The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
San Diego State can continue to play their football games in Mission Valley at SDCCU Stadium through this year.
But after that, things get murky. Scott Lewis reports the university and city of San Diego have entered the second year of negotiations on this point and the dilemma is dragging.
SDSU pays a fraction in rent of what it costs the city to operate the stadium. Other events don’t do much better. And a budget shortfall is looming for the city’s general fund.
Not counting payments on the stadium’s debt, “operating and maintaining the stadium costs the city at least $7 million a year,” Lewis writes. He outlines the legal obstacles in the way of the deal and the likelihood that the university wants the city to keep subsidizing football at the stadium.
After all, if university officials did not want some subsidy for the stadium, a deal would be easy.
Reflecting on Heaven’s Gate
Almost 21 years ago, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult took their own lives as the Hale-Bopp comet passed nearby Earth. A recent podcast series dives back in to the events preceding the mass suicide and uncovers little-known stories about the cult’s activities.
Randy Dotinga interviewed the Heaven’s Gate podcast host Glynn Washington about the cult’s activities in San Diego, and how their mindset is relevant to current events. “When there doesn’t seem to be any anchoring to facts at all, it seems from a political perspective that half the country has joined a Heaven’s Gate cult,” Washington says.
School Buses: San Diego Explained
California allows school districts to charge parents fees if they send their kids to school using school buses. In San Diego Unified, that can mean charges of up to $750 if a family has multiple children using the school bus. Other school districts have charges too, but Mario Koran and NBC 7’s Monica Dean explain that San Diego Unified stands out because they send parents to collection agencies when payment isn’t received. We break down the numbers in our most recent San Diego Explained.
Opinion: Police Should Investigate Accused Teachers
Following on our stories that revealed several students at La Jolla High complained of unwanted touching from the same teacher, and how the school district denied the existence of any documents relating to their internal investigation, Judy Neufeld-Fernandez believes it’s time the police are brought in. “We must remove ‘investigating’ of sexual assault from school officials and place it squarely where it legally belongs — the San Diego Police Department,” she writes.
DA Moves to Test All Rape Kits
District Attorney Summer Stephan is pushing to have crime labs in the San Diego region perform laboratory analysis on all rape kits that have been collected from victims. Currently there are an estimated 2900 kits that haven’t been analyzed across police agencies, for reasons that police say make the kits not prosecutable or unlikely to solve a crime.
Stephan is pushing to have every kit processed after new guidance from the Department of Justice was issued recommending all DNA evidence be analyzed.
The district attorney joins San Diego’s city attorney in pushing back on San Diego police policies of not automatically testing every kit that is collected.
Cannabis Legalization Whiplash
For years, federal law enforcement agencies have operated under a policy of not interfering with states who have legalized cannabis sales and consumption. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday threw a cold bucket of uncertainty onto the budding cannabis industry by rescinding the policy and instead giving discretion to regional law enforcement leaders on whether to crack down on cannabis shops and users.
It’s not clear how much the policy protected California cannabis operations anyway as it required states to have implemented “strong and effective” regulatory systems for cannabis. The state certainly hasn’t had that for many years and what it does have now is very young.
KPCC talked to a professor who teaches marijuana policy about what the short and long-term effects of the new policy may be.
The gist: What matters now is how U.S. attorneys react. They are the federal prosecutors. Colorado’s U.S. attorney, for example, said nothing will change for now. Colorado’s Republican senator, Cory Gardner, blasted the attorney general.
San Diego does not yet have a permanent U.S. attorney under Trump. The interim one spent his career prosecuting international drug traffickers. The last permanent U.S. attorney in San Diego, Laura Duffy, led a crackdown against unregulated marijuana dispensaries several years ago. Their unregulated status left them quite vulnerable.
A lot has changed since then.
• The third and final “bridge tent” to temporarily house homeless people opened on Thursday. (Union-Tribune)
• In a sign of our unusual times, San Diegans fell all over themselves in December to pay their property taxes super early, giving the county government a nice bump. (Times of San Diego)
• KPBS reports there seems to be less oxygen in the ocean. I’m sure it’s fine.
• San Diego officials have committed to restoring a closed pedestrian bridge and path near La Jolla Cove that has been closed due to instability. (La Jolla Light)
• SDG&E didn’t like that their request to charge San Diego ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars related to the 2007 wildfires was denied, so they’ve asked the same agency to reconsider. (Union-Tribune)
• Sources to 10News say President Trump will be in San Diego next week to check out his border wall prototypes.
• San Diego Magazine has a look back at San Diego’s beer scene in 2017.
• Oops! San Diego’s Chinese Historical Museum forgot to renew ownership of its website, so Chinese search firm Baidu took it over. The museum is working on getting it back. (Union-Tribune)