Streetlight cameras in downtown San Diego / Photo by Megan Wood

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San Diego’s surveillance ordinance will be back in front of elected officials for a second and possibly final vote on Monday. There doesn’t appear to be any substantive changes to the text since it got the Council’s initial approval in November 2020 and then underwent review by the mayor’s office and heads of the city’s various employee unions.

During that review, officials compiled a list of surveillance tech across departments and counted more than 200 devices and applications — everything from drones to aircraft noise readers to social media accounts.  

The ordinance is intended to provide oversight by informing the public and the Council upfront and on an ongoing basis about potential costs and concerns. At the same time, it gives officials the ability to buy and use technology in cases of emergency that the Council didn’t previously OK, but still triggers requirements for disclosure and review.

Several other cities in California have similar rules in place. 

San Diego’s ordinance came in response to the city’s installation of thousands of streetlight sensors, which officials billed as an environmental good that could help with public planning but evolved into an exclusive tool for the police department. Community groups with the Trust SD Coalition teamed up with Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe to draft the ordinance and propose a privacy advisory board, which the Council approved in April. 

What to watch for: amendments, which could send the ordinance back to the committee level and start the process all over again.

A teacher at Lafayette Elementary School fixes a student’s mask as San Diego Unified begins phase one of its reopening plan at elementary schools. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Pandemic Money Will Go to 4.5 Percent Teacher Bonuses

Teachers and other district employees of San Diego Unified will be getting a one-time 4.5 percent pay bump next year, according to a tentative agreement between the district and teachers union. 

The deal also includes $10,000 signing bonuses for special education teachers and nurses. That means any new hire in special education, or any teacher who transfers to special education, will qualify for the $10k. 

The average teacher salary in San Diego Unified is $74,554, according to job-posting site Indeed. That would make the average bonus around $3,354. The bonus will be spread out on district employees’ paychecks over the course of next year. 

The bonuses could cost the district somewhere in the ballpark of $69 million, according to NBC 7. The district will pay for the bonuses using federal pandemic relief funds. 

The district agreed to the bonuses to acknowledge the “continued additional duties of staff related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a district press release. 

In Other News 

  • With permission from the state, an affordable housing developer plans to build above the city’s coastal height limit and set a precedent for residential projects in several other neighborhoods. (Union-Tribune) 
  • The New York Times this week wrote about how Houston reduced homelessness by nearly two-thirds over roughly a decade and noted that San Diego hasn’t had as much success. Our Lisa Halverstadt took to Twitter to share takeaways about how San Diego’s homelessness response compares with Houston’s and lessons from Houston’s experience.
  • FDA advisers recommended COVID vaccines for kids six months and older. The FDA’s top vaccine official, Dr. Peter Marks, said there were 442 deaths from COVID-19 for children under 4 years old as of May 28. (KPBS) 
  • In the meantime, San Diego County has identified two probable cases of monkeypox. Health officials say the virus is less infectious than COVID, because it spreads through contact with bodily fluids. (City News Service) 
  • The Sheriff’s Department has agreed to make a life-saving medication that can reverse an opiate overdose more accessible in jails. (Union-Tribune) 
  • The San Diego City Council took the first step in “what is likely to be a lengthy process” in repealing the People’s Ordinance, which prohibits the city from charging a fee for garbage collection. (Times of San Diego)

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, Will Huntsberry and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. 

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