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After he was forced out of his job at Mission Middle School in Escondido, Joshua French went on to teach as a substitute in Vista Unified and Murrieta Valley Unified School Districts while his credential was in the process of being revoked. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

California teachers accused of abusing students or sexually harassing colleagues may remain in classrooms for years, thanks to a cumbersome process handled by the state’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Will Huntsberry and Kayla Jimenez report that educators regularly stay in the classroom for two and a half years or more – the median is 888 days – while the slow adjudication process of determining whether to revoke their credential goes forward. The commission had nearly 3,000 open cases, though not all of those involve classroom misconduct.

Some teachers have already been investigated in one district and may be teaching in others, while the commission investigates them. In some of the worst cases, teachers who have harmed children remain in the classroom for months or years.

California lawmakers tried and failed to address the issue for the most egregious cases of sexual misconduct and child abuse last year.

California requires school districts to complete a criminal background check before hiring an employee. These background checks net convicted abusers, but they also allow many to slip through the cracks, said Terri Miller, president of the non-profit group Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation.

“Too many teachers are passed quietly from district to district, even though they have already been investigated, and their district found that they committed abuse, but they were never charged with a crime,” Miller said.

The story is part of our ongoing investigation of teacher misconduct in area schools.

City Leaders Doing Things, Pt. 1: Pushing for Fewer Parking Spots

New parking standards proposed by downtown business leaders would reduce the number of spaces included in future developments, the Union-Tribune reports. At the larger city level, meanwhile, San Diego’s planning commission voted unanimously to eliminate parking minimums for new apartment and condo buildings near major transit stations, KPBS reports.

With these efforts, officials are trying to incentivize the construction of more housing while meeting the city’s greenhouse gas reduction goals by encouraging residents to get out of their cars. As Lisa Halverstadt has noted, these types of proposals assume that developers will go on to deliver homes at a lower cost.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who’s been a proponent of fewer parking requirements, told KPBS that approximately one of every four new units should be affordable if the region is going to meet its housing needs.

City Leaders Doing Things, Pt. 2: Stepping Up Pressure on Planning Groups

KPBS also reports that San Diego’s 42 community planning groups, which make recommendations on developments and infrastructure improvements, practice wildly inconsistent record-keeping and often lack the training and support necessary to do their jobs, according to the city’s independent auditor.

Councilman Scott Sherman told KUSI that the city has not done a job overseeing the groups and has not done enough to encourage a diversity of viewpoints. Many groups, he said, are made up of single-family homeowners, crowding out the voices of businesses and renters.

After a transportation and housing advocate made a similar point last year in a VOSD op-ed, three members of the SoNo Neighborhood Alliance pushed back. “Trying to pit renters against homeowners, or seniors against millennials, shows a complete unfamiliarity with residential quality-of-life issues,” they wrote.

Fast Times at Robb Field

Astute observers of the Ocean Beach scene may have already know Robb Field is a place for various indiscretions. But now, as 10 News reports, parents are fed up that the athletic fields, skate park and tennis club are surrounded by bongs, needles, naked women and fighting men.

“I hear that what has happened is that when the hepatitis outbreak occurred, that it pushed the homeless people who are drug users toward us,” Jamie Reid, president of the Peninsula Youth Softball Association, told the station.

He said the fight between the two men as 10-year-old girls were practicing nearby was the final straw.

In Other News

  • Unlike most politicians in Sacramento, Gov. Gavin Newsom seems aware that San Diego is a place. We can’t say for sure, though. He was here Thursday to talk with local leaders about providing more aid to asylum-seekers.
  • City News Service reports that an Escondido high school teacher was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sexually abusing teenagers.
  • Firefighter Aaron Brennan formally announced his 2020 candidacy for the San Diego City Council’s District 1 seat. (Times of San Diego)
  • San Diego takes more than a month to resolve the average pothole complaint, but the wait time increases depending on location. For instance, requests coming from City Council District 2, which includes the tourist-filled beach communities, are resolved at least a week faster than those in District 6, which includes Mira Mesa. (Union-Tribune)
    Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he’ll talk cross-border sewage flows with diplomats when he visits Mexico City in March. Earlier this week, San Diego joined a lawsuit brought by Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego against the federal government. (KPBS)
  • A Superior Court judge ruled that San Diego restaurants can legally add a surcharge to diners’ bills for labor costs. (Union-Tribune)
  • As California’s troubled Department of Motor Vehicles prepared to automatically register people to vote, top state election officials asked the department to delay its rollout because the DMV wasn’t ready to handle the responsibilities, the Sacramento Bee reports. The DMV went ahead anyway and has since acknowledged making 105,000 registration errors since last spring. (Sacramento Bee)
  • Hackers attempt to break into SDG&E’s computer systems on a daily basis. “There’s always some type of an intrusion attempt daily,” Zoraya Griffin, the company’s emergency operations manager, told CALmatters. “It’s not a matter of if we have them, but how many.” (CALmatters)
  • The Otay Water District is gearing up to sell the former Salt Creek Golf Course. Although it failed to turn a profit, golfers around the South Bay, including local high school coaches, asked the district to keep the course open. (Union-Tribune)

The Morning Report was written by Ry Rivard and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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