We wanted to know what groups the candidates for city attorney had previously been aligned with, so we asked them to give up their list of past clients.
All of them complied, except for Rafael Castellanos.
It’s no secret, though, that Castellanos has worked for business and land developers since he arrived in San Diego. He thinks his considerable experience with land use is one reason he’s the right guy to run the city’s legal team, which has to deal with those issues constantly.
In an effort to gather all he could on the candidates and their clients, Andrew Keatts reports on how Castellanos’ link to one developer has meant having to recuse himself from a bunch of votes in his role at the Port Commission. “It was because of one company: Sunroad Enterprises,” Keatts writes. “Either he or someone else at his firm represents Sunroad.” Since he won’t produce his client list, we can’t be sure.
Sunroad is a big local player, and Castellanos told Keatts if he’s elected he would decide when to recuse himself.
Also vying for the city attorney seat is Deputy District Attorney Robert Hickey, who prefers to focus on his history in criminal prosecution. But he hasn’t always been at the DA’s office. Hickey has not had many private clients but he did a stretch with the developer and hotel owner JMI Realty 15 years ago.
JMI is now behind a November ballot initiative — the Citizens Plan — that the city attorney says is illegal. If that opinion is at all valid, and voters approve the measure, Hickey may soon face off with his former client in one of the biggest land-use and tax questions the city has had. While the city’s conflict of interest codes don’t cover past legal clients, the State Bar of California does. If Hickey was forced to recuse himself, “the entire city attorney’s office could be disqualified, and the city forced to hire outside counsel at taxpayer expense,” Keatts writes.
• Twitter was abuzz last night about a new mailer that went to Democrats from the Lincoln Club. While it promotes Hickey, it appears to be an effort to highlight Castellanos to the voters as a choice they should consider.
• Thursday was Round 3 in the battle over who hates subsidizing football teams more in the San Diego District 1 City Council race. KPBS tried to hash it out after Ray Ellis released a statement explaining his reasoning for attacking Bry for her support of the Citizens Plan. The KPBS story provoked an interesting exchange between the writer and conservative consultant Ryan Clumpner.
More mailers tying Bry to the stadium are hitting La Jolla and Carmel Valley mailboxes.
The Learning Curve: Graduation Rates Miracle
San Diego Unified School District’s class of 2016 will graduate around 92 percent of its students, the district said this week. “An all time high,” Mario Koran reports. Rewind to October 2014, and the district’s own data showed only 59 percent of the class of 2016 was on track under new, tougher requirements. A UC San Diego researcher suggested a miracle would need to happen to get it to 90 percent by now.
So what happened? Mario Koran got the district’s explanation.
Part of the turn-around was helping multi-lingual students “test out” of the requirement to take language classes. But another part was allowing kids to take online classes to catch-up when they fell behind on classes. “This year, San Diego Unified students completed 2,634 remedial courses online,” Koran writes.
• inewsource reports how San Diego Unified was the target of a sexual assault investigation in 2014, but never informed any parents about the investigation or its result.
SANDAG Tax Hike: San Diego Explained
Friday is show-and-tell day for a ballot measure being proposed by the regional transportation planning agency SANDAG, which will ask voters to increase sales taxes in order to get more infrastructure. Funding for highways, trolleys, bikes and pedestrians are all imagined by this measure, and you can probably find someone who hates any given part of it. Maya Srikrishnan and NBC 7’s Monica Dean broke down what the deal is with SANDAG’s proposal in our most recent San Diego Explained.
Assemblywoman Gonzalez: Yes on Prop I
Writing in support of Proposition I, a local minimum wage increase that will be on the June ballot, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez calls attention to the part of the measure that would require employers to provide five paid sick days off per year for every employee. “In a recent study, more than 90 percent of single women said paid sick leave was the most important policy that their employer could adopt to improve their lives,” Gonzalez writes. She argues increased wages and access to paid sick days will have a big impact on women, specifically. “Women make up nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers in the U.S.,” she writes.
San Diego Canines Too Bitey
San Diegans may need to think more deeply about how we train our dogs after the Postal Service found our city is tied for second in most dog attacks on mail carriers, the Union-Tribune reports. With 58 dog attacks on mail carriers in 2015, we’re tied with Cleveland, trailing only Houston where 77 attacks were reported. The USPS is trying to promote safety with new requirements for residents who want package pick-up services. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the USPS fired a San Diego mailman for publicizing his experiences with dog attacks on the job in 2011.
• New pedestrian lanes are coming to ease the crossing at the U.S./Mexico border for those on foot. (Union-Tribune)
• The U-T is moving out of its building in Mission Valley after decades of reporting from there. Opinion Editor Matthew T. Hall wrote a good Facebook post about the memories he’s taking. The employees are moving downtown.
• The amount of energy Californians are using that is generated by burning coal has fallen off a cliff recently, the LA Times reports. “California saw a 96 percent decrease in coal-fueled electric power consumption,” they write.
• Navy SEALs train here in San Diego, and they are recently dying here during that training as well. (Washington Post)
• Drone submarines have arrived and are in the waters of San Diego. (NBC 7)
• Every now and then a dolphin saves the life of a human. Every now and then, humans return the favor. (Union-Tribune)
• Vaping Congressman Duncan Hunter was an early endorser of Donald Trump, but while visiting Capitol Hill, Trump refused to meet with Hunter. Maybe switch to menthols? (Politico)
Collect Your Baggage In The Center Ring
You’ve been on an airplane for hours and you arrive in San Diego at 8 p.m., eager to collect your bags and get home. As you descend the escalator, you may now wonder if you’ll find yourself greeted at the baggage claim by clowns, jugglers, unicyclers and other circus performers with the Fern Street Circus crew. But only if you are lucky enough to catch them while they are in residence at the airport through August. (NBC 7)
Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.