A plan to overhaul the way vehicle traffic flows through Balboa Park and to add a parking garage has a lot of support, but one group pushing the hardest to get the project done are the many institutions inside Balboa Park itself. “The museums believe all elements – clearing the plazas, increasing parking in the park’s core and maintaining the bridge entrance – are vital,” reports Lisa Halverstadt.
The plan envisions removing cars completely from the Plaza de Panama where they currently drive through en route to parking lots. The Museum of Man and the Mingei are among the museums excited to see the end of cars from the park’s central plaza. The Old Globeloves the plan too, Halverstadt writes, mostly for the large parking structure they hope will satisfy visitors. “Lack of parking is the biggest threat to Balboa Park,” said Old Globe’s Managing Director Michael Murphy.
A few of the park’s outdoor organizations, like the Spreckels Organ Society, opposed the plan back in 2012. They sound resigned to the project’s success now, though, believing it will happen regardless of their opinion.
The Learning Curve: Suing Charter Schools
Charter schools face a lot of opposition, and among the latest is a legal fight over where those schools are allowed to open satellite facilities called “resource centers,” where students can study and get help with homework. Mario Koran reports the law says charter schools can open up those facilities in neighboring counties. But school facilities aren’t usually identified by which county they’re in; instead, the question is what school district they are in.
Public school districts in California have zeroed in on that specific difference in the letter of the law and have sued charter schools trying to open facilities within public districts, arguing the law does not specifically allow charters to open facilities in neighboring districts without explicit permission. While charter advocates argue it would be nonsensical to allow facilities in neighboring counties but not neighboring districts, public schools have nevertheless dragged the issue into courts throughout California, with one headed for a court of appeal in August.
If charter schools lose the fight, “San Diegans are likely to see more of the game of whack-a-mole that’s under way — charter schools will open resource centers, and districts will take legal action to stop them,” Koran reports.
• On our most recent episode of Good Schools for All, we’re talking with the Midcity Community Action Network about “restorative justice,” which is an idea spreading through schools with the goal of interrupting the flow of students who wind up in the criminal justice system for misbehavior related to school. Also, we react to a speech given by an elementary school chief to a group of teachers on the topic of school discipline.
Old Central Library: San Diego Explained
The old Central Library has sat vacant since it was trumped by the new Central Library in 2013. Ever since, lots of people have been coming up with ideas for what to do with the old library. It’s no easy question; the old library needs over $80 million in restoration to make it usable again. Kinsee Morlan and NBC 7’s Monica Dean take a trip downtown to discuss progress on the plans in our most recent San Diego Explained.
New HUD Formula Could Mean More Cash for Homeless
Federal housing officials on Thursday opened a public comment period expected to end with changes to an outdated homeless funding formula that’s resulted in less money for San Diego even though we have more homeless on the streets than other cities.
Rep. Scott Peters has spearheaded efforts to rework the formula since a 2013 Voice of San Diego investigation revealed San Diego gets less money from the federal government to combat homelessness than many metros with fewer homeless people.
A Peters spokeswoman said Thursday that HUD Secretary Julian Castro told the congressman he believed each of the four new funding scenarios his department is eyeing would result in more cash for San Diego.
Emerald Blows Whistle on Vote Swap Offer
KPBS reports on how Councilwoman Marti Emerald came forward with accusations on Thursday that Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s chief of staff had offered to secure votes from other Council members for her firehouse bond measure if she would agree to vote against a proposal to change the way elections work in San Diego.
On the day of the vote, Councilwoman Lori Zapf helped push Emerald’s firehouse bond forward with a vote in support. Later in the same meeting, Emerald did go ahead with a vote against the election proposal, but then claimed she had voted by mistake and re-voted in support of the election proposal.
Zapf pulled out from supporting Emerald’s bond measure on Tuesday, saying she now supports a different measure to fund firehouses that she herself will put forward.
If Emerald’s allegation of a vote-swapping offer is true, at the very least an acceptance of such an offer would be illegal under state law.
While the Chargers wait to see if San Diego voters will pass a tax increase to help build a stadium, the team is busy studying how to run a convention center out of that stadium in the event it happens. (Union-Tribune)
Meanwhile, the U-T reports that City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has penned a letter to the California Supreme Court asking it to take an active role in deciding how many votes either the Citizen’s Plan or the Citizen’s Initiative would need to be considered legally passed. Scott Lewis reported last week on Goldsmith’s intention to ask the court to speed up its process for issuing a decision — without the court taking special action, it might not decide the issue until after November. There’s still some confusion around whether citizen-led ballot initiatives that raise taxes require a simple majority or a two-thirds majority to win approval. If it’s only a simple majority required, that changes everything.
• Some local hospitals are beginning to use a rating system for doctors so they show up online with reviews on a five-star scale. inewsource looks into those rating systems and what data is really behind them.
• Smile! If you’re near the beach in Ocean Beach, you’re probably being recorded on video now. (NBC 7)
• New court documents are painting the prosecution’s picture of the relationship between foreign tycoon Jose Susuma Azano Matsura and the politicians he was courting. (Union-Tribune)
• As a referendum to legalize marijuana approaches, some people are already thinking about accelerating the “cannabusiness” in San Diego by identifying startups in the field and getting them funded so they can … grow. (Union-Tribune)
• Check out the reaction from some members of the California delegation to the Republican convention as it headed into its final day. (KPBS)
• Sorry, residents of Buffalo, N.Y. You do not have nicer weather than San Diego, that’s just the internet pulling your chain!