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Students head into Hoover High School. / Photo by Dustin Michelson

Five years ago, an explosive audit of La Jolla High School’s ASB funds — student funds amassed from things like bake sales, school carnivals and football games — revealed major problems and disarray.

Superintendent Cindy Marten, who was brand new to the job, “pledged that the district will provide training to the individuals who oversee ASB programs across the district.”

Fast-forward five years and a more extensive audit of 24 schools in the district shows the funds are often mismanaged and used on things that don’t directly benefit students, reports Will Huntsberry.

“The problems that particularly goaded [district audit committee head Dan McAllister] and other committee members were the comingling of ASB accounts with teacher accounts, the most widespread problem identified in the audit and inappropriate expenditures, which included spending money on teacher development, an item that is budgeted for in the regular district spending plan,” Huntsberry reports.

And it looks like that training Marten promised hasn’t happened.

“We spend thousands of dollars on auditing ASB accounts and it’s still a problem,” a former audit committee member told VOSD. “They come in here every time and say, ‘Oh we need to train them better.’” He added, “It’s hard to find who has been held accountable on the issue.”

New SDSU Prez Lays Out Her Vision

Adela de la Torre, SDSU’s new president, has been making the media rounds since she took the reins at the university, and she spoke with VOSD contributor David Coddon about her vision in a Q-and-A.

She said her experience serving through a scandal at UC Davis that eventually led to the ouster of the school’s president taught her it’s dangerous to be an arrogant leader.

“It is important to be humble for anyone in administration, to recognize that your role is as servant to the people,” she said.

And, naturally, she said she’s a fan of the SDSU West to redevelop the stadium site in Mission Valley.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for expansion. We are really landlocked within the context of the lack of ability to grow for students,” she said.

Two Twists in Mission Valley Saga

The ongoing faceoff between competing proposals to redevelop the former Chargers stadium site in Mission Valley got two surprising announcements Monday.

One was the announcement by Peter Seidler, managing partner of the Padres, that he is officially neutral on the question and has not sided with either project over the last 16 months. That’s surprising because Seidler had been touted by SoccerCity, the plan to redevelop the property into an urban neighborhood situated around a new soccer stadium, as a partner in its project. The U-T has previously described him as a partner as well.

“While I financially and conceptionally backed Soccer City in 2016 and early 2017 based on my reasoned assumption that SDSU leadership, San Diego political leadership and Soccer City would collaborate on a modern stadium, it both surprised and disappointed me that common ground could not be found,” Seidler said in a statement.

The other was an announcement by Bryan Pease, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council in the spring, that he is supporting SoccerCity for an unusual reason: SDSU West, an alternative proposal that would revamp the area as an expansion for SDSU, “will likely lead to more animal testing,” he wrote in an email to supporters. He said that’s because SDSU West is eyeing expanded research space, “which at SDSU includes cruel animal experiments.”

Speaking of San Diego’s never-ending land use fights… The city worked out a deal giving itself 30 more days to figure out whether it must soon pay the developers of a piece of land crucial to a waterfront expansion of the Convention Center.

That means the $5 million deposit the city agreed to and other commitments won’t need to be made until after the registrar of voters finishes the full count of the citizens’ initiative signatures, which will determine whether a measure to finance the Convention Center expansion makes the 2020 ballot. The registrar’s deadline is Sept. 20. The new deadline to pay the developers is Sept. 25.

Colorado River Doomsday Could Hit in 2020

2020 could be an ominous year for western states that rely on the Colorado River: The river could get so low by then that it could force shortages in places like Arizona and Nevada, according to new projections. California officials could voluntarily give up some rights to the river in order to stave off a disaster in other states.

Ry Rivard breaks down what the situation means for the various states and governments that depend on the Colorado River in this week’s Environment Report.

The Union-Tribune, meanwhile, reports that a private company has plans in the work to build a sewage treatment plant and aqueduct that could treat Tijuana wastewater and send it to the Guadalupe Valley, which needs water to keep producing wine.

In Other News

  • County lawyers didn’t get permission to file an appeal of a judge’s decision to put a countywide election reform measure on the November ballot until after the appeal had already been rejected. (Union-Tribune)
  • The New York Daily News is one of many local newsrooms across the country that’s been hemorrhaging money and staffers. A columnist there is looking to VOSD’s former publisher Mary Walter-Brown to inject New York news sites with new ideas, and in the process, discusses some of Voice of San Diego’s history.
  • Electric scooters are thriving in San Diego. (U-T)
  • President Donald Trump jumped into the race to replace Rep. Darrell Issa, writing on Twitter late Monday that Diane Harkey, the Republican nominee, is “an extraordinary woman of accomplishment & potential.” He said she has his “total endorsement.” Harkey’s campaign against Democrat Mike Levin to represent California’s 49th District, spanning north San Diego County and southern Orange County, will be one of November’s most closely watched in the battle for control of the House.

Your Official State Sport, California

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed into law a bill that decrees surfing is the state of California’s official sport.

In recent years, Brown has also signed bills declaring denim the state’s official fabric, the Augustynolophus morrisi the state’s official dinosaur and not one but four state nuts — the almond, pecan, walnut and pistachio.

It’s not all surfing and walnuts, though.

Among the batch of bills signed by Brown on Monday are a handful from San Diego lawmakers, including a measure by Assemblyman Brian Maienschein that allows for stiffer civil penalties against child sex purchasers and traffickers, and a bill from Assemblywoman Shirley Weber that prevents male prison guards from patting down female inmates and from entering areas where they might be undressed.

Correction

When it was initially published yesterday, our story on mismanaged ASB funds misspelled the name of Dan McAllister, the county’s treasurer and head of the San Diego Unified School District’s audit committee.

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Andrew Keatts.

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