The Morning Report
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Emails from 2013 obtained by Voice of San Diego reveal the extent to which San Diego Unified School District officials investigated multiple complaints of unwanted touching by female students at La Jolla High School against a longtime teacher there.
The emails also raise questions of whether district officials violated the California Public Records Act when they failed to provide them in response to Voice of San Diego records requests.
Multiple women have reported various types of unwanted touching by Martin Teachworth, a physics teacher with the district for 38 years. Teachworth has denied interview requests but in an email denied any misconduct.
“While Teachworth has retired, the question remains whether administrators could have done more to protect students who felt unsafe,” writes Ashly McGlone in a new story.
McGlone received emails from an anonymous parent – and district officials later confirmed their authenticity – that outlined how school police and investigators had been brought in for an investigation into the allegations.
Those emails were not turned over when Voice of San Diego two years ago requested “all complaints, investigative reports and communications related to allegations of harassment, sexual misbehavior, or inappropriate touching by Teachworth.” At the time, district officials said no such records existed.
Now, a district spokesperson said the search terms the district used to find records – which were narrower than the request made by Voice of San Diego – did not turn up the newly obtained emails. Nonetheless, district officials insist they complied with the state’s public records law.
San Diego Transit Receives Less Public Subsidy Than Most Cities
Complaints about public transit are common in San Diego, from the trolley covering too little of the city, to the fare system being too cumbersome, to buses running too infrequently.
But in one key metric, San Diego’s transit system stands out in a good way: It has among the lowest operating costs of any major metro area. In practice, this also means the region subsidizes transit ridership far less than its peer cities.
In a new analysis, Alon Levy breaks down the costs of operating transit in San Diego, and spells out why it might be an opportunity for the region. “SANDAG should run more public transit service, because it can do it more cheaply than most American cities,” Levy writes.
There’s good news here for just about everyone: For people concerned about the cost of public transit, it means San Diego’s system is especially cost-efficient. And yet, despite its low operating costs, San Diego transit could still make improvements and deliver better service even within its existing budget, Levy argues. And for transit advocates, the system’s low subsidy per ride means tax increases to improve or expand the system are theoretically an easier sell than they would be in less competitive markets.
Vulnerable Local Congressmen Vote No on Tax Bill
Twelve House Republicans voted against their party’s tax bill Tuesday, which temporarily cuts taxes for most middle-income earners and gives steep, permanent cuts to the wealthy and corporations. Among the Republicans voting against the bill were Rep. Darrell Issa, who represents northern San Diego County and parts of Orange County, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, also from Orange County.
Both are seen as vulnerable incumbents in their 2018 re-election bids. All of the Republicans who voted against the bill were from New Jersey, New York or California – high-tax states where constituents could be hurt by changes made to deductions for state and local taxes. (Los Angeles Times)
In Other News
• The California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates private utility companies, recently updated its mission statement, removing language that obligated it to ensure “reasonable rates” for the public. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
• The San Diego City Council, in a contentious 5-4 vote, decided to strip volunteer neighborhood groups of the power to control some of the money generated by park and recreation centers across the city, based on the city attorney’s interpretation that the arrangement was illegal. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
A couple months ago, I dove into the dispute, which pitted some of the most active and vocal residents in the city against their Council members.
• Victor Manuel Felix-Felic, an associate of cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, has been extradited to San Diego, where he’ll be tried for allegedly laundering money on behalf of the Sinaloa cartel. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
• Immigrant-rights activists have launched the San Diego Rapid Response Network to push back on increased enforcement from Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Its first major component is a new 24-hour hotline where immigrants can get legal advice and report checkpoints, raids and arrests. (KPBS)
• At the peak of San Diego’s hepatitis A crisis this summer, there were 84 cases a week. In the first three weeks of December there have been just two, giving local officials hope the crisis is nearly over. (Associated Press)
• A federal judge ruled that a San Diego police officer acted reasonably when he shot and killed Fridoon Nehad in 2015. Nehad was unarmed, but Officer Neal Browder said he saw a shiny object in his hand while Nehad was walking toward him. He had a pen. (Associated Press)
Former VOSD reporter Liam Dillon wrote a definitive rundown of the case back in 2015.
• Two notable things about San Diego are that Blink 182 is from here, and that crazy story about Navy pilots chasing a UFO off our coast. Now, those two things are combined. (10News)