Morning Report: Throwing Cold Water on Those Sports Arena Plans

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Morning Report: Throwing Cold Water on Those Sports Arena Plans

Pechanga Arena / Photo by Megan Wood

Two developers submitted dueling bids for the right to revamp Pechanga Arena and the surrounding area.

But whatever is built there will be vulnerable to flooding from rising sea levels in the second half of the century, writes VOSD’s MacKenzie Elmer

Though San Diego’s planning department recently studied how sea level rise will affect its most precious assets, the fact that the property is in a low-lying, flood-prone area hasn’t been part of the public discussion about the redevelopment plan.

The bidding documents for the project don’t even mention sea level rise or climate change impacts — only noting that the winning bidder must comply with the city’s Climate Action Plan.

Faulconer Wades Into Uber Fight

Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined with San Jose’s mayor Wednesday in a letter urging the state Court of Appeal to halt an earlier court order that would force Uber and Lyft to comply with AB 5, a state law limiting when companies can classify workers as independent contractors.

Last week, a San Francisco judge ruled that the city attorneys arguing the rideshare companies were violating the law were likely to prevail – and ordered that Uber must stop classifying its drivers as independent contractors as the lawsuit plays out.  

Faulconer and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo are asking the appellate court to suspend that order to prevent the companies from following through on their threats to pull out of California if forced to comply.

“A stay could provide an opportunity for parties to come together with state leaders to negotiate a resolution to this complex issue,” Faulconer and Liccardo wrote. But love it or hate it, coming together to create a solution on this complex issue is what state leaders already did in enacting AB 5.

Earlier this year, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott secured a similar injunction against grocery delivery app Instacart, and that injunction was suspended in the same way Faulconer is seeking. In short: The lawsuit is ongoing, and Instacart gets to keep operating as usual in the meantime.

Faulconer’s letter pits him directly against two local Democratic politicians: Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who wrote the law, and City Attorney Mara Elliot, who was one of the prosecutors who filed the suit against Uber.

What a shame, Mayor. You prefer to stand with billionaires over workers. Instead, let’s push these companies to employ their workers w/ their huge cash reserves, don’t you think? And provide (unemployment insurance),” Gonzalez wrote on Twitter.

In November, California voters will weigh in on Prop. 22, which would exempt rideshare companies from having to comply with AB 5.

Solana Beach Starts to Cough Up Records

Good news, y’all. It took five months and a lawsuit, but we’re finally started to get coronavirus-related emails out of Solana Beach.

In March, VOSD’s Ashly McGlone went around the county asking for the first 100 communications mentioning COVID-19 and other terms. We wanted to evaluate for ourselves how local governments reacted to and prepared for the pandemic.

Some agencies were quick to turn over what they had. Others, like Solana Beach, said they’d get to it after the pandemic ended. After our lawyer got involved, Solana Beach acknowledged that it had already deleted some of the records we’d requested and couldn’t get them back because officials have a policy of destroying emails after 100 days that they don’t think are important.

Kayla Jimenez has more in the North County Report and writes that the Solana Beach City Council will consider behind closed doors on Aug. 26 whether to voluntarily rewrite its email-retention policy. If not, we’ll carry on the case and ask a judge to declare the city’s policy illegal. 

The Latest on Schools

  • San Diego County public schools can now offer students in-person enrichment programs, including academic support, for free using money set aside for after-school programs. They can also provide in-person therapy services or special education assessments to students one at a time outdoors and by appointment. (Union-Tribune)
  • KPBS examines what school discipline looks like in the age of COVID-19. School officials say students will be punished for disrupting online classes, and the state education code requires suspensions, and even expulsions, for certain offenses, but they’ll have to take extra steps to make sure the punishments don’t exacerbate the already tenuous connections they have with students while distance learning. 
  • Del Mar Union School District, one of roughly 80 schools that have applied for reopening waivers, has laid out its safe reopening plan, which includes easily accessed hand-washing stations, an 18-student class limit, detailed travel paths, staggered starts to the school day and adjusted lunch times to help keep students distanced. (NBC 7)

In Other News

  • A professor at Emory University’s medical school writes in an op-ed that a San Diego Sheriff’s deputy bullied and lied to his family, and argues the experience underscores why a police officer’s versions of events shouldn’t be treated as sacrosanct. 
  • SDPD says it only uses Graykey, a controversial form of software that unlocks iPhones, with the authorization of courts and the consent of iPhone owners. But criminal justice advocates say it’s yet another piece of technology in the city’s possession that deserves scrutiny. (NBC 7) 
  • National City has equipped two vehicles with license plate readers to patrol parking districts. There was no discussion of how the data will be stored or possibly shared. But Councilman Jerry Cano sees the technology as a revenue-generating “gold mine” for a cash-strapped city. (Union-Tribune) 
  • The rolling power outages across California has led some, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, to reassess the state’s commitment to transition from conventional fossil fuel sources to renewables. (Union-Tribune)
  • The estimated unemployment rate in San Diego County has fallen to 14.2 percent from its high of 25 percent in May, a new SANDAG report found. (City News Service)
  • The Otay Water District has a 70-page document full of public complaints against one of its board members for his racist, sexist and Islamophobic social media posts. (Union-Tribune) 

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

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