Stay up to Date
Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
San Diego’s deadline for applications to serve on its redistricting commission came and went last week, and Latino residents represented just 13 percent of its 102 submissions, despite accounting for 31 percent of the city’s population.
San Diego County’s deadline is at the end of the month, but its applications thus far underrepresent Latino residents as well. And Chula Vista had just five applications total last month, ahead of its end-of-month deadline.
In San Diego’s District 8, which is over 70 percent Latino, there were just four applicants.
“Thirteen percent is very disappointing for anyone who cares about San Diego,” said former Councilman David Alvarez, who represented District 8. “Lack of representation really matters and this is a reflection of the lack of diversity in civic institutions.”
The redistricting commissions will be in charge of next year’s effort to redraw political boundaries based on regional demographics from this year’s Census. They’ll hire the staff that will conduct the technical work and public outreach, and ultimately approve final maps.
The city received more applications to serve on the committee this year than it did 10 years ago, during the last redistricting process, despite the COVID-19 pandemic that blunted outreach efforts during the spring.
Nonetheless, organizers told Andrew Keatts and Maya Srikrishnan that the failure of applications to reflect the region’s demographics reflects a broader problem in San Diego.
“It was a hard-fought battle to ensure District 8 and District 4 were created decades ago and to see that despite that hard work, we haven’t been able to engage those communities with city leaders and fold them into civic decision-making is very unfortunate and we in these communities will pay the consequences for that,” said Christian Ramirez, a former Council candidate and Sherman Heights resident.
Several groups, including the city of Imperial Beach, have been tied up in lawsuits trying to force better containment of Tijuana sewage spills that affect Southern California’s coastline.
But now the groups have “agreed to put down their proverbial legal swords for a period of 12 months while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency puts a stack of cash to work on the decades-long sewage issue plaguing the Tijuana River watershed,” writes MacKenzie Elmer.
The EPA has up to $300 million to put into projects that might stem the flow of sewage. But what the agency will do and how fast it will do it remains to be seen.
Before the EPA begins any work, “it first wants to analyze all the solutions that have already been studied and proposed – some that cost California more than half a million dollars to reach,” Elmer wrote.
After completing an analysis of proposed solutions, the EPA will decide exactly what projects to focus on and how much it will spend.
For now, the groups that previously sued will have up to a year to decide whether or not they want to continue pushing their case in court.
Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the amount San Diego County spent in state funds to identify which Tijuana River projects to prioritize. It was $500,000.
The San Diego Unified teachers’ union is laying out demands for certain benchmarks to be met before teachers return to the classroom, NBC 7 reports.
The union wants there to be a downward trajectory, or near zero instances, of new coronavirus cases for 14 straight days. Teachers also want frequent testing of students and staff. And they want necessary prevention measures to be fully funded.
None of those requirements is currently being met. The number of new coronavirus cases is holding relatively steady. There is no plan for robust school testing. And right now, San Diego Unified officials have said they only have funding to safely operate for half the school year.
Last month, San Diego Unified officials passed a plan that would bring students back to the classroom on August 31. It’s unclear if the union will challenge that start date if its criteria aren’t met.
VOSD’s Scott Lewis predicted last month that school reopening would become a big political issue. And Will Huntsberry wrote about one of the first reopening plans in the state – which gave families an option for full-time physical school, full-time distance learning or a hybrid model – created by Cajon Valley Union School District.
The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.