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Morning Report: City Walks a Fine Line With Franchise Fee Deal

Power lines in San Diego
Image via Shutterstock

San Diego City Council had a chance Thursday to tell Mayor Kevin Faulconer what it wants to see in a new contract with a power provider before it goes to bid – but they couldn’t agree on anything. 

City spokespeople also couldn’t tell reporter MacKenzie Elmer what’s next for the franchise fee agreement immediately after the special Council meeting. 

It’s clear the Council is jazzed by the interest from behemoth Berkshire Hathaway [1] and Anaheim-based Indian Energy LLC, which makes for a more competitive bidding process and a greater chance San Diego can ask and get things like a $62 million cash payment from the winner. 

Elmer unwraps some caution tape for ratepayers [2] in the meantime. There’s a chance, if the city allows the winning power company to pay that back to the city in both cash and services (like programs to fix sidewalks or a solar panel rebate), it will be hard to compare offers objectively. 

In short, it’s easier to compare dollar amounts than what a power company says its service is worth. 

And, once again, there doesn’t appear to be anything guaranteeing that the $62 million payment the city is seeking will be paid out of shareholders’ pockets like the Council wants. 

We’ll see how the city attorney’s office decides to describe the payment in the future contract. 

How San Diego Gave ‘A Shot in the Arm’ to the Suffrage Movement

August marks the 100th anniversary of the United States granting women the right to vote and while the national battle for suffrage often gets the most ink, VOSD contributor and resident historian Randy Dotinga zoomed in on the role San Diego played in moving the cause along.

Dotinga found that newspaper magnate and philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps helped lead the suffrage movement [3] in California, rallying for reform in the early 1900s. Scripps led the La Jolla Woman’s Club to push the cause and enlisted her chain’s newspapers to back the right for women to vote and urge men to support them.

San Diego County voters in 1911 supported suffrage by 3,331 to 2,464 votes, providing about a third of the votes in a statewide winning margin that was “a shot in the arm” for the national movement.

Opinion: Time for MTS to Stop Targeting Black Riders

Last week, VOSD revealed [4] that Black riders make up less than 15 percent of the Metropolitan Transit System’s ridership but received nearly a third of quality of life citations the agency gave out last year.

In a new op-ed, National City Council candidate Marcus Bush writes about an experience last August in which he says he was harassed and improperly detained by MTS officers [5]. At the time, Bush – who is Black – worked for City Council President Georgette Gómez, then chair of the MTS board.

Bush argues MTS should rethink its approach to enforcement and fare evasion citations that have soared in recent years [6]and take steps to address both disparities in enforcement and the root causes that can lead riders to evade fares.

News Roundup

The Morning Report was written by MacKenzie Elmer, Lisa Halverstadt and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.