In April, a city spokesman claimed that the installation of jagged rocks under Interstate 5 at Imperial Avenue was a response to complaints from Sherman Heights about homeless people camping under the overpass.

Residents had safety concerns, wrote public works spokesman Bill Harris in an e-mail.

But e-mails obtained by Voice of San Diego contributor Kelly Davis, tell a different story.

Yes, the residents have long expressed their concerns over the nearby encampments. But dozens of e-mails between city staffers about the rock installation don’t mention Sherman Heights once.

What the e-mails show is that the All-Star Game – held at Petco Park this year – drove the city’s $57,000 rock installations. Imperial Avenue leads straight to Petco Park.

“The vision was to make Imperial Avenue a gateway to East Village, not a back alley,” said John Casey, who was the city’s liaison with the Padres until March. “The All-Star Game was a convenient deadline to get the process moving with a completion date.”

City Councilmember David Alvarez, who represents Sherman Heights, demanded that the city apologizes to the community for using them as an excuse for the rock installation after reading Davis’ story.

Alvarez has repeatedly said that he wasn’t aware of the project until he was contacted by the media in late April.

But shortly after Davis’ story posted, she received more e-mails from the city. This batch included a conversation between one of the councilmember’s staff and city engineers in March that mentioned the rock installation, suggesting Alvarez did actually know about the project.

Alvarez said the plan his staffer had received mentioned “decorative rocks” and not the jagged rocks that were installed.

North County Report: Poway Unified Seeks New Superintendent

Poway Unified School District is looking to end Superintendent John Collins’ contract. The district also posted a job listing for an interim superintendent position starting on July 1.

Collins’ contract runs until 2017, but he has been on paid leave since April, after he oversaw a bond deal that left the district with debt ten times larger than what it borrowed and negotiated raises for employees that also boosted his own salary.

Also in this week’s North County Report, the Gregory Canyon landfill project is still slowly making its way through the system, but still needs to do more paperwork and a new TNT crime drama that was filmed and set in Oceanside aired this week.

Proposal Would End Outright Primary Wins in San Diego

A proposal that would do away with outright wins for candidates during primary elections in the city of San Diego could end up on the ballot in November.

If a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in a primary election in the city, they don’t have to move onto the general election in November. This proposal from the Independent Voter Project would amend the city charter so that the top two candidates out of the primary would continue to the general election in November – even if one of them won a majority of the vote in June.

In last week’s primary election, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Councilmen Mark Kersey and Scott Sherman were all re-elected outright. Chris Ward also won outright in a race for an open seat on the council.

On Wednesday, the city council voted to send the proposal to the city attorney’s office for further study, reports City News Service.

We’ve previously reported on how Democrats and labor have been complaining about outright primary victories. A Republican consultant provided a rebuttal.

Quick News Hits

• The California legislature passed the $170.9 billion state budget Wednesday, sending it to the governor’s desk. (Los Angeles Times)

• The family of Ruben Nunez, who died last year while in a San Diego County jail, is suing the county over his death, alleging broad problems within the county’s jail system. (Union-Tribune)

• San Diego police are investigating a Craigslist ad that referred to the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse night club, warning “San Diego you are next.” (Los Angeles Times)

• We’ve reported on how the San Diego Police Department has trouble retaining and recruiting officers. Maybe their dance moves will help solve the problem.

Maya was Voice of San Diego’s Associate Editor of Civic Education. She reported on marginalized communities in San Diego and oversees Voice’s explanatory...

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