Hello District 5 Neighbors!

We have had a busy month at City Hall. 

The vaccine continues to roll out for more San Diegans as we open more mass vaccination sites all throughout the City. San Diego’s Vaccine Super Stations have been extremely effective in getting shots in the arms of San Diegans and I continue to be so proud of the work that our first responders are doing. I look forward to continuing to work on strengthening our regional partnerships with the county, state, and federal governments to get shots in the arms of San Diegans as quickly as possible. I want to thank all our partners, healthcare workers, and first responders who have done a fantastic job getting these programs up and running. 

While I am proud of the work that has been done so far, I want to acknowledge the frustration from residents who want to get the vaccine now. I hear you- and my hope is that the vaccine supply continues to increase to keep up with the pace that the County of San Diego and State of California have set, so that we can get everyone vaccinated as soon as possible.

This month I had the pleasure to virtually attend the Carmel Mountain Ranch Planning Group, Rancho Bernardo Planning Group, and Miramar Ranch North Planning Committee meetings to provide an update from City Hall and hear feedback from community members. I look forward to continuing to attend community meetings, especially with many new projects, like Pure Water, coming to our neighborhoods.

We kicked off Black History Month with the news that U.S. voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her activism to expand voting access! I also participated in the San Diego Black Employees Association Black History Month Recognition Ceremony and I was able to highlight the contributions of two now-retired San Diego Judges- Joe and Ernestine Littlejohn. Both overcame segregation and discrimination to be among the first Black legal professionals in San Diego and eventually became Judges in the administrative law, criminal law, criminal justice, and juvenile court systems. While a lot has changed since the experience the Littlejohn’s had, we still have a long way to go to achieve true equity in our communities.

We also celebrated the Lunar New Year with special treats from my sixth grade teacher, Judy Ki, and grabbing lunch to-go from one of our office’s favorite local restaurants, Hong Kong Restaurant! Everyone here in our District 5 office wishes you a happy and healthy new year. 

This month’s newsletter is dedicated to Patrol Officer David Sisto, who passed away on duty on February 2, 2021. Officer Sisto had been with the San Diego Police Department for more than 10 years, recently working out of Northeastern Division in District 5. Our city is forever grateful for Officer Sisto's dedicated service and my thoughts are with Officer Sisto's family.




Councilmember Marni von Wilpert     



COVID-19 Update

Councilmember von Wilpert to Co-Chair New Special Issues Council Committee on COVID-19 Response and Recovery

Last week the San Diego City Council unanimously approved the creation of the Special Issues Council Committee on COVID-19 Response and Recovery. As our city continues to grapple with the health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am determined to do everything within my power to make sure that we get through this crisis together as a city. In partnership with the County and the Mayor, this new committee will focus our efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and to help residents and small businesses recover now and in the future.

This committee will:

  • Focus and streamline the City’s short-term and long-term response and recovery  plans, 
  • Monitor and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of regulations enacted already, 
  • Provide a forum for the council to receive input from the community on our response,
  • Provide oversight and make recommendations on the distribution of state and federal COVID-19 relief funding and programs so we direct emergency aid to struggling small businesses, not just big corporations,
  • Ensure we are spending taxpayer money responsibly, and, 
  • Address equity and disparities in our communities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Business Loans Issued By City’s Economic Development Department 

The City’s Economic Development Department will be issuing business loans ranging from $25,000 to $95,000 to businesses as part of the CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The non-forgivable, term loans are intended to help entrepreneurs adapt their business models to operating under pandemic restrictions while retaining or creating jobs. Businesses can check for eligibility here.

U.S. Small Business Administration Opens Payment Protection Program for Extended 14-Day Period

The Federal Small Business Administration opened an exclusive 14-day loan application period for businesses and non-profits with fewer than 20 employees. Find additional information here.

