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San Diego voters may see a very familiar school bond measure on the November ballot.
San Diego Unified is floating a tax increase to fund a $3.5 billion “Safety & Repair Bond,” and many of the projects proposed as part of the bond are identical to those promised in previous bond measures, reports Ashly McGlone.
Why Past Bond Measures Are Important: If a new tax is approved by at least 55 percent of voters, the 2018 measure would be the third such multibillion-dollar bond benefiting city school facilities in the last decade. The district is already in the midst of a $4.9 billion bond program funded by Propositions S and Z. But some of the district’s bond-funded projects have not stood the test of time, including faulty artificial turf fields and personal technology devices replaced every few years. Courts also found the district illegally spent millions of bond dollars on stadium lights. And other projects put front and center in old ballot measures, like asbestos removal, took a back seat to flashier projects when it came to the district actually spending bond money.
What’s Different About the New Proposal? Several items in the 2018 bond project list signal the district wants money for projects already in the works, like swimming pools, a new district administration center, stadium lights and replacing artificial turf fields. The new language would give the district stronger legal footing to pursue those projects.
What’s next: School board trustees will consider the measure Tuesday, and are scheduled to make a final decision on whether to place it on the ballot July 10.
A new poll touted by School Board Trustee Kevin Beiser suggests San Diegans would support the bond.
In the latest Environment Report, Ry Rivard notes that despite promising to replace old plumbing in both the 2008 and 2012 bond measures, the district hadn’t yet done so at Emerson-Bandini Elementary School, and instead spent $1.7 million on a wireless network and turf field for the campus. Plumbing replacement for Emerson makes a repeat appearance on the proposed 2018 bond project list.
“It’ll be interesting to see if money from this new bond, sold as a way to repair plumbing, will now actually be used to repair plumbing,” Rivard writes.
Where Are the Signatures?
On Friday, leaders of the campaign to put a measure on the ballot to raise the hotel tax and fund an expansion of the Convention Center and homeless services promised that signature-gathering was going well and that they would be turned in Monday.
They were not. What’s more, signature-gatherers were told Monday to keep working at least a few more days. They’re getting $10 per signature if they collect more than 40 in a day.
In a late Monday statement, the campaign said it it had chosen to “be extra careful” and hold off on delivering signatures to the city clerk to ensure it survives the county registrar’s random sampling process. The group did not immediately say when it expected to submit signatures.
The measure is the highest priority of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. The business and labor group behind the measure is pursuing an initiative on the hope that it may only need 50 percent plus one vote to pass.
SD Foundation Parts Ways With CEO
Monday, the San Diego Foundation Board of Directors dismissed Kathlyn Mead, the CEO of the organization. She was close to completing her fourth year.
Late Monday, the Foundation gave us this statement. Three board members are stepping in to run the organization while a new leader is sought.
Vice Chair and Board Secretary Kay Chandler will voluntarily serve as interim CEO during the short-term transition. Immediate Past Chair Connie Matsui will voluntarily serve thereafter as Interim CEO until a permanent CEO and President is identified. Board member Cliff Schireson will serve as Chief Operating Officer.
In an email to stakeholders from the Board Chairwoman Constance Carroll, who is also chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, Carroll said the foundation “experienced a leadership change.” In April, she had sent a questionnaire to board members, donors, staff members and other stakeholders about the direction of the foundation and Mead’s management.
The foundation reported $733 million in assets in 2017, up from $673 million the year before. Carroll said in her email that was now up to $811 million and 48 employees.
Every Vote Counts: Ramirez Now Up — by One Vote — in D8
Also in the Politics Report this weekend, we tracked how Christian Ramirez was closing in on Antonio Martinez for the second spot in the runoff election for San Diego City Council District 8.
Well, now Ramirez is up by one vote. There’s still just 1,300 votes left to count for the whole county, very few for District 8.
Will Soda Companies Back Off?
Chula Vista officials — and supporters of the proposed hotel-tax hike in San Diego — should be watching this story closely over the next several days.
As we’ve reported, an initiative aiming for the November ballot would require all local governments to get two-thirds approval for tax increases. Right now, tax increases that go toward general purposes only require a majority vote.
Proposed and funded by soda companies, the initiative would also be retroactive for this year. So new taxes, like Chula Vista’s just passed sales tax increase, would be thrown out if they didn’t reach that two-thirds threshold for voter approval.
But now, the Sacramento Bee reports that legislators and the soda companies are close to a deal to keep the measure off the ballot and perhaps prohibit individual cities from coming up with their own taxes on sugary drinks. They have until Thursday to work things out.
San Diego Judge Deciding Whether to Halt Family Separations
Citing the “urgent nature” of the American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit against the government to stop family separations, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw on Monday ordered the government to respond to the ACLU by Tuesday morning, a day earlier than scheduled.
On Monday, the ACLU urged Sabraw to block the Trump administration from routinely separating unauthorized immigrant parents from their children and to require the government to reunify families. For children under the age of 5, the government would be required to reunify them with parents within 10 days.
Lots of reporters have been coming to Tijuana to talk to asylum-seekers and evaluate our border:
- Politico looks at how the wall and border enforcement has impacted Tijuana.
- Reuters talked to shelters in Tijuana, Reynosa and Nogales that all report an uptick in migrant asylum-seekers.
- The Los Angeles Times talks with asylum-seekers waiting in Tijuana who have decided to try and plead for asylum in the United States despite everything the U.S. government is doing to try to make it more difficult. One mom decided to stop breastfeeding her 6-month-old in anticipation that her daughter may be taken from her by the government.
- The Desert Sun makes an interesting discovery about many of the migrants seeking asylum at the California border. There are far more Mexicans seeking asylum, fleeing violence in the states of Michoacán and Guerrero. Along the Texas border, asylum-seekers are predominantly Central American.
The Day in Homelessness and Housing Issues
- The City Council will decide Monday whether to approve a $5.5 million loan for the construction of an affordable housing complex for homeless San Ysidro seniors. (KPBS)
- Homelessness downtown, where there have traditionally been large populations of unsheltered people, has dropped but has surged in Hillcrest and Kearney Mesa, according to a Union-Tribune review of how homelessness has waned and surged in neighborhoods across San Diego.
- In a rare move, Pacific Beach residents are fighting a development because it isn’t dense enough. (Union-Tribune)
In Other News
- The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is poised to adopt its biggest budget ever. The Union-Tribune calls it the “something-for-everybody spending plan.” The big budget likely reflects the growing pressure on the county to spend more of its ample cash.
- HBO and Marvel are skipping this year’s Comic-Con, but a spokesman for the huge annual pop-culture convention said it’s no big deal, attributing the occasional absence of big franchises to the “cyclical nature of the convention scene.” (Union-Tribune)
- San Diego State University used at least three consultants to put together its campus expansion plan at the former Qualcomm Stadium site, but the university won’t release information about what those consultants did or how much they got paid, reports the Union-Tribune. KPBS details the possible legal trouble that the SDSU West plan and the competing SoccerCity plan are facing thanks to a rare move by City Attorney Mara Elliot.
- Union-Tribune columnist Logan Jenkins is optimistic about the paper’s new owner, billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong. He writes that the U-T “finally appears to be on the verge of expanding, not contracting.”
- After getting feedback from parents and community members, the Oceanside Unified School District suspended its sex education program for grades K-6, reports the Reader.
The Morning Report was written and compiled by Maya Srikrishnan and Kinsee Morlan, and edited by Sara Libby.