The Morning Report
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Turns out the city’s got more than one Confederate-friendly monument.
But while city workers were able to quickly dig up a controversial plaque at Horton Plaza this week, another one at city-owned Mt. Hope Cemetery would be a lot more complicated to remove.
The memorial stands above soldiers’ graves on a plot owned by Daughters of the Confederacy organization, writes VOSD contributor Randy Dotinga.
In a new story, Dotinga breaks down the history of the monument and the Mt. Hope Cemetery in southeastern San Diego and checks in with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, who’s championed recent movements to abandon other relics of the Confederacy in San Diego.
Spoiler alert: She’s unlikely to lead the charge to remove this one.
SANDAG Chief Out
The longtime leader of San Diego’s transportation agency resigned Friday, nearly a year after a Voice of San Diego investigation revealed his agency misled voters on multiple ballot measures and failed to admit to a series of problems with sales-tax forecasts for its transportation program.
The SANDAG board on Friday voted to accept Gary Gallegos’ request to resign immediately. He had initially announced plans to leave by the end of the year but later asked to step down this week.
Gallegos’ resignation followed an outside investigation that found SANDAG officials urged staff to delete emails and hide public records requested by VOSD.
Since VOSD’s investigation, Gonzalez Fletcher has pushed AB 805, a bill meant to overhaul SANDAG leadership and governance. SANDAG leaders have maintained they can handle those reforms themselves, even mulling their own reform measure.
“Gary’s resignation, while difficult, provides an opportunity to continue the internal transformation that the independent examination recommended,” SANDAG Chair Ron Roberts said Friday. “We will now begin a search for an executive director to lead the agency and instill new processes to ensure transparency.”
• Gallegos initially announced his plans to retire in a wide-ranging question-and-answer session with the Union-Tribune’s editorial board. The U-T has posted a transcript of that interview.
What to Watch as the State Legislature Gets Back in Action
State lawmakers are back at the Capitol next week, and they’ve got a lot to work on.
Our Sara Libby put together a helpful guide to the high-profile bills San Diego representatives are hoping to get to the finish line once they’re back in session – from Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s attempt to reform the state’s controversial gang database to the bill state Sen. Joel Anderson’s co-sponsoring that aims to keep bars open until 4 a.m.
Libby also took a look at recent state attempts to grapple with the legacy of the Confederacy that it faced long before last week’s protests in Charlottesville, Va.
VOSD Podcast: National News Circus Trumping Local Focus
Every day it seems there’s a new White House revelation. National news has been dizzying and all-consuming since the 2016 election.
In this week’s podcast, Libby and Andrew Keatts discuss how that’s affected local news consumption. The duo also talked to Point Loma Nazarene University economist Lynn Reaser about San Diego’s stake in NAFTA negotiations and to VOSD’s Mario Koran about a bombshell admission this week from the district’s school board president.
News and Opinions of the Day
• KPBS finds that San Diego’s set ambitious traffic safety goals but it’s not always letting safety data drive the projects it pursues.
• Police agencies throughout San Diego County reported nearly 50 incidents last year where an officer’s use of force led to serious injury, death or discharge of a firearm. A new report released by the Attorney General’s Office reveals more than 60 percent of those incidents involved the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department had the most incidents. San Diego police reported 14.
• City Councilmembers Barbara Bry, Chris Cate and Lorie Zapf each offered their thoughts on short-term vacation rental regulations in a trio of Union-Tribune op-eds. Stay tuned for another chapter of this long-running saga this fall, likely in October. That’s when city staffers expect to bring another slate of proposed regulations to the City Council for review.
• Add the Navy to the long list of folks concerned about San Diego’s housing supply, The Associated Press reports.
• VOSD contributor Brooke Binkowski isn’t a fan of a new trailer-park themed restaurant downtown. She wrote a Los Angeles Times op-ed about it.
• Immigration courts are hearing more cases this year and that’s got some advocates worried that could mean more people are being unjustly deported, the Union-Tribune reports.
Top Stories of the Week
These were the top five most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of Aug. 11-18. View the full top 10 list here.
Lawyers in San Diego and beyond worry the prosecution of a lawyer who represents a marijuana business could force a central tenet of practicing law – attorney-client privilege – to go up in smoke. (Jonah Valdez)
Not only does new data show the lowest-performing students in the class of 2016 were transferring out of San Diego Unified, school officials now admit that’s exactly what has happened in the past – a major reversal after the district vehemently denied that was the case. (Mario Koran)
After grappling with months of disbelief and uncertainty about their business models going forward, most in local media have decided to still treat the Chargers as the local favorite worth following, though with a bit of distance. (Dallas McLaughlin)
With high-achieving students and a compensation package that made him the second highest-paid public school superintendent in the state, former Poway Unified superintendent John Collins had a firm spot among the upper echelon of California educators. Now he’s facing multiple felony charges. Though Collins’ fall from grace may seem abrupt, it was more of a slow burn. (Ashly McGlone)
As part of a crackdown on illegal marijuana dispensaries, San Diego police conducted a raid on Aug. 2 and arrested 12 employees for illegally selling and distributing marijuana. (Adriana Heldiz)