The Morning Report
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The Port of San Diego’s landlords want to build a highway to Oregon — through the ocean.
Not a literal concrete highway, but a designated path so big barges can transport tons and tons of goods along the whole western coast of the United States. Barges used to do that until trucking became more popular around the 1970s.
But diesel trucking is the culprit of an enormous amount of planet-warming gases and air pollution, two things California is cracking down on especially hard. That’s how the Port of San Diego, the region’s maritime landlords, view this project.
They say by opening a new oceanbound shipping route, there will be fewer trucks rolling through portside neighborhoods that have been grappling with asthma-inducing air pollution for decades.
It also opens up an entirely new business window for many of the port’s tenants, like The Pasha Group, which imports foreign cars, or The Dole Fruit Company, that likely wouldn’t say boo to another, cheaper method for transporting its main cargo from Central and South America.
MacKenzie Elmer tries hard to make supply chains sexy in this new piece.
Vaccines Start Saturday for K-12 Workers, Farmworkers and Cops
San Diego County says Saturday it’s going to open COVID-19 vaccinations to a half million more people in the next eligible group (Phase 1B-Tier 1). That includes teachers and staff at K-12 schools and universities, and food and agriculture, childcare and non-medical emergency service workers.
The effort, said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher during the county’s Wednesday press conference, should lead to safe reopening of schools, which San Diego Unified set for April 12. K-12 personnel will be contacted by a third-party called Veba that’s partnering with the county to coordinate vaccinations in that sector.
“The school district will contact you,” Fletcher said.
The region is close to reopening for competitive sports, too. Fletcher said the region needs to be at an infection rate of 14 per 100,000 in order for competitive play for contact sports to begin. San Diego is at a 15 per 100,000 rate right now.
CalFire will direct the vaccination of farmworkers. Scripps Health will coordinate vaccinations for law enforcement personnel.
City News Service reports that 80,000 vaccine doses that were delayed by storms began arriving in the San Diego area Tuesday night, allowing for the rescheduling of all missed second doses and the widespread resumption of first-dose appointments. NBC 7 noted, however, that Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton has run out of the COVID-19 vaccines and will only be scheduling for people who need their second doses, when the supply replenishes.
San Diegans Falling Behind on Utility Bills
Last month, MacKenzie Elmer dove deep into water bills and found that many San Diegans were drowning in debt during the pandemic. A state report showed that nearly 70,000 locals were behind, 11,000 of whom owed more than $1,000.
Now comes: news of more debt.
The Union-Tribune reports that back bills for utilities in SDG&E territory is $145.3 million. Across the state, 3.3 million residential energy customers are behind and taken together, the amount eclipses $1 billion.
California’s utilities commission has extended its moratorium on disconnections through June 30.
In Other News
- U-T columnist Michael Smolens considers San Diego’s ties to the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom. Former mayor Kevin Faulconer and John Cox are already involved and there’s now a prospect they’ll be joined by former Trump administration official Ric Grenell.
- A sheriff’s deputy’s use of the carotid restraint — which police leaders banned last summer — is at the center of a wrongful death lawsuit. (Union-Tribune)
- The Board of Supervisors spent hours this week gathering testimony to better help adults and juveniles transition out of the probation system. (City News Service)
- The Port of San Diego has been working with Chula Vista to craft a “new narrative” for the city’s industrialized bayfront. A luxury RV park opens there in April. (Union-Tribune)
The Morning Report was written by MacKenzie Elmer and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.