City of San Diego Receives More State Funding for Rent Relief

The City of San Diego is receiving $45.5 million from the State of California for COVID-19 rent relief. This adds to the previously announced $42.3 million from the federal government. Both tenants, and landlords applying on behalf on tenants, needing rent relief funds should apply here.

San Diego County Vaccination Progress

Click here for a full breakdown of San Diego’s vaccination progression.

When Can I get My Vaccine?

On Saturday, February 27th, the County opened up the next vaccination tier which includes teachers, food and agricultural workers, emergency operations workers, and fire and law enforcement. Residents in these categories, in addition to the pervious tiers that included healthcare workers, all others in Phase 1A, and individuals 65 and older, are eligible to sign-up for an appointment at a County vaccination site. 

Click here to sign-up for an appointment.

Click here for a more comprehensive breakdown of when you can receive a vaccine. 

You can also sign up for California’s test website MyTurn to find out if it’s your turn to get vaccinated and schedule vaccination appointments. 

COVID-19 Vaccination Volunteers Needed

Medical and non-medical volunteers are needed! Register to volunteer at the Vaccination Super Station near Petco Park here

Related COVID-19 News

Governor Gavin Newsom signed new COVID-19 stimulus legislation that will extend renter protections, send stimulus checks to low-income Californians, and boost small business relief funds. Included is: 

  • $600 stimulus checks
  • $2 billion in grants to restaurants, hair salons & more
  • $24 million in aid to agricultural workers
  • $35 million for food banks and diapers
  • $100 million in financial aid for community college students


Committees and Boards

Special Issues Council Committee on COVID-19 Response and Recovery 

The first meeting for the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Committee will take place on March 15th, 2021 at 9:00am. I stopped by KUSI News to discuss the creation of the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Committee and some of our immediate priorities. You can watch that interview here.

Committee on Active Transportation and Infrastructure

At the Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting, members unanimously approved the ATI Committee Work Plan for Calendar Year 2021. Included in the work plan is:

  • Implementation of the Vision Zero Strategic Plan to prevent pedestrian and bike accidents
  • Review of the Sidewalk and Streets Programs
  • Incorporating green infrastructure projects
  • Expand the existing network of EV charging stations
  • Review and ensure equitable infrastructure investments
You can read the full work plan here.

Committee on Environment

The committee heard a presentation by American Public Power Association and California Municipal Utility Association to discuss the idea of municipalizing the City’s gas and electric utility systems. Most notably, we heard that municipalization does not necessarily mean the City creates a new utility department, like we do with water, but there is a public power model that has an external governing board. We also received an update on the Pure Water project and approved the Committee’s 2021 work plan. You can read the full work plan here.

Committee on Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods

The City’s current Emergency Ambulance Service, 9-1-1- Response, Advanced Life Support Transport, and Standby Service contract expires on June 30, 2022, or six (6) months from the effective date of an Ordinance or Resolution approving a contract to another EMS provider. The City issued a Request for Proposal, and Falck Mobile Health Corp. (“Falck”) was selected as the contractor through this procurement process. The PS&LN committee held a hearing to discuss the future of the City’s ambulance services and, I joined my colleagues in asking the City’s Independent Budget Analyst to provide and independent appraisal of Falk’s proposal. I look forward to reading that report when the proposal comes to the full council.


City Hall Update

Council Passes Long-Awaited Short Term Vacation Rental Ordinance

On Tuesday, February 23rd, the San Diego City Council approved Council President Jennifer Campbell’s short term vacation rental (STVR) ordinance with an 8-1 vote. This ordinance will reduce the number of whole home STVR’s in San Diego, provide more homes for San Diegans, and create much needed enforcement that will increase quality of life. The Rancho Bernardo Community Planning Board submitted a letter to the City Council with questions and concerns about STVR’s and I highlighted this letter during the council hearing and debate on the ordinance. The ordinance will return to full City Council in October for updates on the lottery and prioritization related to licensing.

