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Matthew Vasilakis, co-director of the Climate Action Campaign / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The city of San Diego is studying whether to ditch natural gas and require buildings be equipped to run completely on electricity as part of its latest plan to stop climate change. Unionized gas workers are paying attention.

They worry, MacKenzie Elmer writes, that the new rules will mean more work for electricians and less for those who lay gas pipe. City officials have yet to make a decision but are conscious of what it could mean for the livelihoods of people and families supported by those pipe-laying jobs.

Instead, one labor leader suggested the retrofitting of natural gas-fired power plants to run on hydrogen or build new hydrogen fuel plants altogether. The debate could put local unions at odds with one another, or with environmentalists who see policies that stop short of full electrification as strategies to perpetuate fossil fuels.

At the same time, advocates are talking about the need for a “just transition” into the future and one possible solution is to retrain workers. But it’s not that simple. 

As a union organizer explained, “You’re essentially asking someone in their 40s to go back to school and retrain and educate themselves, then take a pay cut.”

Read the full story here.

Related: KPBS highlighted city moves to widen roads despite similar commitments on climate change and safety.

“Advocates say it’s yet another example of how car-centric planning has quietly continued in San Diego despite years of commitments from city leaders to cut back on car dependence by making streets safer and more oriented towards pedestrians, cyclists and public transit,” wrote reporter Andrew Bowen.

Gompers Teachers to Vote on Whether to Keep Union

On Wednesday, Gompers Preparatory Academy teachers will begin voting to potentially decertify the school’s teachers union, which was formed two years ago. 

A vocal group of teachers has argued against the union ever since its founding. But it’s unclear how much support the group has. At the time the union was formed, 70 percent of employees signed a petition supporting it. 

Charter schools like Gompers have increasingly unionized their workforces in recent years. Teachers at the High Tech High charter chain unionized in April. The renowned Preuss School UC San Diego unionized a couple years ago. It’s a big change for the sector. Many of those who funded charter schools, like Eli Broad, believed that limiting union influence was key to helping charters succeed and innovate. 

Last January, Ashly McGlone wrote about the conflicts at Gompers and the teachers trying to push for a decertification vote

The teachers pushing for decertification have been supported in their legal battle by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.  

Faulconer Pays Ex-Chief of Staff’s Company, Gets Paid By Another

The Union-Tribune revealed that former mayor-turned-gubernatorial candidate Kevin Faulconer’s campaign committees paid at least $58,000 to his former chief of staff’s company during the same period he reported earning between $10,000 to $100,000 as a strategist for another company controlled by that former chief of staff.

As the U-T reports, candidates are barred from using campaign funds as personal income — and public records do not show that former mayoral Chief of Staff Aimee Faucett’s company used campaign checks to pay him. But the amounts are in the same broad range.

A Faulconer campaign spokesman said there is no connection between the companies and that there are “no finances moving between the two.”

One of those companies controlled by Faucett was Agenda Setting, LLC, which according to the U-T received payments from the Faulconer campaign committee, including a car lease, food and campaign consulting.

The other was Collaborate for California, which counted a real estate company that specializes in building space for biotech firms as a client and a five-acre development near the San Diego Bay downtown as one of its projects, Faucett said. Faucett previously told VOSD’s Andrew Keatts that Faulconer provided “strategic advice” when requested, a role that allowed the former mayor to refer to himself on the recall ballot as a “businessman.”

News Nuggets

  • The city began cracking down on unauthorized outdoor dining spaces on Tuesday, 10 News reports. We previously wrote about the city’s response to the proliferation of outdoor dining structures — and the explosion of them in Little Italy in particular.
  • The Union-Tribune reports that Oceanside may soon get its first single-room occupancy hotel. Our Lisa Halverstadt wrote in July that the city of San Diego and its SRO owners have been debating how to preserve the hotels that have long served as an affordable option for some of the city’s lowest-income residents.
  • This past Saturday, Scripps Health revealed the hospital system saw the largest total of deaths it has seen in a single day since the pandemic began. (NBC 7) But there was some positive news coming out of Labor Day weekend. The county reported the lowest number of new COVID-19 infections in more than a month and no new deaths, and said that the number of San Diegans hospitalized with COVID-19 had fallen. (Times of San Diego)
  • The Union-Tribune wrote about a year-long study conducted by nonprofit Serving Seniors that highlighted challenges and potential solutions to aid homeless seniors and those on the brink. Among the findings: More than half of those surveyed said an extra $300 or less each month would prevent them from becoming homeless.
  • Yolanda López, a Chicana artist from Barrio Logan who is best known for her Virgen de Guadalupe series, passed away last week. (Los Angeles Times) 

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, Will Huntsberry and Jesse Marx, and edited by Scott Lewis.

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