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The Poway Unified school board could ask a court to force its former superintendent John Collins to pay the district back up to $345,000.

The board fired Collins Sunday for the unauthorized pay, for filing litigation without the board’s approval and for interfering with the district’s investigation into his financial dealings, according to documents obtained by Voice of San Diego and an audit released by the district Monday.

“Some descriptions in the documents make it sound as if certain district accounts became a sort of personal piggy bank for Collins – whose compensation made him the second-highest paid K-12 public school educator in the state,” writes VOSD’s Ashly McGlone.

McGlone details the board’s dismissal charges, which include cashing out at least $148,400 worth of vacation days, receiving more than $144,000 in longevity pay, abusing a revolving cash fund that’s supposed to be restricted to small purchases and emergency payments, and seeking restraining orders against families that criticized Collins without board permission.

Collins’ attorney denied the allegations against the former superintendent, vowing to fight the charges.

City Moves to Require Runoffs

The biggest change to politics in the city of San Diego since it switched to a strong-mayor form of government a decade ago will likely be on the ballot after the City Council voted on straight party lines 5-4 to advance an initiative that would require all elections go to a runoff.

As it stands, if you win more than 50 percent of the vote in a primary election for mayor, city attorney or a City Council district, you win the seat outright. Three City Council elections were settled this way last month, as was the mayor’s race. The change would mean no matter how they performed in the primary, the top two finishers would move on to a general election runoff.

Still unclear is when, exactly, the change would take effect if voters approve it. It was one of many, many charter changes debated by the City Council Monday for inclusion on the ballot.

The Council also unanimously agreed to put a measure on the ballot that would distribute money collected from the city’s property around Mission Bay to regional parks. They also added to the ballot: a tax on marijuana if it is legalized for adult use, a bond to build fire stations and more.

“So that was interesting,” tweeted Councilman Chris Cate after the long meeting. He wasn’t impressed with the argument to require runoffs.

One measure didn’t make it. The Council declined to push forward an initiative that would have required disclosure of city business done on private devices of city employees. Councilman David Alvarez called concerns about city labor policy his colleagues brought up a “devious ploy” to keep the measure off the ballot.

SDPD Releases Suspect in Homeless Attacks

The San Diego Police Department released the man they arrested last week in connection with a series of attacks on San Diego’s homeless population, reports NBC7.

Police Capt. Dave Nisleit said Monday that they came across new evidence that contradicted investigators’ theory that Anthony A. Padgett was behind the violent attacks.

Investigators initially thought they could arrest Padget because he closely resembled a surveillance image of the killer and had previously been convicted for lighting someone on fire in 2010, said Nisleit.

Another victim of the attacks died Sunday in the hospital, bringing the number of homeless killed to three. A fourth person was seriously injured.

Quick News Hits

San Diego Unified and Grossmont Union school districts are suing Julian Union school district and two of its charter schools, alleging that it’s operating within their boundaries and receiving a disproportionate amount of scarce state resources for their small student. (Union-Tribune)

San Diego Blood Bank officials said they are in short supply of all types of blood, having only one day’s supply of some types when they should have more than a week’s worth stored. (City News Service)

In the past 18 months, San Diego County’s congressional members and their staff took 31 trips to places from Las Vegas to Israel. These trips were paid for by private entities, such as charities, think tanks and trade associations. (inewsource)

On Wednesday, the California Coastal Commission will vote on the $1.7 billion Mid-Coast Corridor, a trolley extension from Old Town to University City. The project would begin construction this fall if approved. (KPBS)

The Coastal Commission must defend itself in court against four lawsuits alleging improper, secret communications with projects needing permits from the agency, including a radioactive waste storage facility at the San Onofre nuclear power plant. (L.A. Times)

Tronc, the new name of the Tribune Publishing Co., which owns San Diego Union-Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, has puzzled local marketing experts. “Tronc doesn’t sound like a leader unless you’re into war games in a galaxy far, far away,” said Sheila Fox, of Fox Marketing Network. (Times of San Diego)

Correction: An earlier version of this post said the Mid-Coast Corridor was a $1.7 million project. It will cost $1.7 billion.

Maya Srikrishnan

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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