The Housing Commission invested $1.3 million in inclusionary housing fees in the downtown Hotel Churchill project, which also relied on other funding streams to support 72 affordable housing units for formerly homeless people. / Photo by Dustin Michelson

Developers in San Diego and other cities typically have a choice: set aside some homes in their projects for low-income residents, or cut the city a check that the city can use to build low-income units itself.

Over the last 15 years, the city has collected some $120 million in fees this way from developers. About 25 percent of the money the city has spent hasn’t gone to building new affordable homes, but to housing-related services instead, according to a new analysis from VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt.

At the same time, Democrats on the City Council, led by Councilwoman Georgette Gomez, are pushing the city to tweak the policy to force developers to build more homes as part of their projects.

The city has to date used the money it collects to help subsidize some 2,000 affordable units, with another 775 on the way.

Reports Slam Detainee Conditions, Family Separation Policy

The Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General came out with a series of scathing reports Tuesday.

One dug into conditions at the Adelanto Immigration and Customs Enforcement Processing Center, roughly 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles, which detains many asylum-seekers and immigrants arrested in San Diego.

VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan explains some of the most disturbing aspects of the report, including nooses found hanging in detainees’ cells, the use of disciplinary solitary confinement for detainees who hadn’t been found to have broken any rules and inadequacies in medical and dental care.   

Another report looked at family separations and zero tolerance at the border, and found the policy was poorly planned and executed. The report found that the department detained hundreds of minors longer than legally allowed, gave inconsistent, incomplete and even misleading information to their parents and could not provide basic data on the separated families because there was no unified system to track which parents belonged to which children.

The report also found that although the government encouraged people to request asylum at ports of entry, Customs and Border Protection officials ended up turning people away because of capacity issues. Even officials acknowledged that this may have driven people to cross illegally, according to the report.

In other border news …

In this week’s Culture Report, Kinsee Morlan looks at plans an activist group is working on to build a large sculpture and public plaza in San Ysidro to welcome immigrants entering the country. They hope it’s visible to those waiting in Tijuana to cross in the United States.

Sen. Kamala Harris and two senators from New Mexico introduced a bill to start pilot programs for ICE and Border Patrol agents to wear body cameras.

The Hardest Schools to Get Into in San Diego Unified Are Neighborhood Schools

San Diego Unified’s school choice application window is now open. Parents have until Nov. 13 to apply to enroll their kids in any of the district’s 170 schools for next school year. We have a handy guide that can help.

But some of the district’s schools are really hard to get into, reports the Union-Tribune. And these aren’t the district’s language immersion programs or magnet schools. They’re neighborhood schools.

The school with the lowest acceptance rate was Holmes Elementary in Clairemont Mesa, where more than 200 kids applied for zero non-resident spots, the U-T found. La Jolla Elementary had 281 applicants for one non-resident spot. La Jolla High was the most competitive high school, with a 6 percent acceptance rate.

This kind of thing happens at other districts, whose choice windows open later than San Diego Unified’s. Sweetwater Unified School District, for example, flags the schools with no enrollment capacity for parents. In past years, this has included many schools on the eastern side of Chula Vista.

  •       KPBS takes a look at the school board race in San Diego Unified Sub-District B, which spans from Scripps Ranch to City Heights, but will be voted on citywide. Incumbent Kevin Beiser and write-in candidate Tom Keliinoi, a businessman, will face off, but a lawsuit was filed last week to reform school board elections and seeks to block this year’s vote until a decision on the reforms is made.  

School Districts Use Shootings, Lead to Sell Bond Measures

San Diego Unified is not alone in seeking a new school bond this November to fund new construction and repairs – about 90 districts across the state are doing the same thing.

Nor is San Diego Unified unique in seizing on national crises like school shootings and the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan, to make the case for its new bond.

The district used photos highlighting Flint and the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, when it pitched the school board on the latest bond measure.

“At least 50 school district bond measures have ballot wording—some of them share exact phrasing—that explicitly states the bond funding would go toward improving schools’ safety and security systems,” CALmatters reports.

Using recent school shootings in order to appeal to voters “is just a predatory tactic by people who want to get something passed,” one bond watchdog told CALmatters. “Many of these schools have had safety (and security projects) on their previous bond measures.”

Indeed, many of the projects San Diego Unified says it will fund with the new school bond it’s pitching also appeared verbatim on previous bond project lists.

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

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