The Morning Report
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A name change to Memorial Prep didn’t help a struggling middle school in the Logan Heights neighborhood get on track. Now, the school district is planning to tear the whole campus down — and then build two schools on the site for a cool $100 million.
VOSD’s Mario Koran has the details: “District officials believe the new school, which they hope will open by fall 2019, will give parents the option of sending their kids to a high-quality middle school without busing them to more affluent neighborhoods. It’s part of a broader, district-wide effort called Vision 2020 that aims to create a quality school in every neighborhood.”
Other changes are in store thanks to a ripple effect, including the closure of a K-8 school and the relocation of a charter school on the campus. In the big picture, the move means that the district has had enough of efforts to rebrand the southeastern San Diego campus, which parents try to avoid more than any other San Diego Unified school.
Trustee Richard Barrera assured Koran the big, expensive effort wouldn’t turn out like the last time the district dropped $100 million to rebuild a struggling southeastern school: It won’t be another Lincoln High, he said.
Water Rates to Jump, Council Decides
The City Council approved a five-year, 40 percent increase to the price of city drinking water Tuesday. About 20,500 customers filed a formal protest against the increases, far short of the 144,000 protests needed to block the hike.
Councilman David Alvarez and Councilman Scott Sherman voted against it.
Alvarez said he believed the city’s Public Utilities Department has failed to consider all options for adjusting rates and just increased everybody’s rates at the expense of people who are trying to use as little water as possible. Alvarez wanted to find some way to soften the blow to customers who use the least water – people who don’t have big yards and who, presumably, have lower incomes.
Councilman Chris Cate successfully reduced the five-year rate hike by 1 percent over the next two years.
Lobbying groups said the rates would fund important infrastructure and that not raising the rates would be irresponsible. The opposition seemed to come from ratepayer advocacy groups and working class people, including some customers who said they had already struggled to pay their bills and at times had been forced to live without running water.
The Council also approved a recycled water rate that many in the South Bay believed unfairly overcharged them in order to subsidize wealthier communities in the northern part of the city and county. That separate vote was also 7-2, with Alvarez and Councilman Mark Kersey voting against it.
– Ry Rivard
• KPBS has a new Drought Tracker online thingamajig.
Zombie Lawsuit Gets Squelched at Last
A never-ending lawsuit against the city has finally been settled after almost 30 years, and everything seems to be over, sort of. The case, revolving around claims by a developer (and current presidential candidate) named Roque de la Fuente II, is ending with “with $25 million going to de la Fuente’s business park and $8.2 million to the city,” the U-T reports. Also, no more lawsuits are allowed — for five years. Earlier this year, VOSD’s Ashly McGlone recounted the twists and turns the case has taken over the years.
Culture Report: Place in Sun for National City
Two recent attempts at a trendy concept called “creative placemaking” in Barrio Logan and Logan Heights didn’t work out so well. The concept basically entails artists and community members coming together to spruce up a community space. An arts advocate who wants to do creative placemaking in National City thinks he knows why the earlier attempts failed: One ignored the government, and one ignored the residents.
Now, VOSD’s weekly Culture Report says, that advocate is leading a new effort aims to bring an impressive 30 public art pieces to the city over the next few years.
Also in the Culture Report: Gentrification’s discontents. I Am Curious (Yellow), downtown edition. A tuna mural that’s been chomped by history. And much more.
Quick News Hits: Slush City
• On Dec. 15, a federal judge will consider a bid by local media outlets, including VOSD, to allow the public to see security-cam video of a controversial police officer’s shooting of a man in the Midway area.
• Any NFL team that moves to L.A. may have to pay a “relocation fee” of $500 million-$600 million. (SportsBusiness Journal)
• The San Diego Zoo gave its pandas (yes, pandas) a treat the other day: 16 tons of artificial snow. The idea, the zoo says, is to keep the pandas ”stimulated and active” and let them “show their natural behaviors.”
Huh. Is there a way to do the opposite for humans? My family’s Thanksgiving get-together is coming.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.