John Collins, the former superintendent of the Poway Unified School District, is facing five felony charges for allegedly misappropriating public funds, according to a complaint filed last week by the San Diego County district attorney’s office.”

Collins could serve over seven years in prison if convicted of all charges, a DA spokesman told Ashly McGlone.

The school board fired Collins a year ago after auditors found up to $345,000 in excess pay he’s alleged to have taken, and he’s still fighting a civil suit from the district seeking to recover the funds.

He’ll be arraigned on Thursday at the downtown courthouse.

Our team has spent a lot of time investigating Poway Unified and Collins. He was superintendent for the 36,000-student school five years ago when news broke about a $1 billion bond deal the district struck and a year ago when he included so-called “me too clauses” in his contract after district employee negotiations.

San Diego Finally Breaks Ground on Overdue Solar Projects

Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced an ambitious project in late 2015: installing solar panels through the company SunEdison on city buildings and public spaces.

It would save the city money, drive the city’s commitment to renewable energy and could be fully complete by the end of 2016.

But the city has just now broken ground on the first two of 25 projects, according to a new story by Jeff McDonald at the Union-Tribune, after the company filed for bankruptcy and a series of other delays.

Those projects could be finished before the end of the year, and the city says it’s been able to negotiate a better deal for the energy the solar panels will eventually generate.

EPA Gives Go-Ahead for San Diego to Keep Dumping Wastewater into the Ocean, For Now

San Diego’s plans to get third of the city’s drinking supply from recycled wastewater is another step closer to reality. On Monday, federal environmental regulators said the city could continue to dump some treated wastewater into the ocean for at least another five years. The city and local environmentalists reached a deal several years ago where the city could avoid making costly upgrades to its existing Point Loma treatment plant if it began recycling water. That way, the city could spend its money on a new source of water rather than on more heavily treating water it dumps into the ocean.

Opinion: Sounding Off on Granny Flats

San Diego’s housing crisis has grown into maybe the biggest issue facing the city, with elected officials racing against each other to roll out proposed solutions.

The city already adopted one attempt to alleviate the burden by trying to make it easier to build granny flats, or second homes that share a lot with existing single-family homes.

We reached out to architects, planners and policy professionals across the city to see what they thought about the new policy and rounded up all their responses.

They mostly like the intention. They’re not so sure, however, the plan will make a real difference.

“There is still much that can be done to boost the production of accessory dwelling units in San Diego,” wrote Jennifer LeSar, an affordable housing developer.

In Other News

A new law banning certain exemptions from public school immunization requirements is having its intended effect after going into effect last summer. It’s possible the law is also pushing more kids into online schools, where they’re exempt from the requirement. (KPBS)

 The AP reports that a researcher from UC San Diego revealed that he and another person have been studying a secret safe haven where heroin users are allowed to inject the drug under supervision. No such safe haven was known to exist before their report in a medical journal and it could be operating illegally.

 San Diego researchers are trying to keep rhinos from going extinct. (KPBS)

 The Vista-based company Dr. Bronner’s has pledged $1 million for a new autism learning center in Oceanside. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

 The Port of San Diego will vote Tuesday on whether to move forward on the next $500,000 on a plan to install iconic lighting on the San Diego-Coronado Bridge by 2019, the bridge’s 50th anniversary. The overall project costs $10 million. (10 News)

I'm Andrew Keatts, a managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at

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