A fight over whether San Diego Unified School District is allowed to use voter-approved bond money to build stadium lights on football fields is still slogging through the courts, years after the issue was raised. The original 2011 lawsuit complained the district was using Proposition S bond money to fund the lighting projects despite those projects not being specifically listed on the ballot measure voters approved. The courts agreed and made it clear the district can’t use the Prop S money for those lighting projects.
“What’s still in dispute is whether the millions already spent on field lights at Hoover, Clairemont, Madison, Morse and University City high schools must be repaid,” Ashly McGlone reports. That could be a big deal and require sacrifices elsewhere in a strained budget.
Regardless of whether the district ultimately has to repay the money, McGlone reports the court case “should pique the interest of schools statewide because it gives more teeth to a law governing school bond measures.”
Stadium Consensus: Don’t Try To Fix It
Everyone involved in trying to figure out a solution for a new Chargers stadium agrees: renovating Qualcomm Stadium is not a good idea. Liam Dillon spoke with insiders working on the deal to figure out why so many folks are repulsed by the current Q. Dillon found a curious fact: Old tubes of soda syrup that were replaced by newer ones are still in the concrete that holds Qualcomm Stadium up. On hot days, it drips through the concrete into sugary puddles.
There’s also this quote from Adam Day: “Why would you spend $700 (million) when you can spend a few hundred million more and get a brand new facility?”
Ha! What’s a few hundred million among friends?
The Truth on County’s Stadium Involvement
Last week, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith raised a few eyebrows when he mentioned that a vote on a plan for a new Chargers stadium would be a county-wide vote. County officials haven’t talked about putting any skin in the stadium game; the only talk has been about the possibility of the county loaning money to the city. “Why should residents outside the city limits get to decide whether residents inside the city limits go into debt to the county?” asked Scott Lewis, as he set out to find real answers to what the county’s involvement is in the stadium planning process.
Speculation of the county’s involvement is mostly “hot air,” Lewis found. But he imagined what a possible role for them might look like. One idea that keeps coming up: in order to pay for big new developments in Mission Valley, the county might agree to give up their share of property tax revenue from new development around a stadium — it’s redevelopment reborn.
• Meanwhile, the Chargers commissioned an economic study of their Carson stadium project which unsurprisingly concluded that building a two-team stadium in that city would basically be the best thing to ever happen to Carson’s economy. (LA Times)
• NBC 7 reported the study’s conclusions are “suspect.”
Mission Valley Rising: San Diego Explained
Development at the site of Qualcomm stadium isn’t the only thing going on in Mission Valley. The far bigger efforts going on in that community are in various stages, from proposal all the way up to current construction. Thousands of apartments and homes are set to nearly double the amount of housing in Mission Valley within the next few years, and that makes a big difference when officials talk about developing on the Qualcomm site. Lewis joined NBC 7’s Catherine Garcia to give you a tour of the soon-to-be Mission Valley neighborhood in our most recent San Diego Explained.
Learning Curve: Stop That Slide!
In the most recent installment of our series The Learning Curve, Koran tackled a question near to the hearts of many parents who are approaching summer vacation: Isn’t a long summer vacation actually terrible for students’ learning progress? “Research supports the idea that students backpedal a bit during the months they’re not in school,” Koran wrote, referring to what many in education call the “summer slide.”
“Many students lose about two months of grade-level math skills over the summer,” he wrote. San Diego Unified is considering a bunch of options to combat the summer slide. More summer programs could help solve the problem, but the district is also considering the student-dreaded year-long school schedule.
Watery Sins Of The Father
Governor Jerry Brown’s mandate that everyone in California (except those in agriculture) cut way back on water usage is starting to sink in. NBC 7 designed a quiz to test your knowledge on what the new restrictions mean, and noted that the new water restrictions put military cemeteries between a rock and a hard place.
The Washington Post noted how the water crisis Brown is now facing has direct links to policies implemented by a former California governor: Pat Brown, Jerry Brown’s father.
How Prop 47 Has Played
The governing body SANDAG has released a report on the local impacts Proposition 47 have had on criminal case load and jail population. The statewide measure had aimed to reclassify some felony offenses as misdemeanors to help ease pressure on overcrowded prisons. People in jail for crimes eligible under the law could ask to have their sentence reviewed for reduction or possible release.
“Nearly 4,000 cases have been reviewed as of March 26,” NBC 7 reported. “48 percent were eligible for reclassification.” Accordingly, the intended impact on prison population seems to be happening. NBC reported the local prison population has dropped from 5,782 to 4,900 since the measure was passed.
The report did not discuss the unintended consequences of Prop 47, like how the reclassifications have emptied the drug courts, endangering their existence and making it harder for drug offenders to get the treatment those courts enforce. (KPCC)
• Old broken down cars in San Diego may not be worth much to their owners, but they can still fetch a fair price in Guatemala. (KPBS)
• The yearly rush is on this week for private companies to apply for special H1B visas so they can bring in foreign workers for math, science and technology jobs. (KPBS)
• Former City Councilor Carl DeMaio can now be referred to with a new title: radio talk-show host for local AM station KOGO. (NBC 7)
• Many are hoping Wednesday’s goodbye to the cold-weather homeless tent will be the last goodbye now that San Diego is funding a permanent, year-round homeless shelter. (KPBS)
• San Diego’s Loma Portal Elementary School is learning that if it makes teachers deny children access to the restrooms during class, children will just eliminate in the classroom. (Fox 5)
Look Up And Wave
The International Space Station, in low-earth orbit since 1998, often passes over the skies of San Diego, but not usually for so long. The space station will be visible from San Diego for a solid 5 minutes on Friday starting at 8:20 PM, according to NASA. Reddit is talking about how best to spot it, including this guide. “When it passes directly overhead, the ISS is the brightest object in the sky after the moon and sun,” user criminy_jicket posted.
Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.