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Morning Report: SEIU Votes to Leave Working Families Council

David Garcias, center, takes part in a Labor Day march with SEIU Local 221 members. / Photo courtesy of SEIU Local 221

The Service Employees International Union, Local 221, or SEIU, decided to leave the young coalition of unions it helped form last year, the Working Families Council.

It announced the decision last night on Facebook.

We anticipated the move in this week’s Politics Report. It came after the Working Families Council decided to endorse Lori Saldaña in the county supervisor race featuring Bonnie Dumanis, Nathan Fletcher, Omar Passons and Ken Malbrough.

SEIU is an ardent supporter of Fletcher for the seat.

In May of last year, SEIU joined with the United Food and Commercial Workers and its president Mickey Kasparian to form Working Families Council as a rival to the long-established affiliate of the AFL-CIO, the Labor Council. Kasparian had been the president of the Labor Council but the national AFL-CIO put it into receivership amid allegations Kasparian had assaulted and discriminated against women. He has since settled all lawsuits against him.

But tensions remained high.

SEIU was the largest partner UFCW had in the new coalition.

Southeastern San Diego Housing Project May Lose Civic San Diego Support

A development project is coming to an eight and a half acre lot at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Hilltop Drive. / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

A key development project on a plot of vacant land at the corner of Hilltop Drive and Euclid Avenue is pending approval. It would bring new housing, commercial space and a park to southeastern San Diego.

Civic San Diego has been shepherding the project through the process, but to avoid a lawsuit, the city’s redevelopment agency may now wash its hands of the whole thing.

VOSD’s Andrew Keatts reports that fear of a lawsuit from activist attorney Cory Briggs, may cause Civic to sever its ties to the mixed-use project.

Late last year, Briggs and the nonprofit San Diegans for Open Government alleged that Civic San Diego’s board chair, Phil Rath, had a conflict of interest because he previously worked as a lobbyist for Affirmed Housing, the developer Civic chose to complete the project.

It doesn’t mean the project is dead.

The City Council could still approve the deal as-is with Affirmed, or they could go another direction by either selecting one of the other proposals or starting the bidding process over. The other two development proposals came from Red Office, headed by architect-developers Ted Smith, Héctor Pérez and Kate Meairs, and Related California.

Some community members I talked to about the project in 2016 grumbled about a lack of outreach from Civic during the selection process, but others said they were just happy something is going to be built on the vacant land that’s been fenced off and attracting graffiti and trash for so long.

Trump’s Border Visit

President Donald Trump visited the border wall prototypes in Otay Mesa Tuesday. Here’s a play-by-play of what went down during his quick tour. (KPBS, Associated Press)

Trump dropped hints about his favorite wall designs, noting his preference for a see-through wall and a barrier that should be very hard to climb. (Business Insider)

He also used the opportunity to slam Gov. Jerry Brown, saying he’s “doing a terrible job running the state.” (Los Angeles Times)

Congressman Duncan Hunter joined Trump at the border wall prototypes, nabbing this photo op with his father. In a press release about the president’s visit, Hunter affirmed his support for the new wall.

After Trump’s visit to the border wall, he spoke to military men and women at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. He praised the military and suggested creating a new military branch called the “Space Force.” (Fox News)

Both pro and anti-Trump gatherings took place during the president’s visit to our region. In Mexico, protestors called Trump “loco” and yelled “we won’t pay for your wall.” (Reuters)

UC San Diego Extension’s New Downtown Digs

Arts leaders around town are being asked about what they might want to see in a new downtown arts center.

UC San Diego Extension, the university’s continuing education arm, is spearheading a four-story development in the East Village. Right now, the plan is to make the first two floors an arts center that will be programmed by UC San Diego students, professors and local arts organizations.

I wrote about how the new building could be a boon for the local arts scene in this week’s Culture Report. Also in this week’s report: smoked beer is hot right now, the San Diego Latino Film Fest turns 25, La Jolla Playhouse is losing a leader and more.

College Students Feel the Housing Crunch

Sean Elo thinks every body of government must do what it can to increase the local housing supply, boost wages and stabilize rents.

Elo is the president of the San Diego Young Democrats and a candidate for the San Diego Community College Board of Trustees. In a new op-ed for VOSD, he writes about his experience living in the back of his car while attending law school and makes the case for an all-hands-on-deck approach to solving the housing crisis.

In Other News

A new police division will focus on helping homeless people get services while also cracking down on those breaking laws. (Union-Tribune)

San Diego Unified teachers are calling for a 2 percent raise and capped class sizes. (KPBS)

New plans for the redevelopment of Seaport Village were unveiled Tuesday. The proposed design includes a 480-foot observation tower, hotels, offices and an aquarium. (Union-Tribune)

Rising costs mean an uncertain future for a planned network of protected bike lanes throughout downtown San Diego. (KPBS)

Here’s the standard list of complaints that come up at community meetings where the new fleets of shared bikes you’re seeing everywhere are discussed. And here’s a fun-to-read review of the various bikes you can pick up and ride. (Reader, CityBeat)

Students across the county are expected to walk out of class Wednesday in a nationwide demonstration to push for tighter gun laws. (Patch)

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