Westview Poway
Westview High School / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Over the last year, Ashly McGlone has revealed some astounding, frustrating stories of harassment and abuse by public school employees from across San Diego County. And in the process, she’s exposed stark patterns when it comes to how schools and districts handle misconduct cases.

Some teachers were quietly reprimanded even as complaints piled up. Rather than terminate problematic employees, some school districts negotiated departure deals and simply paid them to leave, at times agreeing not to tell future employers about substantiated allegations of abuse.

There’s a lot we still don’t know. Several districts have yet to produce the records we requested while others are fighting to keep them secret.

As we continue to pore through the thousands of pages already in our possession, McGlone produced a reader’s guide to help navigate the cases we’ve found so far.

Vacation Rental Measure Qualifies for the Ballot

A referendum to overturn strict new regulations governing short-term rentals has qualified for a San Diego ballot. The San Diego City Council has two options: withdraw its regulations or place the referendum on a future ballot.

In this week’s Politics Report, we wrote about the likelihood the mayor would already pursue an April special election. He’s most interested in the passage of the hotel-room tax increase, which would fund an expansion of the Convention Center, homeless services and road repair.

If that special election happened, the vacation rental referendum could go on that ballot as well.

Share San Diego, a group of hosts, property owners and managers, considers the regulations a de-facto ban because it limits short-term vacation rentals to one’s primary residence and for up to six months a year. Residents or homeowners from out of state would no longer be able to set aside a home for use solely as a vacation rental.

“We believe there’s a better way and look forward to a resolution whether it be by the city or the voters,” the group wrote in a statement.  

If the City Council simply withdraws its new law without sending it to a ballot or if voters throw the new law on vacation rentals out, the Council can’t pass a new one like it for at least a year.

Senate Committee Reprimands Anderson Over Drunken Incident

The Senate Rules Committee, led by Sen. Toni Atkins, sent Sen. Joel Anderson a letter of reprimand this week after an outside investigation by a law firm found he had several drinks at a bar, rubbed a lobbyist’s shoulders, then became agitated and threatened to “bitch slap” the woman. Anderson represents East County.

The investigators found Anderson violated two of the Senate’s standards of conduct. The letter of reprimand scolds Anderson that “Your behavior was completely unacceptable” but that appears to be the extent of the punishment. Anderson is termed out and is running for the state Board of Equalization.

“As the report states, at issue was the context of our conversation. The investigation doesn’t substantiate all the wild claims reported in the press, and I stand by my original statement,” Anderson said in a statement. Anderson originally contended he was speaking to someone else.

Supes Set to Vote on Newland Sierra

A judge on Tuesday rejected efforts by environmentalists to prevent the county Board of Supervisors from voting Wednesday on whether to allow a 2,100-unit housing development near San Marcos known as Newland Sierra. Environmentalists and attorneys for a nearby resort argued the county should be held in contempt of court for ignoring an earlier ruling that temporarily prevents the county from approving certain developments. San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy B. Taylor said he wasn’t going to hold the county in contempt for something it hasn’t done yet.

Low Refugee Numbers Force Budget Cuts at Local Nonprofits

Refugee arrivals in San Diego County, which for many years was one of the top refugee resettlement regions in the state, have remained historically low this year due to unprecedented low refugee caps set by the Trump administration.

The shift has had an impact on the budgets of local nonprofits and other organizations that traditionally serve refugees, reports KPBS.

International Rescue Committee in San Diego told KPBS that it’s had to eliminate 15 positions since 2016 due to drops in federal dollars.

Many organizations have also shifted what they do in response to the budget cuts and low refugee arrivals. IRC, for example, has shifted more resources to helping refugees who are already in the United States. Other organizations said they’ve shifted to providing more immigration and legal services.

Taxpayers Association Weighs in on Local Measures

The San Diego County Taxpayer Association released its positions Tuesday on various ballot measures that will appear around the region.
Two San Diego City Charter amendments related to the disclosure of business interests and the application process for audit committee members got the association’s support. So did an annual parcel tax for fire services in Valley Center, as well as several school bond proposals. San Diego Unified’s school bond did not.

As Scott Lewis reported earlier this month, the group’s decision to endorse some school bond proposals and oppose others caused two of its directors to resign in protest.

The association’s decision to remain neutral on a gas tax repeal drew criticism from the chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County.

Math, Science … and Art?

One North Park artist has been using both math and science to create three-dimensional artwork.

Kinsee Morlan takes a look at a new show opening Saturday where the artist, Kelsey Brooks, uses Fibonacci numbers to create “psychedelic” spirals, ripples and other shapes on canvas.

Morlan also rounds up an exhibit that takes on San Diegans’ complicated relationships with cars, a comic book to teach kids about street safety, a couple of weekend street fairs to check out and more in this week’s Culture Report.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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