Morning Report: The Other Coming Crisis  - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: The Other Coming Crisis 

King Tides in La Jolla / Photo by Megan Wood

A report that was quietly published on the city of San Diego’s website on Christmas Eve paints a grim picture of sea-level rise over the coming decades. At best there’ll probably be flooding. At worst the ocean could swallow up to 90 percent of San Diego’s beaches. 

But the report is missing something significant. It says nothing about costs

MacKenzie Elmer writes that although the city does have an estimate of what taxpayers will owe if officials do nothing to prevent sea-level rise, they’re declining to share it. 

Of course, the cost of climate change is hard to calculate, because it’ll touch almost every aspect of human, animal and plant life. But we know from another report that the impact alone to state lands — which represent only a “small subset” of the property in San Diego — would be $335 million.

Plan to Help Businesses Will Ending Up Hurting Business Groups

The novel coronavirus has brought the economy to its knees. Confronted with the prospect of empty storefronts citywide, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is looking for ways to keep businesses and workers alive until the economy restarts. 

He’s offering a series of relief measures. But as Andrew Keatts reports, one of those measures could have the unintended consequence of taking down the nonprofit groups that are themselves dedicated to supporting small businesses. 

Faulconer’s relief package includes a provision allowing businesses to delay paying their licensing fees, which fund so-called business improvement districts. Those districts promote commercial districts and provide services like trash cans and graffiti removal.

The potential loss of months of that fee money, combined with the collapse of other revenue streams, could force those districts to shutter. 

“It definitely feels like a sinking ship,” said Angela Landsberg, who runs North Park Main Street.

At the same time, the city needs to find $109 million in immediate budget cuts and officials don’t have many easy avenues to relieve pressure on businesses hit by a global phenomenon. Facing those imperfect choices, Keatts writes, the mayor’s office has been forced to weigh its priorities, and hope.

Over in the health care world … The $3.2 billion nonprofit Scripps Health system is responding to the coronavirus pandemic without the experience of its chief medical officer and two top executives who left their jobs in recent weeks and months. 

The exact reason and circumstances surrounding each of the departures is unclear, and a Scripps’ spokeswoman declined to share details with Ashly McGlone.

Oh, How Far We’ve Come on Pot

After deeming cannabis workers essential to society, California has been giving special permission to dispensaries so that customers can order online and pick up supplies from a nearby curb. At some locations in San Diego, one never needs to leave the car. 

It was good news for dispensary owners, who are experiencing, like many other businesspeople in the region, an extreme amount of uncertainty and volatility. But this remains, Jesse Marx writes, a crucial moment for San Diego’s budding marijuana industry because the coronavirus could easily undo the efforts made by law enforcement to keep the black market down. 

San Diego has been more successful than other cities and agencies in limiting the number of illegal operators by targeting property owners rather than the most visible employees. 

Seriously, All Politics Is Coronavirus Politics Now

Experts Mystified by Why Kids Are Less Vulnerable Right Now

Rady Children’s Hospital is preparing itself for a high number of coronavirus patients, but it’s not expecting to treat very many children. That’s because the kids are much less vulnerable to COVID-19 than adults for reasons that are still unclear. 

Two local babies just turned up positive but don’t have symptoms.

VOSD contributor Randy Dotinga did a Q&A with the hospital’s pediatric infectious disease specialist, Mark Sawyer, who offered some theories. He also offered advice on how parents can protect their young.

In Other (Coronavirus) News

Correction: An earlier version of this post mischaracterized the city attorney’s emergency petition in its case against Instacart. It’s asking an appellate court to lift a stay of an order requiring the company to stop misclassifying its workers as contractors.

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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