By Craig Benedetto & Marshall Anderson, Legislative Advocates
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. SAN DIEGO
a. CITY INCREASES “TIPPING FEES” FOR MIRAMAR LANDFILL
b. CITY OF SAN DIEGO RELEASES CLIMATE ACTION IMPLEMENTATION PLAN c. EL CAJON MAYOR TO CHALLENGE SARA JACOBS IN BID FOR CONGRESS d. HOMELESSNESS UPDATES
e. LA JOLLANS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO SECEDE FROM THE CITY
f. LA MESA ATTEMPTS TO QUICKEN PERMITTING PROCESS
g. MIRA MESA COMMUNITY PLAN UPDATE CHALLENGED BY ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP
h. PUBLIC SAFETY UPDATES
i. SDG&E REQUESTS RATE INCREASE
j. SOCIAL EQUITY TO INFLUENCE CITY BUDGET
a. CALIFORNIA WATER RESTRICTIONS LIFTED
b. COVID-19 STATE OF EMERGENCY COMES TO AN END
a. IRS EXTENDS FILING DEADLINE FOR FEDERAL INCOME TAX
COVID-19 STATE OF EMERGENCY COMES TO AN END
California and County officials proclaimed an end to the COVID-19 state of emergency that has been in place since March 2020. The California Department of Health also announced the end of statewide mask requirements in health care and other indoor high-risk settings — including correctional facilities and emergency and homeless shelters — beginning April 3. California will
also no longer require COVID-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 can now exit isolation after five days, provided they feel well, symptoms are improving, and they have been fever-free for 24 hours. For more information, please click HERE.
- ENCAMPMENT BAN TO COME FORWARD: Mayor Todd Gloria offered support for a recent proposal by San Diego City Councilmember Stephen Whitburn, which would ban tent camping on public property when shelter is available including public sidewalks and streets. It would apply upwards of 24 hours a day, and include public parks, canyons, and within two blocks of schools and shelter locations. Additionally, Mayor Gloria stated that enforcement would resume for those who live, illegally, in their vehicles or park oversized vehicles where they are not permitted. The ban would be predicated on shelter being available and would require those camping to accept the shelter or move. During the press conference, Mayor Gloria hinted at a 2024 ballot measure that would “help untie our hands and address unsafe encampments.” We will provide additional details once they become available. To learn more, click HERE.
- GOVERNOR PROPOSES 2024 MENTAL HEALTH MEASURE: The Governor is proposing a 2024 ballot initiative aimed at improving the state's approach to mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness. The initiative would include a bond to build “mental health treatment residential settings” to house those with mental illness and substance use disorders, create housing for homeless veterans, and modernize the Mental Health Services Act to require at least $1 billion every year for behavioral health care. The proposal also includes new accountability and oversight measures for counties to improve accountability. BOMA’s legislative advocates will provide a full analysis and bill language, once finalized. To learn more, click HERE.
- MAYOR ADVOCATES FOR STATE CONSERVATORSHIP REFORM: Mayor Gloria joined several ‘big city’ mayors in Sacramento, announcing support for a package of bills aimed at reforming state conservatorship laws. Senate Bill 43 (Eggman) seeks to redefine “gravely disabled,” which would make it easier to force those who are considered a danger to self and others into treatment because of serious mental health issues. Eggman’s package of bills also seek to allow medical expert testimony during conservatorship proceedings and create an online dashboard depicting the amount of inpatient psychiatric beds, residential mental health facilities, crisis stabilization units, and other treatment facilities. BOMA San Diego’s Government Affairs Committee heard from the Mayor’s Intergovernmental Affairs staff on this and other measures intended to help address issues related to homeless and will continue to engage on these issues as a priority matter for the membership.
PUBLIC SAFETY UPDATES:
- MAIENSCHEIN INTRODUCES BILL TARGETTING FENTANYL DEALERS: Assemblymember Brian Maienschein has introduced a bill, AB 367, that would add three to five years on a sentence to those who are convicted of selling the drug. Given the prevalence of use amongst the homeless population, BOMA San Diego is discussing this measure among others as a means of helping address the problem.
- MAYOR, SDPD ANNOUNCE NEW EFFORTS TO COMBAT FENTANYL: Mayor Todd Gloria announced that the city is prioritizing enforcement of fentanyl-related crimes. The San Diego Police Department is implementing two new initiatives: the use of newly certified police dogs to detect fentanyl, and new software to map the locations of fatal and nonfatal overdoses. The software will help detectives focus on anti-drug efforts in areas where multiple overdoses have occurred. The police dogs, which are specifically trained to detect fentanyl, will help detect drugs during searches.
CITY OF SAN DIEGO RELEASES CLIMATE ACTION IMPLEMENTATION PLAN A draft of the City’s Climate Action Implementation Plan includes 190 actions for the city to take in reaching its goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. While the plan is relatively vague in the absence of code language, it does single out decarbonization of the built environment as a major means of meeting its lofty goal. The plan states that the city will phase out 45% of natural gas from existing buildings by 2030, and 90% of natural gas by 2035. For new builds, the city plans on bringing forward an all-electric reach code later this year.
