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Roundtable: Dumanis, Mexico Gas Protests, Storm Water, Affordable Housing

Dumanis, Mexico Gas Protests, Storm Water, Housing


Dana Littlefield, court reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Brooke Binkowski, border reporter, Voice of San Diego

Ry Rivard, land-use reporter, Voice of San Diego

Alison St John, North County reporter, KPBS News

Dumanis stops running

Elected to four terms as San Diego County’s district attorney, Bonnie Dumanis decided this week there will not be a fifth.

Dumanis said only that she “has other things to do.”

Dumanis succeeded Paul Pfingst, a two-term DA, in 2003. She ran for mayor in 2012, but didn’t make it past the primary.

Several in the legal and law enforcement communities have praised her priorities and collaborative abilities. She counts the stability and talent in the DA’s office; the office’s handling of cyber crime and elder abuse; and the focus on prisoner re-entry as the major achievements of her office.

Dumanis was criticized for using a gang conspiracy law to charge alleged gang members for the crimes of others on the theory that they profited from those crimes. The courts did not agree in most of the cases.

Another low point: her run for mayor spawned major trouble later when Mexican national José Susumo Azano Matsura was found guilty in 2016 of illegally funding her campaign.

If she resigns before her term ends, the County Board of Supervisors will appoint an interim district attorney.

Related: Dumanis won't seek re-election as district attorney in 2018

Gas protests continue in Mexico

When gas prices in Mexico jumped 20 percent at the beginning of the year, Mexicans showed their anger by taking to the streets.

The San Ysidro border crossing was closed several times, including last weekend, and protesters closed down a Pemex supply center in Rosarito, leaving thousands of Mexicans in Tijuana and Ensenada without gas.

The price rise came after the government, which had always subsidized gasoline, deregulated it in order to attract foreign investment. Some Mexican gas sells for more than $4.00 a gallon.

Food costs have also gone up, and a proposed law would hike the price of water.

The Mexican daily minimum wage rose from $4.08 (US) to $4.25 in January, but the increase was negated when the dollar value of the peso, about $.07 in 2015, dropped to $.046 this year.

The deregulation will, though, save the government considerable money.

Related: Tijuana Gas Protests Temporarily Shut Down Southbound Vehicle Border Crossing

What storm water regulations?

Ry Rivard, reporter for Voice of San Diego, wrote three stories on the tangled knot of California storm water regulations.

His own words sum up the series so well they are worth repeating here:

"Across California, there could be thousands or even tens of thousands of businesses dodging environmental rules and sending pollution into the state’s waters.

Though an entire regulatory system exists to police businesses and keep water safe for residents and wildlife, the state doesn’t know how many unpermitted businesses are out there, or how much damage they’re doing.

Businesses that comply are at a disadvantage, competing with those that don’t.

State officials admit they could not handle enforcing their own rules. If somehow it were to be sorted out, businesses would face potentially billions in devastating fines."

Related: California's Stormwater Regulations Are Themselves a Toxic Mess

He Tried to Follow the Rules -- and He Lost His Business

Affordable housing?

Affordable housing is defined as housing designed to be rented to people who earn under the area median income.

North County’s rents are the highest in the region, partly because so few new houses have been built.

A KPBS survey of North County showed coastal cities — constrained by lack of land and very high prices for what is available — have added far less affordable housing to their stock than the cities along Highway 78.

Del Mar, Solana Beach and Oceanside have built virtually no affordable units in the last three years. But some communities like San Marcos, Vista and Escondido are making some progress, and Oceanside will have 288 units open later this year.

Related: New Affordable Housing In North County Defied Stereotypes

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