Economist: Bay Area, Silicon Valley boom will continue, but housing woes will worsen

In a candid interview with the Union-Tribune, Adam Day, the new board chairman of California State University, said that the system needs to improve its graduation rate, more efficiently manage enrollment, find effective ways to use online courses, and carefully weed out academic majors that are no longer drawing significant numbers of students.

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California utilities commission OKs $776.5 million to boost electric vehicle use

In what is considered the largest single investment by any state to promote electric vehicles, California utility regulators Thursday approved $776.5 million to fund and evaluate projects that will be carried out over the space of five years by the state’s three investor-owned utilities. The portion assigned to San Diego Gas & Electric accounts for […]

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The new solar mandate: A leap forward or a step back?

But the new solar rule has generated a less sunny outlook from others. Besides generating complaints about raising the cost of new homes in an already expensive housing market in California, the mandate has been criticized by some energy wonks who say the rule does not make economic sense and does nothing to reduce the […]

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San Diego shrinks ‘granny flat’ fees to spur construction amid housing crisis

Fees to build “granny flats,” which are often nearly equal to construction costs, will shrink sharply under legislation the San Diego City Council unanimously approved this week. The goal is to help alleviate a severe local shortage of affordable housing by spurring construction of more granny flats, which are additional housing units on an existing […]

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Sales tax increase is only way Chula Vista can hire more cops, mayor says

Raising Chula Vista’s sales tax is the only way the city can afford to hire more cops and firefighters, Mayor Mary Salas said during a public forum Thursday evening. Voters will have a chance to approve or reject a half-cent sales tax increase in June’s election. The money will go toward the general fund, but […]

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ARRGGHH!! $4 gasoline is back at some stations

Gasoline is more expensive in the Golden State due to higher taxes and the state’s special blending requirements for fuel in order to reduce air pollution. But another factor came from a 12 cents per gallon increase in state gasoline taxes that went into effect last November. Money from the Road Repair and Accountability Act […]

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Number of San Diego city and county pensioners collecting $100k-plus continues to climb

New pension data show the number of San Diego city and county government retirees who were paid $100,000 or more in annual benefits continues to climb. More than 500 retired San Diego city employees collected six-figure pensions in 2017; San Diego County had even more big earners, with 811 pensioners above that threshold. Despite higher […]

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Pain at the pump not letting up as San Diego gas prices soar

The average price has now risen each day for the last three weeks, including 1.2 cents over the weekend, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service. The price has increased 20.5 cents since it began rising 21 days ago. Monday’s average price is 7.2 cents more than a week ago, 26 […]

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Solar jobs down 14% in California, 3.8% nationally

After experiencing consistent year-over-year growth, the number of jobs in the solar energy sector took a hit in 2017, with California absorbing the biggest blow. Solar employment dropped 14 percent in California last year, which was largely responsible for a 3.8 percent decline nationwide, according to the National Solar Jobs Census released earlier this week.

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As car ownership increases among the poor, transit ridership falls

Public transit ridership is falling in Southern California as more low-income residents purchase cars, according to a report released Wednesday by the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies. The report was commissioned by the Southern California Association of Governments and analyzed data for the agency’s service territory, including the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San […]

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Reasonable rates’ is stricken from CPUC mission statement

The California Public Utilities Commission has amended its long-standing mission statement, leaving out the idea of ensuring “reasonable rates” for the water and power used by the public. The change comes as state utility regulators have been under criminal investigation for potentially improper backchannel dealings with the utility companies they oversee and facing multiple lawsuits alleging they failed to protect the people they serve. For more than 20 years, the agency mission statement said, “The CPUC serves the public interest by protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure at reasonable rates, with a commitment to environmental enhancement and a healthy California economy.” Under a recent revision, the statement now says: “The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services.”

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San Diego boosts police pay up to 30 percent amid staffing crisis

San Diego boosted pay between 25 percent and 30 percent for the city’s police officers on Tuesday to help solve a crisis of departing officers that has lengthened response times, limited proactive policing and ballooned overtime budgets.

The City Council unanimously approved the pay hikes, which also aim to attract recruits to the police academy. They come as the number of officers has dropped to about 1,820 — more than 10 percent below a goal of 2,040.

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Special report: Can we build our way out of the housing crisis?

The Union-Tribune examined if San Diego County can build more housing to slow the pace of rent and home price increases. What we found:

– Zoning changes, emphasis on townhomes and reduced regulation would likely speed up construction;

– Biggest hurdles continue to be anti-growth sentiments and lack of land zoned for housing;

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California Supreme Court rules for farmworkers, and upholds binding mediation

California’s highest court decided unanimously Monday that farmers may have a labor contract imposed on them if negotiations with a union fail to produce an agreement. The state Supreme Court, overturning a lower court ruling, upheld a 2002 law that permits the state to order farmers and unions to reach binding contracts. The Legislature passed the law after determining that farmers were refusing to negotiate with unionized workers. The law allows either side to ask for a neutral mediator and for that mediator to impose a contract covering wages and working conditions.

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Get ready for a bump at the pump in California

California drivers normally catch a bit of a break this time of year when gas stations switch over to winter blends, which usually run about 12 cents a gallon less than summer-blended fuel.

But this year, the switch will coincide with the rollout of a state law to increase the price of gasoline by 12 cents a gallon.

In essence, the hike in the gas tax will nullify the reduction in price associated with the transition to winter fuel.

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