Republic Services San Diego
Republic Services employees listen to a Chula Vista City Council meeting on Jan. 11, 2022, regarding contract negotiations with Republic Services. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

A few weeks after the beginning of the garbage collectors’ strike, the leaders of Chula Vista are ready to declare a state of emergency in the hope that this will help end the impasse.

But the city has far less sway over the dispute than it might otherwise, due to a contract it signed with Republic Services, the private company it hired to handle garbage collection, in 2014.

It was this company whose wage negotiations with more than 250 workers represented by Teamster Local 542 stalled, leading to the strike. Chula Vista’s emergency declaration is its attempt to gain leverage and push the company to a deal.

This game isn’t worth what it might be, however, as the city’s contract with Republic Services states that the company is not responsible for any “uncontrollable circumstance”, and the contract included a strike as one of these circumstances outside the company. control.

“I don’t think it should be in anyone’s franchise agreement to be honest and I certainly hope that in years to come it won’t be there,” said the Chula Vista councilman, Steve Padilla, at a public meeting this week.

jesse marx expose the dispute in a new story, explaining the weak position the city finds itself in and how far apart the union and company are on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Click here to read the full story on the garbage strike.

County cuts isolation schedule for homeless COVID cases

The county has reminded of the required isolation times for people staying in county-provided hotel rooms following a spike in COVID cases that increased demand for them.

Crowded homeless shelters have been particularly reliant on hotels where people without a safe place to self-isolate can stay for what had been a recommended 10-day period.

But as Lisa Halverstadt reports, county officials revealed this week that they have reduced the required isolation to five days for people staying at their hotels who are asymptomatic and test negative for COVID under new federal guidelines.

That contradicts Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advice for people returning to shelters — facilities that in the city of San Diego have reported more than 120 cases in the past three weeks.

The county defended the change, noting that the likelihood of COVID transmission is “significantly reduced after five days” and that it wanted to prioritize serving people known to be COVID-positive.

Two major city shelter providers said they plan to maintain a 10-day isolation period for their residents as a precaution, even if it means using their own resources to keep shelter residents whose test is up. isolated positive. The use of their own resources has recently resulted in party tents equipped with beds and heaters.

The county’s move comes after two consecutive weeks with about 50 positive cases in the shelters of the city. As of Thursday afternoon, this week’s testing had so far uncovered 22 cases at Father Joe’s Golden Hall shelter and two at Project Alpha 17.and and refuge on Imperial Avenue. The city and suppliers are awaiting additional test results.

Click here to learn more about Halverstadt.

San Diego Unified solves staff shortage

In an email sent to parents Thursday night, San Diego Unified officials said it was “highly likely” that over the next several weeks, students will be supervised by centralized staff, work in a classroom, study or will have their teaching time replaced by “self-paced activities”. due to staff shortages following the latest spike in coronavirus cases.

“These are temporary measures required by the pandemic, and using these strategies will allow us to keep classrooms open,” officials wrote. “If, after exhausting all available options, a principal – in conjunction with their District Support Team – determines that it is not safe to continue in-person instruction due to a severe staffing shortage, he/she can request a COVID Impact Day (similar to a Heat Day) to report to their school.

“The State of California does not require schools to close once a particular case rate of COVID-19 has occurred on campus, and no one should anticipate a district decision to expel all students from the city to online learning. Instead, San Diego Unified Health officials will consult with county colleagues to establish an appropriate positivity rate threshold above which they do not advise continued operation of a particular school facility.

According to San Diego Unified COVID-19 Dashboard648 staff and 142 students had active cases last week – a 37% increase from the previous week.

Mysterious sewage spill thwarts officials

Water passes from Tijuana to the International Wastewater Treatment Plant through a grated drain that helps collect waste. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Federal officials are investigating why millions of gallons of sewage-laden water are not making their way from Tijuana to the international sewage treatment plant in the United States. Instead, this untreated sewage is flowing into San Diego through a border drain, indicating that there’s likely a broken pipe or clog somewhere in Tijuana.

