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The San Diego Unified School District spends billions on building and repairing campuses, and there’s long been a goal of hiring plenty of local construction workers for the projects. One goal that came with a project labor agreement the district signed in 2009 was for 70 percent of workers hired for big project to live within the district.
How’s that going? Not too well. A report says the district is further behind than it was five years ago. “Even so,” our Ashly McGlone reports, “leaders who put the local hiring goals in place say they are unconcerned with the shortcomings. One called the targets aggressive and singled out the district resident goal as unrealistic.”
Only 38 percent of the workers on major district projects live within the district, which serves much (but not all) of the city of San Diego. Almost all do, however, live in the county,
The district is also behind its goals on hiring workers from poor neighborhoods. That number is 27 percent; while the goal is 35 percent.
Will San Diego Leave Density Behind?
Density is one way to protect the environment and still allow growth: Simply pack more people into smaller spaces, often through taller buildings and more of them. But it hasn’t been so simple in San Diego. Neighborhoods often fight any plans to bring in more neighbors.
What to do? The new thinking goes like this: Let’s not jam more people into neighborhoods via efforts to hike the density allowed in each neighborhood. Instead, let’s make it easier for homes that are already approved to get built. That way, San Diegans are less likely to freak out and block any building.
One new plan “proposes ways to change citywide regulations to make it cheaper, easier and faster to build the housing that’s already allowed,” our Andrew Keatts reports.
What would that actually mean? Keatts gives this example: “Imagine a given block that has two homes on it. The zoning says as many as four homes could be built there. Instead of fighting for a change to eight homes, the city could instead make it cheaper and easier to build the four.”
Two City Council members from both sides of the ideological divide both want to focus “more on finding citywide policies they could change right away, rather than continuing a neighborhood-level fight.”
County Supervisor: $100M in Cuts Possible
Dianne Jacob, chairwoman of the County Board of Supervisors, warned that the county could face $100 million in cuts from an annual budget that has been $5.4 billion, the U-T reports.
Jacobs, who represents much of East County, will face resistance from critics who say the county has socked away too much in its rainy-day reserve fund.
Today in Trump: Banning Parts of the Ban
A federal judge in L.A. has added to the judicial backlash against at least some major parts of the president’s travel ban. He’s ordered the government to not engage in “removing, detaining, or blocking the entry” of affected travelers from seven targeted nations; the refugee ban apparently isn’t affected. (L.A. Times)
Meanwhile, KPBS notes that some biggies in the local high-tech and biotech worlds have stayed mum about the travel ban despite the huge role that immigrants play in their industries.
An analysis of tech company hiring, meanwhile, finds that in a recent year, Qualcomm had the second highest number of immigrants with visas who come from the seven countries that make up the ban.
University Avenue Tops Dangerous Intersection List
A new report lists 15 intersections that are dangerous to pedestrians in the city, and almost all (14) are south of I-8. Four out of the top five are along University Avenue, NBC 7 reports.
The Circulate San Diego group wants the city to spend $200,000 to add bigger road stripes, beeping crossing signals and second-by-second countdowns that let people know how much more time they have to cross.
Special Podcast: Minding the Gap Between Sports and Female Fans
A special VOSD podcast featuring our Sara Libby and the U-T’s Annie Heilbrunn examines how the NFL and media outlets make it hard for female fans to get into the game.
The fault doesn’t just lie with the league, which makes it hard to find team gear for women who are’t into six-inch platform wedges or lace-up shirts. The debate over Chargers and a new stadium featured men, men and more men. “When you look at those stages, if there’s a woman there, that woman is so hidden amongst the men … it’s not like they’re at the forefront … unless they’re in a cheerleader outfit,” Heilbrunn said.
Listen to the podcast here.
• The commissioner of the NFL declared the obvious this week: A team won’t return to town unless there’s “a solution to that stadium problem.” (City News Service)
North County Report: More Pollution Along the Coast
This week’s VOSD North County Report leads off an inewsource story that says a new gas-fired plant in Carlsbad will produce more pollution than the nearby power station that it’s replacing. The new power station, by the way is a “peaker” plant, a nifty name that means it kicks in when there’s extra demand for power, like during hot weather.
Also in the NoCoRep: The Legislature may crack down on cities like Encinitas that aren’t playing ball when it comes to affordable housing, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter used campaign funds to pay for his daughter’s Irish step-dancing contests and Del Mar is jumping into the Airbnb debate.
Quick News Hits: A Bloom to Remember
• CityBeat is calling for local labor leader Mickey Kasparian to quit amid accusations — via lawsuits and accounts provided to the media — of sexual and workplace misconduct: “with all the litigation and the increasing amount of complaints that seem to now pop up daily, there is simply no way that Kasparian will be able to continue to serve effectively in his current role.” The paper adds that he may be a “genuine creep.”
We did an in-depth accounting of the accusations against the politically influential Kasparian. Meanwhile, Times of S.D. talks to a union employee who says she was temporarily banished to the frozen tundra of Utah for speaking out about Kasparian.
• Omar Passons, a high-profile community activist who’s currently vice president of Community Development & Policy at Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, has jumped into the running to replace Republican County Supervisor Ron Roberts in the 2018 election, the Reader reports. Roberts will be termed out.
• The Port is under fire for turning free parking spaces into metered spaces along Harbor Drive, eliminating free parking for boat owners who are able to take advantage of cheaper storage rates. (U-T)
• Thanks to the rains, the Borrego Springs desert wildflowers this spring may be the most amazing that they’ve been in almost 20 years, the U-T reports. “People say it was like magic in the 1990s,” says the executive director of the tiny town’s Chamber of Commerce. “They said the valley was all purple. It was the reason people moved here back then.”
OK, a big bloom sounds great … or does it? Science fiction — the novel, movie and TV series “Day of the Triffids” specifically — tells us that rogue vegetation can rise up and threaten the world, only to be vanquished by seawater.
So watch out, San Diegans. After all, we’ve already had quite a spot of bother with another dangerous plant — the vicious vegetables known as “killer tomatoes.”
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.