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Roundtable Tackles The Chargers, Electricity Rates, Wage Theft

Roundtable Discusses Dwindling Hope For New Chargers Stadium
Roundtable Tackles The Chargers, Electricity Rates, Wage Theft
Chargers, Electricity Rates, Wage TheftHOST: Erik AndersonGUESTS:Jay Paris, 1090 AM Sports Radio Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union Tribune Dean Calbreath, San Diego Daily Transcript

Chargers just say no

On Tuesday, the San Diego Chargers declared the city’s plan for a Dec. 15 public vote on a new stadium impossible.

Mark Fabiani, the team’s special counsel, said the Chargers concluded that no ballot measure cobbled together in the short time available would be legally defensible, given the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.


"We're out of time," he said.

Just days earlier, the city's negotiating team expressed optimism that its plan had allayed the Chargers' concerns.

But in spite of City Attorney Jan Goldsmith's firm assurances that a timely environmental impact report would be a relative piece of cake, in fact a foregone conclusion, the Chargers foresaw multiple environmental legal challenges and eventual defeat.

Meanwhile, the Padres, who aren’t going anywhere at the moment, ousted manager Bud Black and replaced him with Pat Murphy, who manages the AAA club in El Paso, Texas and who is, by some accounts, much more hot-tempered than Black. Will he provide the impetus the lackluster team has, um, lacked?

Electricity costs are volatile

Depending on where you live and what kind of utility you get your power from, your cost for 500 kilowatt hours of electricity could be $58 (Sacramento), or it could, if you live in San Diego and are hooked up to SDG&E, be $118.


Investor-owned utilities (IOU's) like SDG&E generally bill at higher rates than public electricity providers. They often pay their executives very high salaries, and, critics say, since IOU’s make money off infrastructure, they are motivated to build transmission lines and power stations even when not needed.

Municipal companies say their rates are lower because there is no profit margin and revenue is re-invested in the company. But publicly owned utilities have their own problems, as in Riverside, where the city increased electricity rates to cover other city expenses.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees all utility companies, is considering changing its rate structure. But there is concern that the changes are to the benefit of the utilities, not the ratepayers.

Is restaurant wage theft a big problem?

According to a pilot study released this week, San Diego restaurants sometimes or even regularly steal wages from their workers.

San Diego’s Center for Policy Initiatives (CPI), working with a team of sociology graduate students at San Diego State University, interviewed 337 restaurant workers on the streets, at bus stops and other public places, asking them whether they had been victims of “wage theft,” in which managers make them work off the clock or even siphon off some of their tips.

Seventy-five percent of those interviewed said they had been stiffed on their wages at least once in the past year, and 33 percent said the theft happened often. Fifteen percent said it happened regularly. Wage theft can also include charging an employee when a patron skips out on a check and not paying overtime when an employee works more than eight hours. The interviews were for a “pilot study” and did not amount to a scientific sample.

The California Restaurant Association was not happy and cited “politically motivated language” in CPI’s report.