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You might’ve heard, we’ve filed a lawsuit against San Diego State over its refusal to release public records related to its sweeping plan to redevelop the Mission Valley stadium site.

The university has said it will expand its campus, build a river park and a new stadium – all without raising student tuition and fees.

One of the university’s hired consultants told us his company ran a series of models analyzing the risks to students if the university spends $300 million on the land, river park and site preparation. We’ve been trying to obtain those and related documents for months, to no avail.

Most damning to SDSU’s case that it doesn’t have to release the documents, in my view, is the fact that the university did end up releasing some records to us after our attorney intervened and threatened a lawsuit. That’s a pretty clear admission that it was withholding those documents inappropriately.

Now we’d like the rest of them.

San Diego Unified

We settled with the district on a specific issue: San Diego Unified agreed to an email retention policy in which it will keep emails for two years before deleting them.

The rest of the lawsuit, however, in which we’re challenging the district’s routine withholding of public records, is moving forward. A trial date is now set for Nov. 1.

Other School Sexual Misconduct Records

A judge recently agreed with our position that the La Mesa-Spring Valley school district was improperly withholding the names of educators in the school sexual misconduct files we requested. We’re now working on a settlement agreement to close out that case.

SB 1421

We joined several local news outlets to intervene in a lawsuit brought by police unions that are trying to block the release of police misconduct records under a new state law.

They’re arguing that the law doesn’t apply to records created before Jan. 1 – the author of the law, and news outlets up and down the state, disagree.

Army Corps of Engineers

In late 2017, we submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Army Corps of Engineers, seeking documents related to the border wall project.

For a year, the agency did not respond.

We filed suit in November 2018, and sure enough, it seems to have compelled the agency to act – it rolled out one batch of documents, but still owes more. A settlement conference in the case is scheduled for next month in federal court in San Diego.

What VOSD Learned This Week

Thanks to a law passed in 2013, California allows unauthorized immigrants to obtain drivers licenses – but doing so might be exposing them to federal immigration enforcement, thanks to widespread database sharing among law enforcement agencies.

A more recent state law, passed last year, is forcing San Diego to grapple with how little space and resources exist for homeless patients recovering from major health setbacks.

And from existing state laws to a possible future state law: Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez announced a bill inspired by our investigative coverage of sexual misconduct in public schools.

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For a long time as we investigated SANDAG’s flawed forecasts and its decision to mislead voters at the ballot box, officials there insisted they’d still be able to finish the projects they’d already promised voters they’d build. Now, under new leadership, the agency has admitted what our reporting suggested all along: that some projects won’t materialize, and now leaders must decide which ones won’t happen.

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Leave it to Will Huntsberry to make a story about an obscure fiscal agency a truly rollicking read. He also explained why the teachers strikes in Los Angeles and Oakland might not solve the problems educators are taking issue with.

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Elections past: San Diego voters historically have a history of shooting down convention center measures. And here’s a look at how much results in the most recent election changed between Election Night at the final vote tally.

Elections future: On the podcast, we played a weird game to try and nail down the most exciting 2020 races.

What I’m Reading

Line of the Week

“I’m just trying to get some ranch.” – Maybe Kirsten Gillibrand should make this woman her running mate?

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

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