Nichole Burgan told the Sheriff’s Department that Phil Graham touched her inappropriately at the 1st Street Bar in Encinitas. Deputies later determined that never happened. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle
Nichole Burgan told the Sheriff’s Department that Phil Graham touched her inappropriately at the 1st Street Bar in Encinitas. Deputies later determined that never happened. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

When Tasha Boerner Horvath won the 76th Assembly District seat in November, people brought up the race as more proof of a blue wave in Southern California — the seat had previously been held as a Republican.

But the blue wave is far too simple an explanation of what really happened in the 76th District race.

In a new investigative piece, Jesse Marx dug into the strange and damning accusation against Republican Phil Graham in the run-up to the June primary, an accusation police later said was false.

What he found sounds like it came from a conspiracy theory swamp: Not only was there a potentially false accusation of assault from a woman with a history of legal problems, but it was amplified by labor groups and anonymous robocalls that were routed through a Mexican company.

“All of this might have remained hidden from public view if Graham didn’t have the means and incentive to keep pursuing the source of the robocalls, thanks in part to his famous stepfather’s connections,” writes Marx. Graham’s stepfather is former Gov. Pete Wilson.

Graham very well may have lost in June or November regardless of the accusation. But it was a major wrench that had nothing to do with Democrats’ overall success.

What’s on Arts Editors’ Radars Heading Into 2019

Out: Retrospectives on 2018. In: Looking ahead to 2019.

In the latest Culture Report, Julia Dixon Evans hit up several of San Diego’s top arts journalists to pick their brains about what they’re looking forward to in 2019.

Making the list: New showings of classics like “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Nutcracker” as well as well as upcoming installations at ICE Gallery at Bread & Salt, and the Lux Art Institute in Encinitas.

Big Water Decisions Loom

In San Diego, we may never see many of Northern and Central California rivers or the mile-high mountains they flow from, but we consume their parts. For decades, a slice of the San Diego region’s water supply has been brought hundreds of miles south.

In this week’s Environment Report, Ry Rivard looks at how new fish-saving environmental regulations and separate but related deal-making between the state and federal government could change how cities and farmers across Californians share that water.

State water regulators want more water to be left in rivers flowing out to sea, which means potentially less water will be available for Southern California cities.

At the same time, state water officials, who run a giant water system that mainly supplies water to coastal cities like San Diego, have been renegotiating how they share water with the federal government, which runs a separate water system that mainly supplies Central Valley farmers. This may also mean less water available for Southern California, though water officials have said the cuts are manageable.

New Minimum Wage, Old Debates

The minimum wage within the city of San Diego went up to $12 per hour this week. The Union-Tribune surveyed restaurant owners for how they were grappling with the increases. It included this finding.

“For each of the last nine months, there has been a year-over-year decrease in the total number of jobs at bars and restaurants, while statewide there has not been a corresponding decline, according to data compiled by San Diego economist Lynn Reaser.”

The piece triggered some blowback online. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez dinged the reporter for not including any perspective from workers who had benefited from the raises. It turned into a heated argument as U-T reporters defended their colleague.

More News

Happy New Year

Thank you so much to the hundreds of readers and podcast listeners who donated to Voice of San Diego over the last several weeks. The messages you have included with your donations  have been inspiring, funny and great reminders of why we do this work. The point of a nonprofit newsroom like ours is to tie its future — it’s ability to thrive and survive — to you, the community at large. It’s the beauty of how the service is set up. It just won’t do well unless you value it and keep passing along feedback we can use to make it better.

This year, we have a goal to reach more people than ever, do more investigative work than ever, take more risks and be more entertaining and educational. Thank you to everyone who provided the resources to help us do that.

And if you haven’t yet donated, you can always help us get started quickly on 2019’s goals.

To a prosperous, safe and better 2019,

Scott Lewis

CEO, Editor in Chief

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Scott Lewis.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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