Morning Report: Hello Zoning Plans, Meet Climate Plan - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: Hello Zoning Plans, Meet Climate Plan

San Diego has made a commitment to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2035.

Ten percent of the cuts laid out in the city’s newly adopted Climate Action Plan are supposed to come from persuading people to change how they commute.

That’s a tricky thing to do, but one method is to steer neighborhoods toward a denser, more transit-friendly future where residents can ditch their cars and walk, bike or ride a trolley or bus to work.

VOSD’s Andrew Keatts reports on the tensions between the city’s climate goals and the two, mostly completed new community plans for North Park and Uptown.

One problem is that people who live in North Park and Uptown want proof, or statistical numbers that tell them exactly what kind of infrastructure changes will result in what amount of climate-friendly change.

Right now, the city can’t offer them anything like that.

• Persuading or forcing neighborhoods to grow like this will be the hard part of the city’s Climate Action Plan and it will cause some big potential conflicts in coming years. For now, Mayor Kevin Faulconer is still getting love for shepherding the plan through. Scientific American featured Faulconer in a new story. Faulconer “shows how there can be bipartisan consensus to move away from fossil fuels.”

San Diego’s Minimum Wage Measure Needs to Go Away

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a measure that will set a new, higher minimum wage for the state. It’ll hit $15 in the next seven years and local business owner Harry Schwartz thinks that’s reasonable since it gives California businesses time to adjust.

But in an op-ed for VOSD, Schwartz says what’s not so reasonable is a local initiative that asks businesses to pay employees a higher minimum wage as soon as the measure passes and includes no safeguards against future economic downturns.

“The San Diego initiative needs to go away,” he writes. “This now unnecessary initiative will put city businesses at a tremendous disadvantage in the short term and create an unreasonable financial burden for most small businesses.”

MTS’ Infuriating Payment System Might Get Better

The Compass Card doesn’t work like most people think it should. The smart chip card program allows people to buy daily, multi-day and monthly transit passes, but the card doesn’t store value; instead eventually expiring whether a passenger has used the money on the card or not.

Lame, right? The U-T reports that the Metropolitan Transit System is finally admitting that the Compass Card technology has reached the end of its life and its board is seriously shopping around for better options.

KPBS has stayed on top of the problems with the Compass Card, reporting that the system also leaves customer data vulnerable to identity theft.

The improved payment system could help chip away at MTS’ overall customer service problem, something that’s been brought up in our opinion section in the past.

Wait a Minute, Ray, What Did You Say?

Ray Ellis, a candidate for San Diego City Council’s District 1, had to do some backpedaling over the weekend for some things he’s said about his main opponent, Barbara Bry.

The U-T reports that Ellis is wrong about Bry on two big issues. His campaign has accused her of wanting to use public funds to build the Chargers a new stadium and also claimed that she didn’t support the city’s appeal of a ruling dismantling a voter-approved pension overhaul.

“I did get ahead of myself,” Ellis told the U-T. “I should have been clearer and I’m sorry.”

Quick News Hits

• Poway Unified spent lots of money to post a private armed security guard at an elementary school and to defend itself against a related lawsuit. (U-T)

• The New Children’s Park got some improvements. Don’t confuse the New Children’s Park with the bigger, less kid-friendly Children’s Park across the street – that one is still badly in need of a redesign. (NBC San Diego)

• San Diego based freelance photographer Kevin Patrick Dawes was released by the Syrian government after being detained since 2012. (Associated Press)

• San Diego’s 10News sat down with Congress Williams of the Veterans Village of San Diego nonprofit to talk about the issue of homeless vets.

• I’d stop permanently at the Ernest Hemingway Marina in Havana, but more power to this sailing San Diego dude and his quest to take his boat around the world. (New York Times)

• I’m not sure even this cute musical performance would turn my frown upside-down after being stuck on the tarmac at the San Diego International Airport for too long, but nice attempt, choir kids. Note to the person filming it: TURN YOUR PHONE HORIZONTAL NEXT TIME.

San Diego Social Media Moments

• The Great Breakfast Burrito Debate has been reprised thanks to VOSD’s Sara Libby.

• I’m all for cream cheese frosting on just about anything, but this may be a bit much.

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