Planning Department Exploring Environmental Justice Element of the General Plan

The City will be working with its communities to update the policies in the City’s General Plan through the development of an Environmental Justice Element. Updating policies and guidelines in the General Plan to work toward Environmental Justice is an important step to achieving equity and supporting all San Diegans to reach their full potential. Fill out the survey here to voice your environmental justice priorities and issues experienced in your neighborhood. The survey closing date is March 31st. 

The City is Updating Landmark Climate Action Plan 

When the City of San Diego released its landmark Climate Action Plan in 2015, it included a commitment to update the plan in 2020. The City is proud to announce that “Our Climate, Our Future” will be an expanded vision for climate action in San Diego. Local efforts will be aligned with national and global goals for creating a more sustainable future for all - elevating equity, renewable energy and economic opportunity. We are striving to reflect the viewpoints, priorities and needs of San Diego’s residents and communities. 


In the Community

February 1st- Repaired Gate in Rancho Bernardo

Rancho Bernardo Chair Robin Kaufman alerted our office to a broken gate at a Rancho Bernardo Storage area. Grounds Maintenance Manager Albert Sais, working closely with the phenomenal staff of Parks and Recreation, sent out the Citywide support services crew to fix the issue. 

Equipment Technician Chuck Warren and one other technician were able to weld a new support bar on the front gate as well as replacing the gate fork latch on the drop rod so the gate can be closed and locked securely. They also removed and replaced about 30 feet of the galvanized chain link fence on the west side of the storage area. All together it took about 3 hours for them to complete these repairs.  

Below are some before and after pictures of the repairs.            


February 5th- San Diego Symphony Embarcadero Venue Tour

Earlier last month I was able to take a tour of the new San Diego Symphony venue on the Embarcadero with Port Commissioner Rafael Castellanos. The Shell will be a place where culture and nature meet to create lasting memories for guests. I have been attending the San Diego Symphony’s Summer Pops every year with family, and I can't wait until it opens!





February 8th- Junior League of San Diego Virtual Day at City Hall  

I was thrilled to participate in the Junior League of San Diego Virtual Day at City Hall! I really enjoyed speaking with them about my run for local office, the issues facing our city, and how to increase civic engagement. 


February 13th- Opening of Torrey Meadows Bridge

It’s Open! I was so excited to celebrate the opening of the Torrey Meadows Bridge over SR-56 which connects the north and south sides of Torrey Highlands. The bridge will allow for access to local businesses, easier visits to the park, and quicker access to local schools. Thank you to Caltrans, San Diego, neighborhood residents, and our community planning groups involved in getting this done!



February 16th- Meeting With UCSD Triton Lobby Corps 

Last week I met with the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Triton Lobby Corps! UCSD Student Lobbyists lead lobbying meetings with elected representatives throughout San Diego County, the State Capitol in Sacramento, and in the federal offices of Washington D.C. I was so impressed during my meeting with them. They shared their ideas to reduce beach pollution, including installing specialized receptacles for monofilament fishing lines at docks and piers to keep waste from entering the ocean. We have incredible students here in San Diego!


February 18th- San Diego’s Gas and Electric Franchise Community Forum

My office hosted a community forum with Mayor Todd Gloria’s staff on the future of the City’s gas and electric franchise agreements. This is an incredibly important opportunity for our City as it prepares for a sustainable and clean energy future. We must make sure residents have a reliable and affordable gas and electricity source while ensuring the community is kept safe from wildfires caused by the power system.

I also look at the franchise agreements as an opportunity for the creation of green jobs with an emphasis on environmental equity, protecting air quality, and reducing pollution. In addition, those needing electricity to operate life-saving machinery must have the ability to do so when wind conditions necessitate power outages. Our responsibility is to adopt a gas and electric system that protects ratepayers, environment and city. 



