The San Diego Unified school board approved $20 million in bond money this week so Innovations Academy, a charter school in Scripps Ranch can build a new school.
In doing so, VOSD’s Mario Koran explains, the district is replacing the existing charter school site with apartments and depleting a pot of money that’s specially allocated for charter schools to construct ones.
For the district, it’s a business decision. By leasing the property to a private developer, it stands to make $400,000 annually for the next 66 years. The district has four other properties where it would like to make similar deals. And it’s not tapping into its general budget to help Innovations build its new school – it’s coming out of a $350 million share of bond money that’s specially allocated for charter schools.
But for some Scripps Ranch residents uncomfortable with the new housing, the decision doesn’t make sense. Why would the district push out a rent-paying charter school just to spend $20 million to build a new building for it?
VOSD Podcast: The Case Against the Convadium Tax
City Councilman Chris Cate joined VOSD’s Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts on this week’s podcast to talk about why he’s opposed to the Charger’s initiative, which would levy an increase in San Diego’s hotel tax to help pay for a stadium/convention center mashup.
Cate said he’s concerned that voters will be deciding on a $2 billion proposal without knowing the details behind the cost of the project’s construction, its financing or having detailed plans. He also said the city has too many other priorities to justify subsidizing a stadium for the Chargers.
Lewis and Keatts also talked to Cate about a ballot measure that would require November runoffs for all candidate elections — a major change to the way things work now.
They discussed the tension between the state and cities across California over housing development and previewed VOSD’s Politifest happening on Sept. 24 at San Diego State University.
Sacramento Report: Encinitas is Ground Zero for State Housing Debates
Several local slow-growth ballot initiatives will come before voters across California in November. Measures in Del Mar, Santa Monica and other cities would give residents the power to approve large development projects and changes in zoning, height limits and major planning documents, similar to a measure that passed in Encinitas in 2013.
As the governor’s housing plan and several housing-related bills move forward in the Legislature, these measures may be setting up a state versus city showdown when it comes to housing.
Several state bills are in the works to make it easier for homeowners to build “granny flats” – small units that share a property with a primary house. These spaces could provide additional homes for low-income residents. A similar granny-flat experiment in Encinitas didn’t go well.
This week’s Sacramento Report also explains some San Diegans’ opposition to state gun control measures and gives an overview of all the bills from San Diego legislators that were signed into law late last week.
Search for Suspects in Police Shooting
San Diego police officers arrested Jesse Michael Gomez, 52, related to the shooting of two officers Thursday night in Southcrest.
The officers had stopped a person in Southcrest for reasons that are still unclear a little before 11 p.m. Thursday. They very soon called for emergency cover. When nearby officers arrived to help, they found the two officers had been shot.
The two officers, Jonathan DeGuzman and Wade Irwin were part of the gang-suppression unit. The shooting claimed the life of DeGuzman. Irwin was shot in the chest and injured. He underwent surgery and is expected to recover.
“‘Getting worse?’ Not in San Diego where a combination of community policing, better training and protection and other factors have kept officers safer. Guns have killed 16 of the 19 officers who died on the job since 1970, but there were five gun deaths in the ’70s, seven in the ’80s, one in the ’90s and just three since then.”
Quick News Hits:
• Some hopeful locals have been calling San Diego the next Silicon Valley, but it actually has very few companies valued at $1 billion or more (the Bay area has more than 50). And San Diego just lost one of these billion dollar companies. (KPBS)
• A new study by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce finds that while the city of San Diego is building more homes, there is more job growth in North County, flipping the traditional work in cities, living in suburbs scenario. (Union-Tribune)
• Safety First Arms, a San Diego-based company, is trying to find a niche in the handgun market with a smart gun that’s not too smart. (Forbes)
• San Diego County’s wages are on average 12 percent higher than the rest of the country and have been growing at a slightly higher rate. But the growth has been uneven with the pay raises concentrated in certain, high-skilled sectors, while lower-income workers’ pay remains flat. (Union-Tribune)
This Week’s Top Stories
Here are the Top 10 stories we published this week. Below are the top five:
1. The Kindergarten Shock
Like with anything in education, equipping more children to enter kindergarten prepared won’t be easy. We could extend transitional kindergarten to all students. We could expand slots for universal preschool and vouchers for good preschools. We could massage the standards. But whatever we do, new parents need to know right away that they must set their kids’ educations in motion from the beginning. (Scott Lewis)
2. The Locals Are Getting Restless With State Housing Laws
In response to state laws, cities are pursuing contradictory local initiatives that put them “between the devil and the deep blue sea.” (Maya Srikrishnan)
3. Unusual County Office of Ed Giveaway Sparked Internal Probe
County Office of Education employees who came to a gathering to air workplace grievances were given vouchers to buy books and school supplies. The catch: They were urged to leave the meeting to spend them. The giveaway – which cost $25,000 – raised concerns internally that it could be seen as an illegal gift of public funds. (Ashly McGlone)
4. Horton Plaza’s Parking Problem Is a Showstopper for the Lyceum Theatre
Patrons of the Lyceum Theatre used to enjoy free parking at Horton Plaza; now they must pay $24. That’s a problem, since the Lyceum is meant to be a public theater, accessible to a diverse range of audiences and users. Horton Plaza says it’s working with the theater to find a cost-effective parking solution. (Kinsee Morlan)
5. Sacramento Report: The San Diego Split Over Prop. 57
A sickly showing from California at the RNC, San Diego adopts a plastic bag ban as statewide confusion swirls, a San Diegan is leading the charge to overturn new gun-control measures and more in our weekly digest of news from the Capitol. (Sara Libby and Kelly Davis)