The Morning Report
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Kim Abagat, a counselor at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, has filed a claim against San Diego Unified – a precursor to a lawsuit – saying she was improperly punished for writing a truthful evaluation of school board president Marne Foster’s son. Abagat, who first shared her story with Mario Koran in September, was suspended for nine days after writing the college recommendation letter.
Abagat claims in the court filing that she was subjected to a “sham investigation.” She is seeking more than $10,000.
Dan Gilleon, the attorney representing Abagat, said the case would normally have a six-month statute of limitations. But because Abagat’s nine days of suspension were spread out over the course of a school year, the clock did not start ticking until the last day of her suspension, enabling her to file the suit within the six-month window. It’s also the reason Mitzi Lizarraga, the former principal of SCPA who claims she was removed because of Foster, has not filed a similar claim, Gilleon said.
Abagat also raises the issue of race in her legal claim. Gilleon objected to the way that claim was portrayed by the Union-Tribune. That story suggested Abagat is claiming she was discriminated against because of her race.
“Ms. Abagat is not claiming that the District discriminated against her because she is African American. Instead, her claim of discrimination stems from Marne Foster’s unfair use of the race card by claiming that Ms. Abagat and others were discriminating against her son when they simply told the truth about him,” Gilleon wrote on Google Plus.
How Money for School Repairs Becomes Money for New Schools
Voters have lately approved $4.9 billion worth of school bonds, perhaps without knowing how loosey-goosey the school district could be with their money.
For instance, voters were told Memorial Preparatory Middle School in Logan Heights would be remodeled with bond money. Instead, the campus will be demolished and entirely rebuilt as a combined middle school and high school.
Ashly McGlone examines big holes in the bonds’ language – holes large enough to drive through a truck with a new school on it, apparently.
Lots of money is being spent in a way voters would not have known when they approved two school bond measures since 2008, Propositions S and Z.
We’ve previously reported on other surprises since those bonds passed. The district does not guarantee every project put before voters will get completed. But so far, items that took top billing on San Diego Unified’s ballot initiatives — like asbestos removal and structural repairs — have taken a backseat to new technology and stadiums.
Revisionist History on Community Policing
In 2011, we detailed the ways in which the San Diego Police Department had abandoned community policing, an approach that focuses on crime prevention rather than crime response and that won the department international acclaim in the 1990s. We got pushback on that story from police leaders. For instance, Shelley Zimmerman, who was then in charge of community policing and is now police chief, called the conclusion of our reporting “fundamentally flawed” and “bizarre.”
Now, in a backhanded way, the department is confirming it indeed moved away from community policing.
As former police chief Bill Lansdowne put it in a lengthy Union-Tribune story that appeared over the weekend: “Very clearly, at least to me, was (the need) to keep our beats staffed so we could get to emergency calls within a seven-minute timeline. To do that, we had to move people to patrol, and we couldn’t support the specialized individuals that were dedicated to … community policing.”
As Liam Dillon points out, “That is the exact opposite” of what police leaders claimed was going on just four years ago.
Op-Ed: Rate Hike Defeats the Purpose of Purple Pipe
Mark Robak, a board member of the Otay Water District, laments his agency’s political defeat a few weeks ago before the San Diego City Council in a new op-ed. Otay led an unsuccessful campaign against the city’s rate increase for undrinkable “purple pipe” water. Otay argued the city was unfairly shifting costs from wealthy customers in the northern part of the county to not-so-wealthy customers in South County.
Purple pipe was once held up as a way to reduce the strains on the region’s drinking water supplies because recycled wastewater can be inexpensively used for outdoor irrigation instead of drinking water. But, Robak writes, “the cost to expand the distribution system now outweighs the benefits, thanks to those steep increases by the city of San Diego.”
Dean Spanos: A Front Man Hiding in the Shadows
The Union-Tribune profiles Dean Spanos, owner of the football team that our city is in an on-again-off-again relationship with. The story wonders if Spanos might have a better chance of getting a new stadium for the Chargers if he did anything to endear himself and the team to the community.
“I think it’s a big mistake,” civic leader George Mitrovich told the U-T. “Dean Spanos needs to be the face of the Chargers in this city. Not Mark Fabiani. Not his attorney. For me, that is so clear. It’s confounding to me that it hasn’t been done.”
Because Spanos and the Charges wouldn’t comment for the story, reporter Chris Jenkins has to write about a front man who hides behind the scenes. Still, we learn that Spanos is the son of “hyper-assertive, and domineering” father, is “well-tanned, quiet spoken,” “seems to go into hiding, sometimes in plain sight,” and that he once “smiled, almost laughed,” when he fired one of his employees who tried to get the Chargers to take a bow for the good deeds they do in the community.v
• Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon met with the owner of the St. Louis Rams on Monday, just days ahead of the last scheduled meeting of NFL team owners. The meeting could be the first between Nixon and Rams owner Stan Kroenke related to the team’s effort to move to Los Angeles, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. A major development there could have ramifications for the Changers’ attempted move.
• San Diego County schools are moving to install batteries to avoid high energy charges, KPBS reports. Here’s some background on the back-and-forth between schools and San Diego Gas & Electric over rates.
• Doug Manchester supports Donald Trump. Trump “believes as I do that we need to Make America great again,” the San Diego developer and former newspaper publisher said in a recent email obtained by The Hill. In other notable endorsements, Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican, supports Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in his party’s messy primary field, and Rep. Scott Peters, a Democrat, supports former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (The Hill, L.A. Times)
• There’s been a “300 percent” increase in meth seizures at the border. (NBC San Diego)
• There was above average rainfall in San Diego in November, in case you didn’t notice.