A new report says that San Diego Unified officials expect the average condition of its schools buildings to improve from “poor” to “fair” by 2024. They’ll just need millions more dollars on top of the two already existing multibillion-dollar bond measures provide to do it.

VOSD’s Ashly McGlone digs into the report submitted to the district’s citizens’ bond oversight committee, raising questions of whether the district’s claims that it can improve facilities are realistic. While Props. S and Z, two multibillion-dollar school bonds, are pumping money into San Diego Unified facilities, the district says in the report that it will also need money from the state, the district’s general fund and other unnamed sources in order to keep making progress.

The maintenance office is expected to lose 21 workers and $2 million in funding next year, thanks to budget cuts. Custodians are expected to lose $9.2 million in funding. Landscapers will lose $1.5 million and 25 percent of their workforce.

“Current expectations don’t necessarily jibe with spending cuts that school board members are eyeing in order to close a $124 million funding gap,” McGlone reports. “Spending cuts under consideration could negatively impact facilities.”

Border Report: Border Bridge Suicide Reveals Larger Deportation Issues

The border continues to roil since the ascension of President Donald Trump.

In this week’s Border Report, VOSD contributor Brooke Binkowski delves into the suicide of Guadalupe Olivas Valencia – who wasn’t the first casualty of deportations, but the first since Trump’s presidency began.

Olivas had come to the U.S. for the first time in 2001 and been deported at least three times before, but always tried to return. His final deportation was on Wednesday, Feb. 22 – the anniversary of the death of his wife, who had passed three years earlier. That day, Olivas threw himself from the pedestrian walkway next to the border crossing.

Deportation has long come with emotional consequences – some result in suicide, drug use or homelessness and, now – bracing for a surge of deportees under Trump – activists are calling for better public health and homeless resources in Mexican border towns.

The Border Report also describes protests on both sides of the border, the uptick in immigration raids and Imperial Beach’s outrage over a sewage spill into the Tijuana River.

Op-Ed: Street Performer Permits Can Help Strike a Balance

Nick Karvounis, who began his juggling career with street performances alongside his twin brother, weighs in on the debate over how San Diego should treat street performers.

Restrictions on public performances are common in many cities, writes Karvounis.

“There is a balance that needs to be reached by police, the city, business owners and performers,” he writes. “And all parties need to be responsible.”

Requiring permits for street acts ensures three things, Karvounis argues. First, it guarantees that artists are vetted and safe for the public. Second, it allows the city to earn a fair share of income. Third, it ensures a higher level of compliance – meaning it will lower the chances that the street performer you’re standing next to isn’t actually a pickpocket.

Issa Downplays Call for Russia Investigation

After calling for an independent investigation of Russian involvement in Trump’s presidential bid on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” on Friday, Rep. Darrell Issa seems to be backtracking.

In an interview Monday with CBS News, Issa said that if there was an allegation against someone in the administration, then a special prosecutor would make sense.

“So one of the challenges we have is a special prosecutor exists when you have an individual under suspicion,” he said. “Currently we don’t have that.”

His spokesman then told CBS that this didn’t mean the congressman was walking back his previous statements, just “adding detail.”

To add to the confusion, a statement from Issa’s office Monday said “An investigation is not the same as an assertion of specific wrong-doing, it’s following the facts where they lead so that American people can know what may or may not have taken place.”

So it’s rather unclear whether Issa does, in fact, want a special investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

• In other Issa-related news, Democrat Doug Applegate, who narrowly lost to the congressman in November is already starting to fundraise for a 2018 bid against Issa – and federal election officials are already questioning his campaign finances.

City Council Votes to Support Transgender Student Lawsuit

The San Diego City Council voted 5-1 to approve an amicus brief in a national lawsuit, Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board. The lawsuit deals with transgender student rights, as Grimm was barred from using the boys bathroom at his school. The brief doesn’t mean San Diego is joining the lawsuit; rather, it’s a show of support for a certain side in the case — in this instance, the city is taking the student’s side.

The lawsuit was brought to the Council’s attention by City Attorney Mara Elliot and passed with all Democratic votes. Republic Councilman Scott Sherman voted against signing the amicus brief and the other Republican Council members were absent.

The matter also resulted in sparring press releases from Councilman Chris Cate, who did not participate in the vote, and City Attorney Mara Elliot about the whether the San Diego city attorney should be involving the city in national politics.

Quick News Hits

• Ramla Sahid, who fled with her family from war-torn Somalia when she was 5, has become a fierce voice for San Diego’s refugee community. Sahid was also a recent VOSD podcast guest. (Union-Tribune)

• The number of homeless students in San Diego County schools is on the rise. (KPBS)

• Former County Supervisor Dave Roberts wants workers’ compensation from the county for psychological stress and a hand injury he said he suffered while in office. (Union-Tribune)

• A good link to save for future reference: VOSD’s Scott Lewis’ “Taxonomy of Fake News” talk.

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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