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Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
The private detention center in San Diego County is looking to grow its population of detainees, despite recent California laws that halt the expansion of for-profit detention centers in the state. The Otay Mesa Detention Center, owned by the private company CoreCivic, is able to do that thanks to a deal it struck years ago. The facility “can continue to expand as long as CoreCivic has the space on its property and Immigration and Customs Enforcement continues to contract with the facility,” Maya Srikrishnan reports.
CoreCivic used to be known as Corrections Corporation of America. Their facilities have been in the center of controversies, which were part of the reason California lawmakers have moved to end the use of private prisons and block their expansion. But Immigration and Customs Enforcement sees things differently. Under the Trump Administration, “ICE has predicted a surge in its daily population of detainees, from around 34,000 in July to more than 51,000 over the next year,” Srikrishnan reports.
This week members of the San Diego City Council’s rules committee heard several proposals to reform the way San Diego Unified’s Board of Trustees is elected and operates. The proposals included term limits, expanding the number of trustees on the board, splitting up the district and electing new trustees by district instead of by city-wide vote.
The committee shot all of the proposals down on a party line vote of 3-2, with Democrats opposed, Mario Koran writes.
“The citizens who brought forward the proposals have until June to try again,” in order for the proposals to make it onto the 2018 ballot. Proponents of the reforms told Koran they didn’t expect success this week, but are planning to come back to the council after meetings and surveys have taken place. “We want to make sure Democrats will be uncomfortable shooting the proposals down again in June,” said one proponent.
The California Public Utilities Commission is a government agency that regulates private energy and transportation companies. They’ve been in the news a lot for their role in the shut down of the San Onofre nuclear power plant, as well as for their role in rejecting efforts by SDG&E to charge ratepayers for the fallout of the 2007 wildfires. Ry Rivard and NBC 7’s Monica Dean look into what the CPUC is and does, and what they will be responsible for doing in the coming years, in this week’s installment of San Diego Explained.
• A decision Thursday to shut a power plant in San Luis Obispo means California will completely abandon nuclear power by 2025. (LA Times)
• Ratepayer advocates and the power companies at odds in the dispute over who should pay for the failure of the nuclear station at San Onofre have reached a deal, but they can’t talk about it yet. (Union-Tribune)
The Hill on Thursday published speculation that Rep. Darrell Issa’s announcement that he won’t run for re-election in the 49th district again was so tightly worded as to cast suspicion on whether he might be angling to replace Duncan Hunter in the 50th district. Hunter has been the target of ethics investigations and is watching as a potential grand jury indictment hovers nearby. Issa wouldn’t comment for the story.
For his part, Hunter told The Hill he could only think of one specific scenario where Issa would run in the 50th district.
“If I was to blow up in the air, then he would be running for it,” Hunter said. “If I was to blow up, then he would run for the seat. If I blow up, yes. Why wouldn’t he run for my seat if I was to blow up in the air?”
• The race in the 49th district now has everyone paying attention to voter registration trends to forecast the political fortunes of the coming contestants. (Union-Tribune)
Following mounting pressure from elected officials and legislators, the San Diego Police Department has changed its position on whether they will test previously untested rape kits that include DNA taken from victims. Until this week, the department publicly rejected the idea of processing nearly 2,000 of the kits that weren’t tested for various reasons. But the Union-Tribune reports this week an official told the City Council a new policy will allow them to evaluate 558 of the kits to determine whether DNA evidence would help solve a crime.
• Mayor Faulconer made a speech last night saying his priorities include solving homelessness and hiring more police. (Union-Tribune)
• The temporary venue deployed each year for Summer Nights at the Embaracdero Marina Park South could become a permanent venue by 2019. (Times of San Diego)
• Looks like a miniature Target is going to take over the old Wangs restaurant building in North Park. (Union-Tribune)
• A bleach spill near a school has resulted in $46,000 in settlement payments coming from the Santee School District. (Union-Tribune)
• Poway is taking steps on a project to build affordable housing for veterans despite vocal opposition from Poway residents concerned about their home values. (Union-Tribune)