The Morning Report
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San Diego State University wants a big chunk of land in Mission Valley around Qualcomm Stadium, but the university doesn’t need the land for educational purposes until the year 2047 or later.
The university wants 35 acres of land there and is ready to build a $150 million stadium. But it wouldn’t use the rest of the land for classrooms or faculty housing, at least not yet. Instead, it would own the property and lease it out as “office-type space,” said Bob Schulz, the lead architect and an associate vice president at SDSU.
Scott Lewis reports on this revelation, which Shulz made to a crowd of land-use experts this week.
The disclosure undermines the notion that the university needs the land to expand its educational offerings and serve students in the next several years.
At a press conference in November, then-state Sen. Marty Block pointed to a picture of a campus in Mission Valley and said, “Imagine if you will in a handful of years having this concrete jungle turned into a river park, a beautiful kind of bucolic green campus with academic buildings, with faculty housing, student housing, perhaps a biotech park in one corner and an on-campus football stadium.”
If that ever happens, it wouldn’t be in a “handful of years” after all.
Sacramento Report: Changing County Elections
In this week’s round-up of news from Sacramento, we report on how two Democratic Assembly members want to change how the all-Republican San Diego County Board of Supervisors is elected. Also in the Sacramento Report: Maya Srikrishnan tells us about a bill that Encinitas is backing to get more than 1,000 accessory dwelling units or granny flats – smaller homes that share a property with a main house – to count toward its state-mandated affordable housing goals.
And Sara Libby writes that Assemblywoman Shirley Weber is taking another crack at reforming teacher tenure in California.
VOSD Podcast: SDSU and Hotel Tax Hike
Andy Keatts and Lewis talk about SDSU’s play in Mission Valley on this week’s podcast, as well as Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s push to hold a special election this fall to raise hotel taxes. The higher taxes would pay for an expansion of the convention center, more services for the homeless and road repairs.
Republican Ron Nehring also joined the podcast, and said he thinks Faulconer is an ideal candidate for governor.
Opinion: The Devil in the SoccerCity Details
Theresa Quiroz, a planning commissioner, took a hard look at the SoccerCity plan for Mission Valley. She finds that, contrary to “bright and shiny baubles” being used to market the development, there are things in the deal that don’t sound so hot. For instance, she writes, the plan allows public subsidies to go to a professional sports team, despite suggestions to the contrary.
In Other News
• Even as developers of affordable housing struggle to build new units, older units are disappearing. (KPBS)
• New sentencing rules will reduce the state’s prison population by 9,500 in the next four years. (Associated Press)
• City officials plan to test for lead in the water of campuses in the San Diego Unified School District. Already, officials have found too much lead in the water at Emerson-Bandini Elementary School. Schools in San Ysidro have also found too much metal and bacteria in the water of several schools, a problem blamed on old fixtures, rather than the underlying water quality. (City News Service, NBC San Diego)
• Border Patrol agents were “assaulted with a car, beaten and punched and threatened with a knife in three separate incidents,” according to the Union-Tribune. One American and two Mexican nationals were arrested.
The Week’s Top Stories
These were the most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of Mar. 18-Mar. 24. Click here to see the full top 10.
1. This Change Could Rein in Costs on the Wildly Expensive Mid-Coast Trolley Project
The cost of SANDAG’s highest-profile projects, the Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project to extend the Blue Line north to the UCSD campus, is especially high for a light-rail project. But there is a change SANDAG could consider that would reduce the price tag and take advantage of both existing light-rail lines and the Coaster rail line. (Alon Levy)
2. Why District Layoffs Hit Poor Schools the Hardest
That layoffs hit the poorest schools hardest is generally accepted as true – both by people who want to preserve the current system of teacher protections and those who want to dismantle it. (Mario Koran)
3. The District Schools Facing the Most Layoffs Are Overwhelmingly Poor
Low-income schools are set to bear the brunt of San Diego Unified’s multimillion-dollar budget cuts. For 16 of the 20 schools in San Diego Unified facing the most teacher layoff notices, at least 75 percent of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch. (Mario Koran)
4. San Diego’s Bilingual Paradox
San Diego sits at a binational crossroads, perfectly positioned to provide bilingual job candidates in a variety of fields. But local employers still struggle to find qualified bilingual candidates. Employers, language experts and teachers point to one root cause for the disconnect: a public education system that has restricted bilingual education for the past 18 years. (Adriana Heldiz and Mario Koran)
5. Southern California Is Drowning in Drought-Proofing Projects
Water agencies are working on dozens of projects to boost Southern California’s water supply. But many of the agencies are simultaneously boosting their own projects and arguing that others shouldn’t be built – partly out of a fear that ratepayers will only tolerate so many projects, and partly because of politics and territorialism. (Ry Rivard)