The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
Recently, our Andrew Keatts revealed that the San Diego Association of Governments had misled voters as far back as 2004. That year, it was trying to extend a half-cent sales tax and needed voter approval.
The agency had adopted an official forecast about how much it would raise from the tax. But it kept that forecast secret and told voters the tax would raise more.
More money meant the agency could promise more projects with the tax.
Now, Keatts has gone to board members — from back then and now — to see what they think.
The quotes they gave are on fire.
Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey, who is new to the board, said SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos and his team either misled voters intentionally or were incompetent.
“The most up-to-date number was not used. The question is, ‘why?’ Did Gary want the rosy one to squeeze in more projects, or was it inept management that they couldn’t find the updated number, or didn’t know it was changed?” Bailey said.
The tax, we discovered, actually is on track to bring in far less than even the low projection that was kept from voters.
Current SANDAG Board Member Kristine Allesio says the problem is a lack of leadership at SANDAG. “The problem is the will of the board to question things,” Allesio said.
The Learning Curve: School Board Elections
Not long ago, San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate proposed a change to the City Charter to modify the way voters elect San Diego Unified School District board members.
The school district’s founding document is the San Diego City Charter. The City Council can propose amendments to the Charter. Voters must approve them.
Cate wanted the school system to switch away from its current system. Now, a candidate for the school board has to appeal to two different groups in two elections: first in their own sub-district, and then an at-large election where everyone in the district — most of the city of San Diego — gets to vote. Cate wanted to switch to a similar system the city has where each sub-district gets to elect its representative.
But the majority Democrats on the City Council wanted nothing to do with the idea.
The County Grand Jury, however, forced them to discuss it again.
In her weekly Learning Curve column on education, Maya Srikrishnan explains how that went.
Plans For The Plaza: San Diego Explained
A major overhaul of the center of Balboa Park is still the city’s official plan. But it hasn’t started yet. Lisa Halverstadt and NBC 7’s Monica Dean help you understand the legal challenges facing the Plaza de Panama project and what it will take to see it through. It’s this week’s episode of San Diego Explained.
Commentary: Police Staffing Crisis Must Be Solved
In a commentary, San Diego Police Officer’s Association President Brian Marvel laid out the reasons for urgently addressing the police department’s staffing crisis, which has been worsening for years. In 2006, Marvel notes the department fell to 1,912 officers an it was labeled a crisis. “The department will likely go below 1,800 sworn officers in August,” Marvel writes. He also highlights the increasing responsibilities of police officers in San Diego, while staffing levels decline, and salaries stagnate. “Most importantly, SDPD officers have lost hope about whether elected officials possess the desire, ability and courage to change their situation,” Marvel writes.
• Resident Denise Willett Friedman also wrote in to express her pleasure with a recent decision by the City Council to ease up on restrictions that applied to so-called granny flats, which are companion units that sit on the same property as single-family homes. “Council members made it clear that they wish to increase the housing stock by allowing for new streamlined policies that give incentives for those wishing to build accessory dwelling units,” Friedman writes.
• We also have a letter from a local literary agent who was not pleased at all with a recent Morning Report description of her new project.
State Supremes Tap Pension Reform For Review
Close on the heals of an April decision by the Fourth District Court of Appeals, which ruled the city of San Diego did not act improperly with regards to the pension initiative called Proposition B in 2012, the State Supreme Court on Wednesday voted unanimously to review the lower court’s decision. The Union-Tribune’s David Garrick reports that 95 percent of cases seeking review are not granted, which may indicate the justices in this case have some issue with the decision. Voters in 2012 passed Prop B and in doing so replaced pensions with 401(k)-style retirement plans for new city workers. Opponents sued, saying the mayor went to work promoting the proposition, instead of negotiating with unions as he is required to do.
The Ghost of Tree Maintenance Budget Cuts Appears
A 2013 lawsuit filed by a San Diegan against the city after she was injured by a falling tree branch in Mission Bay Park has been revived by an appeals court who disagreed with a lower court ruling that had thrown the lawsuit out. The Union-Tribune’s Greg Moran reports the lower court judge had ruled the city is protected from lawsuits from people injured due to conditions on trails and pathways. On appeal, the court ruled the case was about trees planted by the city, not natural conditions on a trail, so the case should go forward.
• NBC 7 has a searchable database of the results from San Diego Unified’s water testing for lead levels.
• With housing prices growing unchecked, refugees who arrive in San Diego face a huge challenge, and some have to lie to overcome it. (KPBS)
• The Tony and Alicia Gwynn Foundation has been behind in its tax filings for five years. (Union-Tribune)
• The downtown block of land where the New School of Architecture currently sits has been sold and may be redeveloped in the coming years. (Union-Tribune)
• After this year’s crisis at the Oroville Dam, California wants inspections on 93 dams, including Lake Hodges and Lake Morena. (Sacramento Bee)
• A terrible amusement ride malfunction in Ohio means that a similar ride in San Diego’s Belmont Park is also shut down. (Patch)