Our reporting relies on your support. Contribute today! 

Help us reach our goal of $250,000. The countdown is on!

San Diego Unified School District plans to layoff nearly 200 more employees than previously thought, according to union representatives. That’s more than 1,700 layoffs, all told.

The new cuts include all 14 library technicians, 16 mental health clinicians, dozens of bus drivers and other non-teaching employees and support staff, according to our Ashly McGlone.

“I just think it’s unconscionable they can say they are keeping the cuts away from the classroom. They’re not,” said Sylvia Alvarez, president of the union that represents 1,400 office-technical and business services employees. “They want to talk about graduation rates, then they cut the whole dropout prevention program … Do you care about all the kids, or just some of the kids?”

The district still expects a $124.4 million budget shortfall, but unions were unwilling to make concessions that would have equaled roughly a 5 percent pay cut, said Lawrence Wren, president of the 2,600-member union that represents transportation, custodial, maintenance and food workers, among others. Wren says he believes the district’s money problems come as a result of mismanagement.

We should know next month how many of the educators the district warned might be laid off actually are dismissed.

Bill Hopes to Ease Opposition to Low-income Housing

There are scores of plans to increase the amount of housing units in California. Assemblyman Todd Gloria is backing one to allow local housing authorities to spend money meant to provide low-income housing on housing projects that aren’t entirely for low-income people.

Gloria’s plan would allow housing agencies, like the San Diego Housing Commission, to spend certain funds to help build non-subsidized, market-rate housing, as long as at least 20 percent of the development was set aside for low-income housing. According to our Maya Srikrishnan, Gloria and the Housing Commission hope that mixed-income projects will better integrate communities and temper community opposition to low-income projects.

“It is not a social good to concentrate all low-income housing in one neighborhood or even in one building,” Gloria said. “There is a tremendous amount of public benefit when you have diverse, balanced communities.”

San Diego’s Homeless Avoiding Shelters

Homelessness is up, but the number of people staying in homeless shelters is down, according to a recently-released homeless census. What gives?

Our Lisa Halverstadt explains that many of San Diego’s most vulnerable homeless people either have concerns with shelters or have another reason keeping them from moving in: Many homeless folks develop bonds with pets or friends they make living on the streets and don’t want to abandon them. Many imagine packed shelters and fear they could be molested or robbed. Many also detest the curfews, smoking bans and other rules they might encounter in a shelter. Then there are the wait lists.

Sacramento Report: Future of Troubled State Gang Database

Last summer, an audit found widespread problems with the state’s CalGang database, as well as abuse of the system by police. Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, who requested that audit, has a plan to reform the system. But, as our Sara Libby explains, so does state Sen. Tony Mendoza of Los Angeles. Weber’s bill would give oversight control of CalGang to the state Department of Justice; Mendoza’s would create a new entity made up largely of law enforcement officials.

In this week’s report on goings on in Sacramento, Srikrishnan and Halverstadt take a look at other housing-related bills and we learned about San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten’s meeting with state officials in Sacramento on Thursday.

Podcast: Hugo Castro’s Saga

Don’t miss this week’s podcast: KPBS border reporter Jean Guerrero tells us about Hugo Castro, an activist who was propelled into the spotlight after he posted an unsettling  video from the side of a freeway near Mexico City. In it, he said his life was in danger. Then Castro disappeared before he was finally found, wounded on a street in Mexico.

Our hosts, Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts, also talk about the anointing of Summer Stephan as our likely next district attorney and about how voters approved bonds and a tax hike to fix plumbing in Emerson-Bandini Elementary School, but the plumbing there has yet to be fixed.

In Other News

• Congressman Juan Vargas is one of “20 members of Congress who are registered to vote outside of the districts they serve,” according to the Washington Post. Members of the U.S. House are required only to live in the state that they serve, not the district that they serve. But this always looks bad for a member.

• Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed budget would reduce by $1.4 million the money available for flood prevention. The city’s Transportation and Storm Water Department told David Garrick of the Union-Tribune that this won’t be a problem. In the current budget year, the city was unable to clear all the flood channels it intended, something the city blamed on “heavy rains,” though the city cleared way more channels than it planned to a year ago in anticipation of El Nino flooding. Even a small flood can be costly to the city: the city had to pay $1 million to a pair of homeowners near Cowles Mountain after a plugged pipe caused flooding on their block twice in 2015.

• The Union-Tribune also reports on plans to close gaps in the city’s fire response.

• Wall or not, San Diego’s congressional delegation, including Darrell Issa, a Republican, like our city’s partnership with Mexico. Meanwhile, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions were in town Friday. (Times of San Diego, San Diego NBC)

• San Diego Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep, a “birther” who questioned Barack Obama’s legitimacy as president, “made remarks to lawyers and litigants about their appearance and ethnicity in his first years on the bench,” according to the a report by a special panel of judges. (Union-Tribune)

The Week’s Top Stories

These were the 5 most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of Apr. 15-Apr. 21. Click here to see the full top 10.

1. Low-Income San Diegans Are Getting Pushed to Riverside
Housing costs have repelled many prospective migrants, and at the same time encouraged residents to relocate to Riverside County. Disproportionately, those leaving San Diego for Riverside are low-income people, not well-off homeowners chasing a bigger house. (Alon Levy)

2. Developers of Massive Tijuana Property Envision a Live-Work Hub for Residents on Both Sides of the Border
Though plans for a border wall – a literal barricade dividing the U.S. and Mexico – are moving forward, the vision for a property just south of the existing border fence strives to connect Tijuana and San Diego more than ever by becoming a hub for where people from both sides of the border can live and work. (Maya Srikrishnan)

3. Border Report: A Disappearance That Hits Close to Home
Gov. Jerry Brown pardons deported military veterans, another Mexican journalist is killed, outside critics don’t like Barrio Logan mural they’ve never seen and more in our roundup of news from the border. (Brooke Binkowski)

4. ‘Look, You Can’t Do a Ribbon-Cutting on New Plumbing’
Voters who approved three separate school bonds were promised new plumbing at Emerson-Bandini Elementary School in Mountain View. The school got a new sports field, but not new plumbing. Then toxic chemicals were found in the water. (Ry Rivard)

5. Why You’re Hearing the Padres on the Station That Plays Sublime and Nirvana
Two of San Diego’s iconic radio stations are making significant gambles in an effort to bring in new fans. (Dallas McLaughlin)

Ry Rivard

Ry Rivard was formerly a reporter for Voice of San Diego. He wrote about water and power.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.