The runaway began Jan. 7 around 1:30 p.m. when nearly a million gallons of sewage leaked out of Tijuana through Stewart’s Drain, which is just east of the International Water Treatment Plant. wastewater operated by the International Boundary Water Commission.

The plant can process up to 25 million gallons of wastewater per day, and it usually does. But around the same time, the plant began receiving just over half the wastewater it would normally receive from Tijuana — about 12 to 13 million gallons, gatekeeper Lori Kuczmanski said Thursday. word of the committee. This basically means that the sewage escapes from the sewer system somewhere upstream of the pipeline in Tijuana and ends up in the Tijuana River on the San Diego side elsewhere by gravity.

“It was a bit alarming,” Kuczmanski said. “We don’t know at this time if there is a break in the system or a broken pump. We explore everything.

Continue reading…

City makes more lottery plans for vacation rentals

The city opted for a proposed lottery system for vacation rental applications crucial to long overdue regulations it hopes to implement in July to limit the number of rentals and crack down on problematic properties.

After hearing an initial lottery methodology presented in October, City Council members asked Mayor Todd Gloria’s team to find a way to legally prioritize supposedly good actors. The city council requested a plan within a month. This month has come and gone.

In one Memo of January 7 obtained by Voice of San Diego, City Treasurer Elizabeth Correia wrote that the city plans to institute a weighted point system based on factors such as existing rental operators paying required hotel taxes and have no recent, verifiable code violations to give good actors a head start on getting one license from a limited number for rentals operating more than 20 days per year.

However, there is still at least one hurdle to overcome before the regulations are enacted. The state’s Coastal Commission must give its approval, and the city has previously acknowledged that a delayed Coastal Commission review could prevent it from enacting the new rules on time.

A spokeswoman for the Coast Commission told VOSD this week that the agency currently plans to try to review the city’s regulatory proposal in March or April. This could give the city time to make any changes the commission may suggest before the July implementation date.

Picture of the week

Governor Gavin Newsom helps clean up a homeless encampment near Interstate 5 in downtown San Diego on January 12, 2022. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

From Adriana Heldiz: Anyone who drives on the streets or highways of our city has seen the increase in homeless encampments over the past two months. There is no doubt that our region is facing a crisis, and officials are developing plans to help people get off the streets – something we heard from Mayor Todd Gloria in his City State Address and during a recent visit by Governor Gavin Newsom.

As noted above, Newsom on Wednesday helped Caltrans workers clean up a homeless encampment near Interstate 5. The area was packed with city officials and reporters.

When I arrived, I immediately started taking photos of Newsom picking up trash. I try to get a shot from all angles: some up and some down. One of Newsom’s staff members who saw me stepping over some trash looked at me with a smile and said, “Ah, the life of a still photographer!”

Catch up on our city and state coverage plans to tackle homelessness here.

In other news

  • Privacy Advocates weighed with KPBS on the city of Chula Vista police surveillance contract with Motorola Solutions, which our Jesse Marx reported in September allows the company to leverage a wide range of data from camera feeds, drones and license plate readers. At the time the council signed the contract, there was no council discussion and no one from the public spoke for or against.
  • The San Diego Police Union is take the city to court on the claim that his officers were not allowed to record their interviews about exemptions from the city employee vaccination mandate, arguing that it is in an officer’s bill of rights to record any interview which could result in disciplinary action. (ABC 10)
  • San Diego County Trauma Center Blood Supply Too turn so low that there might not be enough blood to supply victims in a disaster as small as a four-car pile-up, according to the medical director of UC San Diego Health Transfusion Services. (Tribune of the Union)
  • The Port of San Diego is plans to double the electrical capacity of the port through a contract with Baker Electric, Inc. that will provide equipment so more cruise ships can use electricity instead of running auxiliary diesel engines while at dock. (
  • Logan Heights gets his first high school this fall – the newest group of high schools since 1993 within the San Diego Unified School District. (Tribune of the Union)

This morning report was written by Andrew Keatts, Lisa Halverstadt, MacKenzie Elmer and Adriana Heldiz. It was edited by Megan Wood.


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