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Morning Report: The Story Behind the D4 Primary Upset

Council President Myrtle Cole participates in a community clean-up in Chollas View. / Photo by Ralph Dimarucut

Monica Montgomery, a onetime aide to Council President Myrtle Cole, shocked City Hall insiders when she finished ahead of her former boss in the June primary.

Cole was shocked too. But perhaps she shouldn’t have been, given what she told VOSD’s Andrew Keatts in a new story about the tensions in the district that fueled Montgomery’s primary win.

“We didn’t mount a campaign,” Cole said. “We had no ground campaign. I didn’t even have a campaign manager. The primary took us by surprise. Even labor didn’t think we had an issue – they thought they had to work on other things instead.”

But now, Cole and her allies in organized labor are on the same page, and they’re ready to win in November, she said.

She’ll have to once again get past Montgomery, who has rallied the community behind her underdog candidacy.

District 4 residents told Keatts that the incident many people point to to explain Cole’s vulnerability – comments from two years ago that appeared to condone racial profiling – is still in their minds, but it’s not the only reason they’re ready for a change.

Many said they think simple constituent services aren’t getting done. Others think Cole has lost her focus on the district since becoming Council president. And some said they’re sick of watching a group of insiders run things and maintain the status quo.

Though Cole and Montgomery are both Democrats, Montgomery said she’d represent change in two ways: She pledged not to hire any Council staffers who continued to work for Cole after the racial profiling comments, and she said she’d support the push to switch San Diego Unified school board members to subdistrict-only elections.

School Bonds Coming to a Ballot Near You

San Diego Unified trustees agreed to spend $1 million Tuesday night to put a new $3.5 billion school facility bond on the November ballot. If approved by at least 55 percent of voters, homeowners will pay an extra 6 cents per $100 of assessed home value for 39 years, on top of taxes for similar multibillion-dollar bond measures passed in recent years.

Meanwhile, Sweetwater school trustees heard a pitch for a new $494 million school facility bond on Monday night. The proposal is expected to come back for a vote July 23 before heading to the November ballot. Tom Lemmon, head of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council, praised trustees “for being bold, for being brave and for prioritizing students” in a tweet. You can see the bond project list here.

SDPD Not the Only Group Sending License Plate Data to ICE

The Irvine Company, a real estate company that owns shopping centers throughout Southern California – including in La Jolla – “has been providing sensitive information collected by automated license plate readers to Vigilant Solutions, a surveillance technology vendor that in turn sells location data to Immigration & Customs Enforcement,” writes the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Dave Maass.

It’s not clear which of its shopping centers use the technology.

Another group that sends information from license plate readers over to ICE: the San Diego Police Department. That’s despite SDPD’s insistence that it doesn’t coordinate with federal immigration enforcement efforts.

Andrew Keatts also reported earlier this year that SDPD might not be following state law governing how law enforcement agencies are supposed to use data from automatic license plate readers.

Short-Term Rental Debate Dials Up the Fear-Mongering

Vacation rental opponents are dialing their warnings way up as the date nears for the San Diego City Council to again consider regulating the industry.

Several planning groups and town councils teamed up with the California Hotel & Lodging Association to produce Facebook and Twitter ads warning what they say are the dangers of allowing short-term vacation rentals.

In a Monday press release, the group argues residents should only be allowed to rent out a primary residence. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has proposed letting homeowners rent out their primary residence for up to six months a year and a second home year-round.

Chris Brewster, a former lifeguard chief who appeared in one ad, said the campaign is intended to counter the lobbying efforts of Airbnb and other vacation rental companies. The local ad campaign is slated to cost $250,000, according to a press release.

Another series of Facebook ads, funded by the D.C.-based group Stop Child Predators, warns that vacation rentals “create a revolving door of strangers in our community” and therefore endanger kids. Those ads are supportive of Faulconer’s plan.

The Council will consider Faulconer’s plan July 16.

In Other News

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