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Opinion

Yes, CEQA Reform Is Possible

If we care about our open space, wildlife, water quality or air, we should be making the California Environmental Quality Act stronger, not weaker.

Jerry Sanders: The Voice of Big Business

It wasn’t that long ago that the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce had a very meek voice in local politics. It was timid. It was unfocused. It was irregular. Now, it is none of those things.

Nicole Tempel Assisi: The Voice for Charter Schools

It was never Nicole Tempel Assisi’s goal to pick a fight with San Diego Unified. But if the district wanted to tussle, Assisi wasn’t about to back down, either. Assisi wanted to open a charter school where she could put into practice what she’d picked up working at High Tech High in its early years, and serving as a founding principal at three Los Angeles charter schools. San Diego Unified staff vetted and greenlighted the school’s charter petition, but in January, school board members bucked their own staff’s recommendation and shot down Assisi’s school. Assisi appealed to the county, then the state, eventually getting approval from the state Board of Education.

Todd Gloria: The Voice for a Progressive San Diego

He laid out his agenda as one of his last acts as acting mayor. And for the next 12 months, Councilman Todd Gloria’s to-do list not only set the political debate, it shaped what post-Filner discourse will look like in San Diego. It wasn’t just “neighborhoods first,” but a progressive vision for San Diego organized around a few major issues. Two major elements of Gloria’s platform — raising the minimum wage and passing an aggressive plan to cut the city’s greenhouse gas emissions — comprised San Diego’s biggest policy discussions. He made the fight against income inequality the top issue for local progressives.

Ian Campbell: The Voice of Our Vulnerable Arts Scene

For a little while this year, Ian Campbell was the city’s greatest cultural villain. We first learned from the San Diego Opera’s artistic and general director in March that his company might fold thanks to “an insurmountable financial hurdle,” and the public soon began to side-eye Campbell for mismanagement. He and his ex-wife’s “generous” contracts came under scrutiny – it struck observers as odd that the captains were rolling in cash as the ship went down, so to speak. Their salaries were later deemed appropriate according to industry standards. Campbell and the board were criticized for the rolling out lavish productions even as financial problems became apparent.

Lorena Gonzalez: The Voice of Workers and Women (and Working Women)

Toni Atkins might have the power, but after this year, Lorena Gonzalez has the profile. Perhaps no one in Sacramento made more waves in 2014 than Gonzalez, who aggressively pushed bills aimed at boosting workers and women. She’s carried “more controversial measures in a relatively short tenure than some lawmakers attempt in their entire careers,” as the U-T put it earlier this year. Her success seemed to surprise even Gonzalez herself. When her bill to create a diaper assistance program drew national attention, she told the Sacramento Bee, “To be quite frank, I am delighted but a little surprised that we’ve gotten it this far.”

She speaks out about issues on her agenda forcefully and often – but one of the most fascinating things about Gonzalez’s rise this year was the way in which she harnessed unconventional means to make a point.

Ed Harris and Marco Gonzalez: The Voices of the Density Debate

San Diego’s spent a lot of time talking about how it needs to change the way it grows. We can’t keep sprawling, it’s time to start putting homes and businesses in already developed areas with increased density. And while it’s passed plans codifying those ideas as city policy, there’s still been a tension in the city — and even within the progressive community that often agitates for the change — between creating the environmentally friendly and affordable city the concept imagines, and an anti-development sentiment from those who like things the way they are. Never was that tension put more into focus than in two moments this year, thanks to two loyal members of San Diego’s liberal establishment. Councilman Ed Harris, a former lifeguard leader appointed to fill Kevin Faulconer’s seat on the Council, reacted swiftly and harshly to a city proposal to increase density in Bay Park.

Jane Doe: A Voice for Victims

At the beginning of the year, it looked like the San Diego Police Department had weathered its storm of officer misconduct problems. One big case, though, hadn’t gone away. Jane Doe, as she was known in court papers, was the final victim of former SDPD officer Anthony Arevalos. In 2011, Arevalos was convicted of soliciting sexual bribes from Doe and four other women. Doe was suing the city. Her allegations went beyond one rogue cop.

The Murrieta Protesters: The Voice of Nativists

Small protests are often invisible. If you pen protesters into a “free-speech zone” they become part of the landscape of an event. Countless protests never even make the news. Other times, a small protest can catalyze a large discussion. That’s what happened when a group of people in Murrieta blocked a bus full of Central American youth who had made their way to the United States.

The Unpopular Consequences of Raising the Minimum Wage

Jeffrey Clemens, an economics assistant professor at UCSD, was on the show this week to talk through the impacts he saw in other states that raised the minimum wage. Plus, Geoff Page from Padres Public weighs in on the stellar new players joining the Padres.

Morning Report: Soitec, Kaput?

Conflicting pictures emerge of San Diego's economy, we talked with the head of the citizen's review board, separating real CEQA complaints from the project-killers and what we learned this week.

Don’t Hold Your Breath on CEQA Reform

On the one side, you've got environmentalists opposed to any changes in the California Environmental Quality Act that would gut the law. On the other side, you've got infighting among all the interest groups pushing for reform.

Students Are Bailing on Castle Park High

Students are fleeing the South Bay school in droves. Experts say the school-choice program that kick-started the exodus helps disenfranchised communities, but it also provokes a chicken-egg dilemma: How can suffering schools improve if students keep jumping ship?

CEQA Can Be a Convenient Weapon

The California Environmental Quality Act has become a tool for groups to delay or kill a project – even if their beef doesn't have anything to do with the environment.