Trucks drop off trash at the Miramar Landfill. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

For years, advocates and San Diego County grand juries have been urging city leaders to axe the so-called People’s Ordinance, which requires the city to provide trash pickup to residents who have direct street access.

In reality, that has meant that most, though not all, residents in single family homes do not pay a special fee for trash pickup. At the same time, most, though not all, residents in apartments and condos must pay special fees for private trash collection. The inequity has provoked countless ideas about reform from the conservative (the city should get out of the trash business entirely and let everyone pay trash companies to come) to the progressive (the city should charge everyone a fee and provide the service to everyone).

Most changes to this arrangement would require a public vote.

The news: Last week, the city’s Independent Budget Analyst released a new review of the costs of the entitlement.

The report, set to be reviewed Thursday by the City Council Environment Committee, found that the People’s Ordinance cost the city more than $260 million over the last five fiscal years, including more than $30 million annually from the day-to-day fund that pays for police and libraries.

The leader of that committee, Councilman Sean Elo-Rivera, has been obsessed with changing the People’s Ordinance.

Lisa Halverstadt chatted with Elo-Rivera about the new report, what freeing up money the city now spends on free trash collection could mean for city services and his potential next steps in a new Q-and-A.

“It’s an unfair system that results in nobody getting the level of service that they want and the whole city not getting the world-class services that they deserve,” Elo-Rivera said.

Click here to read the Q-and-A.

What That Political Parody Video Reveals

In case you haven’t heard by now, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria appeared in a video that was a knock off of Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack.” In it, he made jokes at his predecessor’s expense. Many people didn’t find it funny and they fell into one of a few categories: they shrugged, they were confused, they got angry.

Scott Lewis considers the video in the Politics Report and the tradition of dorky political videos in San Diego that the public doesn’t often see. He concludes that the internet and a vastly different electorate have disrupted San Diego politics. “What made sense in a ballroom at the Town and Country filled with insiders who understand insider jokes looks really weird as a random video on Facebook or YouTube,” he writes.

Indeed. Another way to view the video is that politics and culture are indistinguishable from one another after years spent stripping the public forum of its ideological character. Everyone, politicians included, just want to be media stars as they come to terms with the reality of having little actual control over the machinery of the state and world events. The shock is out of character for what most people have come to expect of public affairs.

Or that’s what some would argue. Yes, some.

Politifest Early-Bird Pricing Ends Today

Reminder: Politifest is just two weeks away and today is the last day to take advantage of early-bird pricing

This year’s debates, panels and one-on-one interviews will dive deep on law and justice in our region. We’re bringing together officials, experts and members of the community to discuss smart tech, sentencing disparities, policing homelessness and more. We’ll also host a free debate with the candidates running to be San Diego’s next sheriff.

Get access to the whole week of virtual events, or buy a single-day ticket. Bonus: If you’re not already a VOSD member, signing up for the full week will give you access to great member benefits like the Politics Report. As always, student tickets are free.

Learn more about Politifest and register here.

Elsewhere In the Empire 

  • Our podcast hosts talked with Adriana Heldiz and Lisa Halverstadt about the city’s large-scale clean up of a homeless camp in Midway District. Heldiz happened to be out on another assignment but captured it and presented here
  • Mathew Packard, a former San Diego Food Bank director, lays out a series of questions he believes we should consider as food bank leadership changes. Lisa Halverstadt wrote last month about how the CEO quietly resigned amid an unprecedented need.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday that the state would require all eligible students get the COVID-19 vaccine if they want to go to in-person school. The mandate will take effect once the vaccine is fully approved for kids over age 12. It will relieve many districts of having to make the choice themselves amid localized backlash. (LA Times)
  • Matthew O. Tucker, the executive director of the North County Transit District, argues that although hydrogen production does impact the environment, hydrogen vehicles are a step forward and just one part of the agency’s effort to meet zero-emission requirements.
  • Downtown was the scene of a large march for women’s reproductive rights and access to abortion services. (NBC 7 San Diego)
  • They’re back: The first cruise ship set off from San Diego since the SARS-Cov-2 virus made cruises a bit less attractive and available as vacation options. (10 News)
  • All city of Laguna Beach beaches closed late Sunday indefinitely as the region deals with a horrible oil spill. The spill originated from a pipeline off Huntington Beach that connects to an off-shore oil rig (LA Times).
  • Sports 1: San Diego was the center of the tennis world for once. An ATP tournament wrapped up at the Barnes Tennis Center. Norway’s Casper Ruud won the singles after beating legend Andy Murray last week.  (Union-Tribune)
  • Sports 2: The Padres ended one of their most disappointing seasons ever. They’ve been bad before but this year they were supposed to be good, then they were the best, and they spent more money than they ever have, and now they ended the season having lost more games than they won. The U-T Padres beat writer, Kevin Acee, already said that the team was going to fire Manager Jayce Tingler and a national reporter tweeted Saturday they would. But they haven’t yet, which must have made his weekend fun. The Athletic reported (subscription required) that Dave Cameron, the former managing editor of the baseball analytics site, FanGraphs, who became a Padres analyst, had quit. The real question may be whether AJ Preller, the general manager and president of baseball operations goes too. Baseball operations has not had great results.
  • Winter is coming. OK, just a little rain and you may have to put your warm shirt on.

Correction: a story last week about the end of the eviction moratorium misstated the total amount of estimated rent debt in California and the timeline for when certain protections still apply.

This Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, Jesse Marx and Megan Wood, and edited by Scott Lewis.

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