school buses
A line of San Diego Unified school buses. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

These were the most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of Nov. 10-17.

1. San Diego Unified Sends Parents Who Can’t Pay for School Bus Rides to a Collections Agency

California is one of a dozen states that allows school districts to charge parents fees for bus rides to school. Records obtained by Voice of San Diego show that in the 2014-2015 school year alone, the district referred 380 parents to a collections agency for debts that ranged from $10 to $500. (Mario Koran)

2. Police Oversight Group Set to Dismiss 22 Death Cases Without Investigation

The Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board staff is recommending the dismissal of 22 investigations involving people who’ve died in county detention facilities or while being taken into custody. A number of experts said the rule being used to justify the dismissals shouldn’t apply to CLERB, and similar oversight groups across the state don’t interpret the rule that way. (Kelly Davis)

3. Scathing Emails Highlight Dem Party-Union Rift

Leaders of the county’s Democratic Party and one of the most politically influential local unions have been at odds throughout the year. The behind-the-scenes fight climaxed this summer with a physical altercation, followed by a series of emails obtained by Voice of San Diego.

4. City Attorney’s Top Aide Claims Privilege as He Pushes for Her

The city attorney’s chief of staff, Gerry Braun, is claiming messages he sent to a City Council office are not public records, citing attorney-client privilege. Braun is not an attorney. If that reasoning holds up, he’d be the first political chief of staff who can also claim to his counterparts that if you share the messages he sends to you, you are committing a crime. (Scott Lewis)

5. Fact Check: Is Most Homelessness Tied to Drugs and Alcohol?

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells claimed nearly all homelessness is linked to drug or alcohol abuse. (Lisa Halverstadt)

6. San Diego Politics Roundup: Alvarez Is Running … for Community College District

Very few issues have provoked the primal passions of San Diego’s neighborhood activists like the threat that their homes will be surrounded by what they call mini-hotels. Now the anti-vacation rental crowd has settled on one prime target: Councilman Chris Ward. (Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts)

7. Last-Minute Allegation Against Civic San Diego Threatens Low-Income Housing Project

The City Council was set Tuesday to finalize a $5.85 million deal to build over 100 low-income homes on city-owned property in southeastern San Diego. But the deal, orchestrated and approved by Civic San Diego, is on the rocks due to conflict-of-interest accusation against one of the agency’s board members. (Andrew Keatts)

8. How San Diego Screwed Up Bike Sharing

In many cities, bike-share programs have been successful, with large, growing ridership. That hasn’t been the case in San Diego. On top of bad bike infrastructure, San Diego’s program hasn’t implemented best practices that helped programs elsewhere attract riders. (Alon Levy)

9. No-Bid Homeless Shelter Contracts Fall Outside the Usual Process

The City Council will vote Tuesday on three fast-tracked shelter tent contracts that until Monday didn’t include any goals to hold the nonprofits running them accountable. (Lisa Halverstadt)

10. Opinion: City Attorney Has a Troubling Track Record on Vacation Rentals

One would hope the city attorney would not participate in partisan politics. Unfortunately, it is looking more and more like City Attorney Mara Elliott has decided to play favorites. (Jonah Mechanic)

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