Morning Report: Smaller Cities in Power Struggle With San Diego - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: Smaller Cities in Power Struggle With San Diego

Community choice aggregation supporters
Community choice energy supporters rally in downtown San Diego. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Many cities in San Diego County have committed to decreasing their greenhouse gas emissions.

But those ambitions are being jeopardized by the desire to maintain “local power,” reports Ry Rivard. 

Last fall, the city of San Diego decided to start its own utility to buy and sell power, so that all electricity comes from renewable sources within two decades. Since other cities in the county have similar climate goals, San Diego asked them if they’d like to work together to start a regional “community choice” energy agency. 

Only one city in the county, Solana Beach, has been able to launch an energy agency on its own. If Solana Beach could share staff with other cities, for example, it could save on administrative costs and be able to invest in new wind and solar projects, which would generate even more green power. 

But many smaller cities “don’t want the city of San Diego calling the shots,” Rivard writes. A group of other coastal North County cities, including Carlsbad and Del Mar, may form their own energy agencies due in part to concerns over maintaining local control. 

Districts Could Soon Adopt Policies to Prevent Sexual Misconduct

Student victims of sexual misconduct in schools have sued both the San Diego Unified and Sweetwater Union High school districts in recent years, alleging that officials don’t have clear and comprehensive policies outlining improper teacher-student interactions. The districts, in turn, have paid out millions in legal settlements to those students.

But years later, the districts still haven’t adopted proper policies or protocols that lay out appropriate adult-student boundaries, Kayla Jimenez reports. These policies should describe what is appropriate when teachers and staff are alone with a student out of view of others. 

The California School Board Association recently adopted a new board policy for its members on appropriate adult-student boundaries. It includes language on sexual harassment and disciplinary action for teachers who cross the line. 

The association’s policy is not binding on any local school district, but it could serve as a template in San Diego in the future and help avoid lawsuits. Local districts who have been forced to deal with this issue say nothing is imminent, but they’re examining their options.

Superintendent: There’s No Crisis. Students: Uh, Yes There Is

In this week’s Learning Curve newsletter, Will Huntsberry gives us the student perspective on Sweetwater Union High School District’s financial woes.

The district suddenly found itself with a $30 million budget shortage last September and is currently being investigated for fraud by multiple agencies. Since then, the district has lost hundreds of employees, taken away teacher planning time, reduced summer school and after school programs, and cut transportation and technology.

And students are feeling it.

Huntsberry writes about a recent meeting at San Ysidro High School where students laid into district staff over slashed bus routes, increased fees and reductions in technology, which have led seniors to go without laptops while they’re trying to apply to colleges and fill out financial aid forms. 

This Congressman Is No Fan of the Green New Deal

Rep. Scott Peters explained to KPBS why he doesn’t care for the Green New Deal, a declaration of environmental and economic principles and possible reforms. 

For starters, there’s no actual legislation in it. But he’s also opposed to some of its bigger ideas — including guaranteed jobs from the federal government and free college.

Wrapping all these things together, he argued, is only going to make meaningful environmental change harder. “It tends to push people away from the issue, where we really need people to come together to get to net-zero (carbon emissions) by mid-century.” 

  • Peters also waded Thursday into the race for San Diego City Council, endorsing teacher and gun-control activist Wendy Wheatcroft for District 7, which stretches from Mission Valley to Miramar. Current Councilman Scott Sherman is termed out next year, and for the first time in a while Democrats appear to have a shot at taking his seat.

This Congressman’s New Trial Date Is Problem for GOP

A judge last week delayed Rep. Duncan Hunter’s criminal trial to January, meaning votes could be cast in favor of his reelection before the case is resolved. That presents an obvious problem for the GOP, the Union-Tribune reports, if Hunter is convicted but ends up on the general election ballot anyway. 

Other Republican candidates expressed frustration to the newspaper. Hunter deserves his day in court, they said, but by continuing to seek office, he’s putting at risk a consistently conservative district.

All eyes will be on the San Diego County GOP in October, when leaders get together to make an endorsement in the 50th Congressional District race. 

In Other News

Correction: Carlsbad’s economic development staff, and not the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, as noted in Wednesday’s North County Report, has concluded that commuting is an impediment to recruiting and keeping workers.

The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan and Jesse Marx, and edited by Andrew Keatts.

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