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These were the most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of Mar. 18-Mar. 24.
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)
6. VOSD Podcast: Your Vacation Rental Is Now Illegal
Councilman Chris Cate joined hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts and shared his reaction to the big short-term rental shift. Plus: Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez fleshes out the details on her attempt to reform SANDAG. (Kinsee Morlan)
7. Gonzalez Bill Would Reform SANDAG – and Make San Diego’s Mayor Way More Powerful
The bill would not only give each of the cities on the SANDAG board a vote proportional to their population — making San Diego and Chula Vista far more powerful — it would make San Diego’s mayor the permanent chair of both SANDAG and the Metropolitan Transit System. (Andrew Keatts)
8. Even in a Space for Cash-Strapped Arts Groups, the Rent Is Too Damn High
Arts District Liberty Station was envisioned as a place where artists could thrive without worrying about being pushed out by rising rents. But a decade after its launch, arts tenants are finding themselves in the same spot the district was meant to insulate them from: Rents there are too high for many of them to afford. (Kinsee Morlan)
9. Residents Get Ready to Rip Another New Trolley Stop Density Plan
Bay Park and nearby residents are once again mobilizing for a fight against new homes and taller buildings near a planned new trolley stop. This time, the city may not back down as easily. (Andrew Keatts)
10. For the Homeless, the Mayor Wants a Big Tent Now, Homes Later
When it comes to homelessness, Mayor Kevin Faulconer wants to work it both ways – with both long- and short-term solutions. (Lisa Halverstadt)