Mayor Todd Gloria and Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors Nathan Fletcher discuss homelessness at a Politifest panel, moderated by Planetcob reporter Lisa Halverstadt on October 8, 2022.
Mayor Todd Gloria at a Politifest panel on Oct. 8, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

It’s been a rainy couple of years – and that means the region’s water importer and seller is hurting for cash. To help cover that gap, among other growing costs of its massive water infrastructure system, the San Diego County Water Authority proposed increasing water rates by up to 39 percent in the next two years.

In response, the city of San Diego, the Water Authority’s biggest customer, said “hell naw.”

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria told the Water Authority Wednesday in a memo obtained by Planetcob that he’s not supportive of the up to 19 percent water price hike which would go into effect Jan. 1. He called upon San Diego’s 10 representatives on the 32-member board to push back.

San Diego pulls the most weight of the 22 water districts that purchase from the Water Authority, meaning it can pretty much swing the board vote its way with the support of only one other district.

Background: The city of San Diego is the Water Authority’s biggest customer. But it’s also in the middle of building a multi-billion-dollar wastewater-to-drinking water recycling facility called Pure Water. For now, the city purchases most of its water needs from the Water Authority, which brings in most of the region’s water from the Colorado River and the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The city has been pushing the Water Authority to sell-off some of its most expensive water supplies, including the Colorado River and desalinated water from a plant in Carlsbad. Dan Denham, the Water Authority’s new general manager, says he’s pursuing new customers for desal water in Orange County and recently sold-off some of its Colorado River water. But those savings can’t come soon enough, Water Authority customers say.

The board will vote on the final rate increase at its June 27 meeting.

The Pick Is In: County Supes Choose New CAO

Board of Supervisors meeting at the San Diego County Administration Building in downtown on Dec. 5, 2023.
Board of Supervisors meeting at the San Diego County Administration Building in downtown on Dec. 5, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Wednesday, the County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to offer their chosen candidate to be the chief administrative officer of the county’s 18,000 employees the job. The announcement was made after the final interview and vote was taken in closed session.

They didn’t announce who it was but it is widely assumed to be Ebony Shelton, the deputy chief administrative officer and chief financial officer for the county.

Shelton is considered a finance expert, which could be handy as the county braces for significant economic consequences from the state budget crisis. She would also be the first Black woman to run the county. This is supposed to be secret information so maybe we’re wrong, maybe she turns it down or maybe a member of the Board of Supervisors suddenly resigns in scandal causing the whole search to be re-started. 

We’ll keep you posted. 

Fight isn't over: Thursday, writer Doug Porter published an open letter from several progressives and labor union leaders demanding that Nora Vargas, the chair of the Board of Supervisors step down from the chair role. They published a series of screen shots of messages Vargas had allegedly sent to groups of friends in which she wrote disparagingly of Black leaders and unions.

Carlsbad to Buy Apartment Complex Back From Solutions for Change

Solutions for Change office in Vista on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. The nonprofit is currently trying to acquire new land to support more families in need. / Photo by Vito di Stefano for Planetcob
Solutions for Change office in Vista on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. / Photo by Vito di Stefano for Planetcob

Carlsbad officials will buy back an apartment complex from Vista nonprofit Solutions for Change and forgive a loan they awarded the nonprofit back in 2015, the City Council decided Tuesday.

Some background: In 2015, Solutions for Change purchased a 16-unit apartment complex from the city of Carlsbad using a $3.1 million loan from the city with the goal of turning it into affordable housing.

The nonprofit was planning to use federal and state homeless dollars to repay the city. But in 2016, the Housing First policy, an approach that focuses on getting people housed without sobriety and treatment requirements, became the official policy statewide and nationwide.

Solutions for Change no longer qualified for state or federal money because they require sobriety from their clients.

Our Tigist Layne previously reported that the nonprofit was in the process of returning it to Carlsbad. Now, the city will buy the property back from the nonprofit with a plan to still turn it into affordable housing.

Related: Click here to read more about Solutions for Change’s decision to turn down hundreds of thousands of state and federal dollars because its leaders refused to follow a new homelessness policy.

In Other News

  • It’s not easy to nurse two malnourished, orphaned black bears back to health, but a team of veterinarians and creative staff members at the San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center were up to the task. Wildlife experts cared for the two bears for a year, but they had to get creative when it came to feedings to avoid getting them accustomed to humans. The team released the two black bears back into the San Bernardino mountains on May 15. (Union-Tribune)
  • You’re not the only one who likes hanging in Mission Bay. Watch this video of a gray whale swimming in the area. (NBC 7)
  • In other sad animal news, dead baby sea lions have been washing up along Southern California shorelines and as far south as Mexico. The reasons behind the string of deaths is still unclear but researchers are testing for signs of bird flu – which recently spread to dairy cows – and domoic acid which causes toxic red tides. A huge toxic algae bloom swept the West Coast in 2015, triggering mass mammal die offs and decimating fishing industries. (LA Times and Scripps Institution of Oceanography)
  • Supervisor Nora Vargas called on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the state Department of PUblic Health to investigate cross-border pollution effects on public health. The county Public Health Department sent a letter echoing Vargas’ request. (NBC 7)

The Morning Report was written by MacKenzie Elmer, Scott Lewis and Tigist Layne. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

Join the Conversation

4 Comments

  1. Why doesn't he push back on the coming rate increases from SDG&E? After doubling rates in the last 7 years they have gotten another 40% increase in the next four years! WHAT ABOUT THAT???? Then there's the trash increase, the proposed storm water increase and the proposed sales tax increase! We need new leadership to combat the high cost of living - no one on this council is doing anything to help.

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