EPA Confirms Nearly All $300 Million Secured Through 2019 Trade Agreement Will Go Towards Tijuana River Valley

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed roughly all of the $300 million secured under a 2019 trade agreement with Mexico and Canada to address water quality projects along the border will go to San Diego’s South Bay. The public health and environmental crisis in the Tijuana River Valley is in desperate need of these improvement projects. You can read about more about the plan here

San Diego Unified Sets Date To Return To In-person Learning 

San Diego Unified School District plans to re-open schools for all grade levels the week of April 12th if the county gets out of the most-restrictive purple tier, and school staff receive both COVID vaccine doses. Getting kids back to school is imperative for students but also for our economic recovery, especially getting working moms who have given up their careers to stay home with their children back to work. We look forward to providing any help we can to the County and the school districts to help them return to school on these new target dates.

Poway Unified School District plans to reopen middle and high schools for in-person instruction starting next month on March 15th, if the state will sign off on the plan. The decision comes as the district’s safety review process to reopen secondary schools was approved Friday by county public health officials and forwarded to the state for final approval, expected on or before March 9th. It also could move ahead if the county advances into the state’s red reopening tier.

San Diego Workforce Partnership Launches Aging Workforce Program

Mixte Communications is working with San Diego Workforce Partnership to raise awareness of their Aging Workforce program in our shared San Diego community.

The goal? To empower, educate and mobilize older San Diegans (aged 55 and older) with the tools, training and mentorship to reenter the workforce. This is especially important during COVID-19. Thousands of San Diegans now find themselves struggling to keep or find a job, support their families and pay for basic needs like food, medication and medical care. 

San Diego Workforce Partnership launched the Aging Workforce Program in partnership with the Sahm Family Foundation and the California Workforce Development Board to provide older workers with the tools, resources, and clear pathways to high-quality job opportunities.

PBS Selects Local High School Student As a 20 Under 20 Storyteller of the Year

Yeonseo Seok is a senior at Westview High School, in San Diego, California. She loved telling stories to her family and friends when she was young and decided to turn her passion into her career. As a 2020 SRL Academy Fellow, she profiled a local business owner in her hometown trying to safely reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has also helped produce pieces on how a positive psychology class helps teens de-stress,  and the challenges of Zoom band class. Our office honored Yeonseo with a certification of recognition for her achievement.


Household Hazardous Waste Collection

Below is a list of upcoming permitted one-day Household Hazardous Waste collection events. This is a great opportunity to get rid of any hazardous waste sitting around your home to make your family and our communities safer.

1. February 27th, 2021 at Mission Bay South Shores Parking Lot- residents in Rancho Bernardo, depending on zip code, will receive a postcard with event details

2. March 20th, 2021 Balboa Park- corner of Park Blvd and Presidents way, the lower inspirational parking lot

3. April 17th, 2021 at the MOC/PUD parking lot- 5571 Topaz Way. Corner of Topaz way and Kearny Villa Rd.

4. April 24th, 2021 at Chollas Operations Yard- corner of College Grove and Caminito Chollas

2021 9th Circuit Civics Contest 

The 2021 9th Circuit Civics Contest application process is now open. High school students in the Western US and Pacific Islands have an opportunity to win cash prizes while learning about the role of the federal judiciary in American democracy! Click here to apply.


Reminder: Californian’s Urged to Review Current Insurance Policies

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is alerting Californians to review their current insurance policies in order to protect themselves and their assets. Commissioner Lara also issued a formal Notice to insurance companies reminding them of their duty to cover damage from any future mudslide or similar disaster that is caused by recent wildfires that weakened hillsides. Please also consider sharing this ‘Consumer Alert’ within your networks to inform consumers and policyholders, especially those living in recent wildfire burn areas throughout the state. I am also raising these concerns to our partners in the California State Legislature, the help make sure state representatives know of our concerns.


Staying Up to Date

To stay up to date with real-time news and updates, make sure you follow me on my social media pages. 

Twitter: @marnivonwilpert

Facebook: @councilmembermarnivonwilpert 

Instagram: @marnivonwilpert

Find contact information for District 5 staff here. 

                                                    Unsubscribe to Email News Letter