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Some of San Diego’s most well known environmental activists sued the city last month, alleging the city hadn’t made any effort to outline how it would reach all the climate change benchmarks laid out in its new Climate Action Plan.
But they did so without issuing a press release about their legal tack, or making any public statements about what they hoped to achieve. They declined to speak about the lawsuit to our MacKenzie Elmer, too.
Despite their silence, this moment has been underway for some time, as Elmer outlines in her new story about the lawsuit. Six years ago, environmental attorney Marco Gonzalez sent the city a letter on behalf of his client, the Climate Action Campaign, that didn’t explicitly threaten a lawsuit but noted that the city was about to adopt a handful of new community plans that demonstrably did not achieve the reductions in car commuting – in favor of biking, walking and taking transit – that the city had committed to in the climate plan it passed a year earlier.
Now, the lawsuit – filed by the nonprofits Climate Action Campaign and the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation – said that was one in a series of actions the city took that simply didn’t comply with its climate plan. The groups argue 90 percent of the city’s climate to-do list is undone, and that it can’t be trusted to enact its newly adopted climate plan until it outlines how it will pass each plan, when that’ll happen and how it’ll pay for it.
Police Union Says SDPD Officers Are Quitting Because of Oversight Commission That Doesn’t Exist Yet
Dispatch from contributor Kelly Davis: City labor negotiators and the union representing San Diego police officers are at an impasse in negotiations over who can and can’t serve on the Commission on Police Practices, the independent board that investigates allegations of police misconduct.
At Monday’s City Council meeting, the San Diego Police Officers Association argued family members of current or former local law enforcement officers should be able to serve on the board, while city labor negotiators say they shouldn’t. They also split on whether individuals with a felony record can be appointed to the commission – police union representatives say no, and city negotiators say anyone whose criminal record doesn’t bar them from serving on a jury should be eligible.
SDPD Sgt. Jared Wilson, the POA president, said the CPP — which is yet to be fully implemented, in part because of the stalled negotiations — was one of the reasons officers were leaving San Diego for jobs in other cities. He said the commission had a “radical, abolish the police agenda” and that “our cops are better off somewhere else.”
The city’s lead labor negotiator, Tim Davis, said the CPP ordinance was “very carefully crafted and balanced.” He asked the City Council to approve a resolution resolving the impasse, which would allow the ordinance to move forward for an implementation vote at a later date.
Andrea St. Julian, an attorney and co-chair of San Diegans for Justice, who authored the ballot measure that created the CPP, said she has family members in law enforcement whom she consulted when working on the measure.
“There is nothing about me or my background that makes me anti-police,” she said.
Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe, whose office oversaw the drafting of the CPP ordinance, said guidance on the makeup of the commission came from the National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement—the leading authority on citizen oversight—“and not from anti-police sentiment.”
Councilman Chris Cate was the lone vote against moving the ordinance forward. He said his father is a retired law enforcement officer.
“Being told that I can’t serve on a commission because there might be a perceived conflict of interest… I take that a little personally,” he said.
Councilmembers said they were sympathetic to the POA’s position but were also concerned that allowing a law enforcement presence on the board would erode the trust of communities who’ve pushed for stronger oversight.
City and County Held a Joint Meeting for the First Time in Decades
Elected officials from both the city and county governments met in joint session Monday and committed to build 10,000 homes reserved for low-income people on publicly owned property by the end of the decade.
If the city and county make good on that pledge, it would get them one-fifth of the way to the 50,000 homes reserved for people with low-incomes that the city of San Diego alone has told state regulators that its population will need, and that it will make way for, by 2029. The region as a whole needs nearly 70,000 low-income units.
“This housing challenge we face is bigger than any one jurisdiction can solve alone,” County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer said, according to the Union-Tribune’s coverage of the meeting.
As KPBS Reporter Andrew Bowen noted on Twitter, though, the two publicly owned properties that are most ripe for development, according to a report offered during the meeting, are both in Chula Vista, which was not represented at the big hearing.
“When you exclude groups of people you do risk having a body that’s not impartial,” said Councilman Stephen Whitburn, “but I do think we need to listen to [historically underrepresented] communities.”
In Other News
- San Diego’s first guaranteed income program began giving $500 a month to 150 low-income South Bay families in March, now two more programs are coming to San Diego this fall. It’s all part of a new nationwide experiment with guaranteed income, where governments and nonprofits give no-strings-attached cash payments to families who need help paying for things like food, rent and child care. (Union-Tribune)
- The city of El Cajon is considering changing its rules regarding homeless people renting hotel rooms. Last month, the state attorney general threatened to sue the city over its plan to fine hotels housing large numbers of homeless people. City leaders quickly backed down from that plan, but are still exploring options for reducing the hotel voucher population. (Union-Tribune)
- County officials have approved a new rental subsidy pilot program for low-income seniors. The program will send $500 directly to landlords of low-income seniors to help pay some of their rent in an effort to keep low-income seniors off the streets. (ABC 10)
- The city of San Diego will raise minimum wage from $15 to $16.30 per hour starting in January 2023. (CBS 8)
The Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts, Tigist Layne and Kelly Davis. It was edited by Andrew Keatts.