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Roundtable: City Labor Deal, Colorado River Talks, Homeless Children, Grandal Returns To Padres

Colorado River
Roundtable: City Labor Deal, Colorado River Talks, Homeless Children, Grandal Returns To Padres
HOSTAlison St. JohnGUESTSJames Riffel, City News Bureau Chief Tony Perry, San Diego Bureau Chief, LA Times Susan Murphy, KPBS News Jay Paris, sports writer


City And Unions Agree, Tentatively

The City of San Diego has reached a tentative five-year labor agreement with six city employee unions.

The agreement will put millions of dollars into the city's general fund, end the 6 percent salary cut for employees and allow for small raises.

The workers who have been required to take unpaid furlough days for the last several years will see those days gradually reduced. The deal also implements the section of last year’s voter-approved pension reform initiative, which puts a limit on the type of compensation used to calculate workers' retirement pay. For the next five years, salary add-ons like overtime and bonuses will not be added into their retirement calculation.

Mayor Bob Filner has estimated that the city will save $25 million in each of the first two years of the pact and another $10 million in the third year. The savings come from lower annual city contributions to the employee retirement system.


Colorado River Cooperation

The mighty Colorado, 1,450 miles from its beginnings in the Rockies to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico, provides water for Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver and Tucson, just to name a few of the bigger western cities.

The Colorado River, so crucial to so many millions, is being strangled by drought.

Conditions are so serious that the seven states that rely on water from the Colorado and its tributaries met this week in San Diego to discuss a plan to deal with the severe conditions. Instead of the traditional round of tooth-and-nail fighting over water rights, they discussed issues such as conservation, water reuse, desalination, water banking and the sale of water from farms to cities.

The single biggest user of Colorado River water is the Imperial Irrigation District in Imperial Valley. The valley already has 36,000 acres of farmland going fallow (soon to increase to 40,000 acres) so that it can sell water to San Diego. The district is not inclined to give up more.

Homeless Babies and Toddlers

In 2012, 2,400 children stayed in emergency or transitional shelters in San Diego County. Forty percent of them were under the age of six.

The San Diego Rescue Mission housed 683 children in 2012, up from 487 two years ago. Because the mission is licensed to provide shelter from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. only, the mothers and their children, many in strollers, must leave directly after breakfast and fend for themselves on the streets. The streets can be dangerous, especially for a family with more than one child.

Reporter Susan Murphy spent a day with a homeless family making its accustomed rounds on buses, visiting parks.

There are proposals in the works for a pre-school at the mission. But even in the best case, that could take years to get going.

Grandal Returns To Padres

Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal finished his 50-game suspension for using synthetic testosterone and was back on the roster this week. He caught his first game for pitcher Edinson Volquez, who was happy to have him back.

Some in the media and blogosphere have noted that Grandal wasn’t exactly apologetic about using a banned substance, concerned that he would be stigmatized, or worried fans would think his good performance last year was due to the drug.

Unlike Volquez, catcher Nick Hundley probably wasn’t so glad to see Grandal. Hundley had a terrible May and there are rumors he may be traded. Teams mentioned are the Yankees, Tampa and Philadelphia.