Interstate 805 traffic / Photo by Megan Wood

For years, the head of the San Diego Association of Governments has been advocating for a proposal to charge drivers for every mile they drive. It’s part of a long-term plan to remake mobility.

Conservatives, particularly in car-dependent North County, hated the idea. But progressives from coastal and urban cities may have actually killed it.

One week before a vote on the outline of the region’s infrastructure priorities, Mayor Todd Gloria and fellow elected Democrats announced their opposition, opening up a host of new questions.

Andrew Keatts reports that SANDAG executive director Hasan Ikhrata and his staff are scrambling to find alternatives. Although the regional planning agency doesn’t yet have the authority to charge per mile, Ikhrata’s proposal would have raised money to pay for new transportation projects while slashing emissions longer term.

Pulling it could now put the region in legal jeopardy. There’s a deadline looming: SANDAG must adopt a plan satisfying certain state requirements by year end.

Click here to read the rest of the story. 

Where the Sidewalk Vending Rules Debate Never Ends

Mylor Davis, owner of Pots & Pans clothing, prepares his sewing machine on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Ocean Beach. The street vendor sets up a booth almost ever week to sell his custom designs. / Photo by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Despite years of attempts to rewrite the city’s sidewalk vending rules, the process will have to wait. 

Recently-ousted City Council president Jen Campbell had planned to bring a new ordinance to a vote later this month. According to Campbell, the council’s new president Sean Elo-Rivera plans to send the ordinance back to a committee that will continue hammering out details.

Back in 2018, the state passed a new law that loosened the reins on street vending, but cities still have some ability to regulate what’s allowed. 

Former Mayor Kevin Faulconer had previously proposed a plan that would limit booths near San Diego beaches — which have greatly increased since the state law went into effect. Campbell was using that plan as her starting place, but it’s unclear which of Faulconer’s policy points she would keep and which she would throw out. 

Faulconer’s plan died at least partly because of an outcry from vendors, who view sidewalk vending as an avenue for entrepreneurship and eventually brick-and-mortar businesses.

Chula Vista Commission Asks Officials to Reconsider License Plate Reader Oversight 

Given the sheer amount of information that spews across the internet all day every day, one should be forgiven for not remembering a major controversy from only a few months ago. But if you recall, the Chula Vista Police Department got itself in hot water last year after the Union-Tribune revealed that officials had shared license plate reader data with federal immigration authorities. 

In response to the backlash, the Chula Vista Police Department offered to give the city’s Human Relations Committee quarterly updates on the program. But members of that commission aren’t so sure they’re the best people to evaluate it.

The Union-Tribune reported Wednesday that the group is asking city officials to reconsider the oversight process for license plate readers, considering that surveillance technology, as one commissioner put it, is “incredibly messy, intricate and it takes … a very specific level of knowledge just to ask the right questions.”

Instead, the commission is recommending a “body of relevant stakeholders” provide feedback.

Which reminds us… Jesse Marx reported in September that Councilman Steve Padilla was working on a proposal of his own for a separate commission made up of experts in emerging technology and other areas who could independently review the city’s gadgets

Relying on public records from Chula Vista and other departments, one group has argued that license plate readers constitute a digital gadget because 99 percent of the data was not actively related to an investigation when it was collected.  

In Other News

  • An advisory committee for San Diego Unified is expected to announce three finalists for superintendent next week. The school board is slated to make an appointment in mid-January. It’s also voting Tuesday on a new district map. (NBC 7)
  • The head of U.S. Homeland Security visited San Diego to celebrate the reopening of the border and immigrants’ rights activists were there to criticize the Biden administration for keeping in place two of the Trump administration’s most controversial policies. (KPBS)
  • It’s possible San Diego County could build more than 10,000 homes in 2021, but that number is below what SANDAG has identified to meet the region’s long-term needs. (Union-Tribune)
  • A proposal in San Diego to ban new drive-thru restaurants near mass transit is intended to help the city’s climate goals. It’s been delayed in the face of strong opposition from the restaurant industry and some community leaders. (Union-Tribune)

This Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx and Will Huntsberry. It was edited by Megan Wood.

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