Election Officials at the Encanto VFW POST #1512 polling station in Lemon Grove on Aug. 15, 2023.
Election Officials at the Encanto VFW POST #1512 polling station in Lemon Grove on Aug. 15, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Election Day is here! 

Thousands of voters in San Diego County today will choose a new county supervisor, city attorney in Chula Vista and decide whether two water districts should detach from the San Diego County Water Authority. We’ll have the results for you — and our valuable insights — tomorrow.

If you’re in one of these districts, and procrastinated, we’ve pulled together what you need to know. 

The Big Race: Voters in the county’s fourth district (City Heights, Spring Valley, Clairemont, Hillcrest and more) will pick between candidates Monica Montgomery Steppe and Amy Reichert. This is the seat that former County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher vacated in May. 

  • Montgomery Steppe is a Democrat and member of the San Diego City Council. Amy Reichert is a Republican and works as a private investigator.
  • The two joined us for a debate at this year’s Politifest. The candidates shared their positions on housing, homelessness and more. Watch the debate here or read a transcript. 

City Attorney Race in Chula Vista: There are three candidates in the race to become Chula Vista’s next city attorney. Last year, voters elected Simon Silva to the position, who died two months before the election.

  • The candidates are familiar names to Chula Vista residents: Dan Smith Diaz, he is an attorney and lost to Silva last year. Bart Miesfeld is a former Chula Vista city attorney. And Marco Verdugo, a deputy city attorney in San Diego.
  • The Union-Tribune published commentaries by each candidate, you can read those here. 

Water Divorce in North County: Citizens in two farming communities vote Tuesday on whether to leave the San Diego County Water Authority in search of cheaper water elsewhere. 

The battle to get to this point has been brutal. Fallbrook Public Utilities District and Rainbow Municipal Water District both want to ditch the Water Authority for Eastern Municipal Water District in Riverside County. They say the high cost of water resulting from the massive investments the Water Authority has made in the name of water reliability is driving agriculture out of the region.

The Water Authority has tried to stop their departure on more than one front. It filed a lawsuit against the Local Agency Formation Commission, a quasi-legislative body, that gave the two water districts the greenlight to leave. And the water wholesaler backed a piece of legislation also pushed by the city of San Diego that would require the entire county – not just the residents of the departing districts – to vote on the issue. 

That bill passed the legislature but Rainbow and Fallbrook believe it came too late to impact their bid to leave. 

Environment Report: Love It or Hate It, Alfalfa Is King in Imperial Valley 

Cows at a farm in Imperial Valley in 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Our MacKenzie Elmer visited Imperial Valley and was mesmerized by the amount of alfalfa piled everywhere. It’s the area’s second-largest crop and generates hundreds of millions of dollars every year. 

Humans don’t eat it, but we do consume products from the cattle that do. 

The growth of this legume is a sensitive topic in Imperial Valley, Elmer writes, because of how much water it needs to grow. The region is the single largest user of water from the Colorado River among seven U.S. states and Mexico. So, during times of drought, people always question why farmers continue to grow alfalfa. 

The answer is simple for some farmers: People want cheeseburgers. 

Read the Environment Report here. 

Chula Vista Officials Want Councilwoman Cardenas to Resign 

The entrance of Chula Vista City Hall on Nov. 29.
The entrance of Chula Vista City Hall on Nov. 29, 2022. / Photo by Gabriel Schneider

Chula Vista Mayor John McCann and Councilman Jose Preciado are calling for Councilwoman Andrea Cardenas’ resignation.

Catch up: District Attorney Summer Stephan announced last week that she is charging Andrea Cardenas and her brother Jesus Cardenas with multiple felony counts for allegedly defrauding a Covid relief program. Read more about the charges here. 

“After reviewing the charges against Councilmember Andrea Cardenas and considering the serious nature of the alleged crimes, it is clear to me that she must resign from the City Council,” McCann wrote in a statement. “Ensuring public trust is crucial for all elected officials. Maintaining that trust under the current circumstances is simply impossible.”

Preciado said he was stunned by the charges against Cardenas. He said that while she has the right to due process and the presumption of innocence in court, the right thing for her to do is to resign. 

We reached out to other members of the City Council but did not hear back. 

Cardenas responds: She said in a statement that she was notified of the charges on Wednesday but only learned of the details through the news.

“Many conversations are taking place around me about me and what others think is the best way for me to move forward,” she wrote. “I would like to make one thing very clear – my commitment to my community continues. As we move forward in this process, I hope to be given an opportunity by the media, folks in political circles, and, most importantly, my constituents to defend myself.” 

The Latest on a Suit Against Palomar Health 

Palomar Health in Escondido on Oct. 25, 2022.
Palomar Health in Escondido on Oct. 25, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Palomar Health Board Director Laurie Edwards-Tate filed a lawsuit last week against Palomar Health after the health care district’s attorneys informed her that she would be investigated for a comment she made to Voice of San Diego

Edwards-Tate requested a temporary restraining order in the lawsuit that would have prevented Palomar Health from taking certain actions against her for a specified time. But on Thursday, a judge denied that request on the basis that she did not provide enough evidence of immediate harm. 

So, what does this mean? The judge’s denial of the temporary restraining order does not stop Edwards-Tate from re-filing with more evidence or from moving forward with the lawsuit. 

Camryn Kynsey, a representative from Edwards-Tate’s legal team, told Voice in an email that Edwards-Tate is evaluating potential next steps. The court’s ruling identified specific facts that it would need to see to rule in their favor for emergency relief, Kynsey wrote. 

From Palomar: “The Court detailed Director Edwards-Tate’s numerous failures, ranging from failing to attach the policies she claims violated her rights, to showing how investigation of her misleading comments impacted her at all, to wondering why she waited a month to file despite her newfound claims of ‘imminent harm,’” Bianca Kasawdish, a Palomar Health spokeswoman, wrote in an email. 

In Other News 

  • The Padres are looking for a new manager. Here are the four candidates they are considering. (Union-Tribune) Late Monday, the Mets hired one of them — Carlos Mendoza — so it’s now three. 
  • It sucks to get a parking ticket. KPBS has the spots where you’re likely to get one and more deets on how much money those nasty little things bring to our city. 
  • Rep. Scott Peters hired the ex-chairman of the San Diego County Democratic Party, Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, as a constituent services representative. (Times of San Diego)

The Morning Report was written by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, MacKenzie Elmer and Tigist Layne. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. 

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