A draft of the Implementation Plan was discussed by the San Diego City Council’s Environment Committee. Calling it a “moral imperative” city staff said that aggressive action needed to be taken to help address climate change. The Council also, in a separate action, voted to forward a prioritization plan for the CAP developed by their Independent Budget Analyst to the full council for consideration. BOMA, the SD Regional Chamber, BIA and others were critical of the prioritization program since private sector input was largely left out of the plan. Feasibility was, as a result, not ranked very high in the IBA’s prioritization scheme. Council questioning toward the end of the hearing highlighted that the City has not conducted and, according to the Mayor’s office, will NOT conduct an economic feasibility analysis of private sector implementation costs and job impacts.
The full Climate Action Implementation Plan can be found HERE. The prioritization plan and an update on the CAP will go to council in the next month. BOMA will keep you posted on this issue and how you can engage and also encourage the City of San Diego to consider implementation costs and feasibility as it looks toward code changes and other requirements for the built environment.
REMINDER – City of San Diego Energy Benchmarking Reports Due JUNE 1st The City of San Diego is reminding all building owners and managers that the deadline for reporting your calendar year 2022 energy benchmarking reports is June 1st 2023. The requirement came from the 2015 Climate Action Plan. All “reporters” are encouraged to contact the city if they have any questions. You can find more information HERE.
CALIFORNIA WATER RESTRICTIONS LIFTED
Mandatory water restrictions in Southern California have been lifted thanks to winter storms that have increased reservoir levels and helped to curb the state's driest three-year period on record. While officials are still urging residents and businesses to conserve, the Metropolitan
Water District has ended emergency drought measures that were imposed in June 2022. Some environmental groups are advocating for more permanent restrictions arguing that the boom and bust cycles of wet and dry years will continue and get more extreme. To learn more, click HERE.
SDG&E REQUESTS RATE INCREASE
San Diego Gas & Electric has proposed to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) a new rate increase for electricity and natural gas. The proposal includes a 5.3% increase in electricity and a 17.5% increase in natural gas rates. The CPUC will decide whether to accept, reject or modify the proposed increases. The hearings are part of a General Rate Case that happens every four years, where utilities estimate the cost to maintain and upgrade their power system. SDG&E's proposed increase follows a surge in the commodity price of natural gas that raised some customers' gas bills by 100% or more.
CITY INCREASES “TIPPING FEES” FOR MIRAMAR LANDFILL
The San Diego City Council voted to increase fees for dumping trash at the Miramar landfill by 71% by 2025. The City says the increase is necessary to help cover the cost of maintaining the landfill and to comply with the state’s food and organic waste provisions. The proposed fee increase falls on both city and private waste haulers, ultimately impacting customers of private haulers the most, including commercial real estate. To learn more, click HERE.
IRS EXTENDS FILING DEADLINE FOR FEDERAL INCOME TAX
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and California Franchise Tax Board have extended the deadline for tax filings until October of this year for San Diego. The reason stems from San Diego being declared a federal disaster area due to severe weather events earlier this year. The extension applies to individual income tax returns, various business returns, and returns of tax exempt organizations. To learn more, click HERE.
MIRA MESA COMMUNITY PLAN UPDATE CHALLENGED BY ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP The recently approved update of the Mira Mesa Community Plan is being challenged in court by a local environmental group called Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation (CERF). The lawsuit contends that conclusions that the plan will meet the requirements of the City’s Climate Action Plan by reducing vehicle trips are wrong. No court date has been set for the challenge, but until such time that a court either grants an injunction against implementation or invalidates the approval of the plan update, city staff will continue to move forward with the implementation of the plan. For more information on the plan update, please click HERE. To learn more about the lawsuit, please click HERE.
EL CAJON MAYOR TO CHALLENGE SARA JACOBS IN BID FOR CONGRESS El Cajon Mayor, Bill Wells, announced his bid for Congress against incumbent democrat, Sara Jacobs. Wells, a Republican, said he would focus on homelessness, crime, and untreated mental health issues as his top priorities. A bout for the congressional seat will present itself on the November 2024 ballot.
LA MESA ATTEMPTS TO QUICKEN PERMITTING PROCESS
La Mesa leaders have approved changes to their construction permit process after an outside review found that the city was slower than other cities around the region. The changes include hiring an additional employee, updating computer equipment, improving communication, holding more meetings with applicants, and creating a handbook for accessory dwelling units (ADUs). La Mesa aims to complete initial review of applications within 21 days. Once a project is resubmitted, staff desires to go over proposals again within 14 days. La Mesa City Council briefly discussed offering expedited reviews for a higher fee, but officials decided to see how these changes would impact the process first.
LA JOLLANS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO SECEDE FROM THE CITY
The “Association for the City of La Jolla” is raising funds to complete a fiscal impact analysis that would explore the possibility of La Jolla becoming its own city. A preliminary map, which can be found here, depicts the borders of La Jolla lying between Del Mar and Pacific Beach. The proposal would require Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) approval before a citywide vote. While not currently active, a website for the campaign will be found HERE.
SOCIAL EQUITY TO INFLUENCE CITY BUDGET
The City of San Diego is expected to make fundamental changes in how its annual budget is constructed, moving forward. Every funding decision in the city's $2 billion budget will be subject to additional scrutiny to eliminate disparities between rich and poor neighborhoods. Each department head has been assigned an "equity-centered" coach, and the City's budgeting software has been tailored to evaluate decisions based on equity. The Office of Race and Equity has also created a 40-page guide for city decision-makers. As part of this effort, each department is required to create an equity action plan. The City Council is scheduled to finalize the budget for fiscal 2024 on June 12. The City’s Equity Forward, Inclusive Public Engagement Guide, can be found HERE.