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City Council

The People's Business: Aug. 5, 2020

The City's August legislative recess was all set to start after yesterday's City Council meeting, but there's gonna be one more meeting -- a special affair beginning tomorrow at 1 p.m. 

If you'd like more detail on anything summarized here, click the agenda, then click on the item. Over on the right side of the page, you'll see links to a staff report and other pieces of supporting material.

City Council -- Thursday, Aug. 6

There are a few high-profile matters on the agenda. We'll lead with the City's gas and electric franchises (Item 601):

Electricity infrastructureBack in 1970, the City signed a 50-year franchise agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to essentially exclusively rent the City's public right-of-way to provide gas service and electricity to residents and businesses within city limits. You math whizzes know that 1970 + 50 = 2020, and that means it's time for a new franchise agreement.

The current agreement actually expires next January. By then, the City will need to have a new agreement in place. Will it be with SDG&E? Another player? What will the terms be?

In preparation for a competitive bidding process, the City enlisted NewGen Strategies & Solutions to perform a valuation of SDG&E's infrastructure, study what severing ties with SDG&E would entail if another entity were to win the new franchise, and look into municipalization of gas and electric infrastructure. The City also hired JVJ Pacific Consulting (JVJ) to draft recommendations for what a new franchise could look like. For example, JVJ is recommending a 20-year agreement, with a minimum bid of $62 million for gas and electric combined, and franchise fees of 3.5 percent and 3 percent for gas and electric, respectively.

The consultants presented their findings and recommendations to the Council's Environment Committee on July 16. The committee endorsed the recommendations and some of its members added a few elements of their own. The City Attorney this week issued PDF icon a memo, highlighting some issues with the committee's ideas. The Council's Independent Budget Analyst also issued PDF icon a report on the franchise agreement. On Thursday, the Council will discuss all of these matters and decide what to do next.

Here's what else is on the agenda:

  • Protecting Streets and Other Areas without Intervention by Federal Law Enforcement (Item 602): On Thursday, Council President Georgette Gómez will ask her colleagues to support a resolution denouncing recent heavy-handed tactics used by federal law enforcement officers against protesters in Portland, Ore., and elsewhere. 

In addition to condemning these actions, the resolution asserts the Council’s right to govern, "in the interests of protecting the peace and preserving the wellbeing of City residents," without federal intervention; supports efforts of U.S. senators and representatives attempting to hold federal law enforcement agencies accountable; directs the City’s Office of Government Affairs to monitor federal legislative efforts; asks the City Attorney to monitor the activities of federal law enforcement agencies on City streets and other public areas and to respond to violations of law by the federal law enforcement agencies; and affirms that the Council "stands up for the First Amendment rights of American citizens and does not stand for unidentified, unaccountable federal law enforcement, using tactics familiar to authoritarian governments around the world."

  • The building at 101 Ash. St.101 Ash St. Status Update (Item 603): City leadership on Thursday will give the Council an update on the issues surrounding the City-owned building at 101 Ash St. The City purchased the building in 2016, in a lease-to-own transaction, with the intention of moving hundreds of employees into it. However, significant renovation issues have gotten in the way. Earlier this year, Mayor Kevin Faulconer ordered a forensic review of the building's acquisition and efforts to make improvements, as well as an assessment of the building's physical condition.

The presentation on Thursday will include summaries of those investigations and an initial discussion of the options going forward, which include staying the course, selling the building for less, pursuing a new landlord, renegotiating the existing lease, and walking away.

  • Management of 1200 Third Ave., 201 A St., and 101 Ash St. (Item 600): Since 2015, the City has contracted with CBRE Inc. for property management services at two of its buildings -- at 1200 Third Ave. and 201 A St. -- and since 2017 at a third building, the aforementioned 101 Ash St. On Thursday, the City's Real Estate Assets Department will ask the Council to extend those contracts long enough for the City to initiate a new competitive bidding process.

Only City staff and credentialed members of the press may attend in person. However, anyone can participate and make comments by dialing 619-541-6310 and entering the access code 877861 followed by # when the item you're interested in comes up (PDF icon full call-in instructions). Watch the meeting on cable TV channel 24 or AT&T channel 99, or stream it online.

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