on Election night in March 2020. / Photo by Megan Wood

While it’s only a formality at this point, the state Legislature still needs to confirm Assemblywoman Shirley Weber as secretary of state. Actually, a few things must happen before it can do that.

Kamala Harris must officially resign from her U.S. senate seat. She’ll probably do that when she becomes vice president. Then Alex Padilla will need to vacate his post as secretary of state to become a senator. Then, Weber can resign from her seat and take up the job in Sacramento.

But the maneuvering for Weber’s seat locally has already begun. For an unplanned emergency Politics Report, I reviewed candidates who may try to take the job. I also offered a take on Trump’s pardon of former Rep. Duncan Hunter.

One candidate is in: Dr. Akilah Weber, an obstetrician/gynecologist and La Mesa City Councilwoman (and the Assemblymember’s daughter) announced after the Politics Report came out that she was going to run.

If you want to get to know her a bit, after that particularly violent weekend in La Mesa this summer, I interviewed her about what had happened, policing and why she and her colleagues desperately sought a curfew and law enforcement support from the state.

A lot of questions are open: Shirley Weber was a big voice in Sacramento who pushed for police and education reform. Will that leadership be replaced? Black leaders want the district to remain represented by a Black person but the seat will get a look from all kinds of people. Will it find different representation? It is very diverse. Among voting age residents, it is 38 percent White, 29 percent Latino and 18 percent Asian/Pacific Islander.

This is traditionally a pretty quiet week. We like to set things in motion and allow writers and staff to spend as much time with family as they would like. But 2020, am I right? Let’s see what I can round up for you.

More Politics: Stimulus Coming

President Trump decided to sign the $900 billion relief package Congress passed last week. While it does not include the help the city of San Diego may have been hoping for, it does include $54.3 billion for K-12 schools, about four times what schools got in the CARES Act months ago. The money will be distributed through Title 1 funding for schools with the highest percentage of students from low income families.

For comparison, the earlier relief package brought San Diego Unified $30.5 million and an additional $91.8 million from coronavirus relief packages passed by the state with help from federal aide. This largely helped the district close an existing budget gap.

Grades during a pandemic: The Union-Tribune got ahold of data on how kids are doing in school during this weird year. The district is seeing a surge in failing grades but says fewer students are in danger of failing.

Homeless Plan, Remember It?

Last year, the San Diego City Council officially embraced a comprehensive plan for what it will pursue to address homelessness in the city. Then a pandemic arrived.

Lisa Halverstadt checked into the status of the plan. In some ways, it got more relevant. Other parts of it have not been addressed at all.

In Other News

  • As of Dec. 26, there were 1,486 people struggling with COVID-19 in San Diego hospitals and 379 were in intensive care. That’s almost triple where we were when the virus spread peaked last summer. The latest stay-at-home order is likely to be extended.
  • Hospital executives issued a grim warning about the state of the ICUs and their capacity for more COVID-19 patients. (CBS8)
  • For Friday’s podcast, I interviewed KPBS’ Katy Stegall and Claire Trageser about the data they got about what the county calls “outbreaks” and where they are happening.
  • Our pal Randy Dotinga, who often regaled social media with funny tales of his family, reported in a moving series of posts that his father died of COVID-19. NBC 7 did a story.
  • The Union-Tribune posted its 2020 year in pictures.
  • The paper also reported that San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit enrolled in the city’s Deferred Retirement Option Plan in 2019. The DROP program, as its called, allows police officers to retire but keep working for five years collecting their salary and also collecting their pension as well, which get stored into an account they can cash out or leave as an investment. But it means that he will have to leave the city’s employment in about three years.
  • On Sunday, a man at a gas station saw my Padres hat and asked me who I thought they should try to acquire. I said Blake Snell, a star pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. (I might have just said “that Blake guy” as I struggled to remember his name). Anyway, that night, the Padres announced they had acquired him. But they had to give up several prospects, including my favorite, Luis Patiño, a pitcher from Colombia. Never get attached to baseball players.

This Morning Report was written by Scott Lewis.

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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