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Philanthropists who have for years pushed for a major Balboa Park overhaul have officially backed away from their years-long campaign to clear cars from the park’s central mesa.
The Plaza de Panama Committee led by Qualcomm cofounder Irwin Jacobs notified the city on Thursday that it would end its public-private agreement with the city to make the project a reality, our Lisa Halverstadt reports.
The decision follows higher-than-expected construction bids and a cold reception from City Councilman Chris Ward, who represents the area. The committee had recently scrambled to try to cobble together a pared-back initial phase of the Plaza de Panama project in hopes of getting the controversial project to the finish line. Ward wasn’t into the idea.
The death of the Plaza de Panama project is likely to spur discussion about the city’s longstanding struggle to pull in major donations for a crumbling park with a long list of needs.
Air & Space Museum CEO Jim Kidrick, a member of the Plaza de Panama Committee, said Thursday he feared the death of the project could give future philanthropists pause. The city doesn’t have major success stories to share, he said.
“It benefits our community when they can see visibly when projects like this (that) are complete, that you have success,” Kidrick said.
Others including Bruce Coons of Save Our Heritage Organisation, a group that fought the project for years, say they hope the city and park leaders will use the situation as a lesson to better establish park needs and work with philanthropists on projects with broad community support.
Teachers Union Calls for Beiser Resignation
The San Diego Education Association, the teachers union for the San Diego Unified School District, has officially called for Trustee Kevin Beiser’s resignation.
“Mr. Beiser should be given every opportunity to defend himself against these allegations,” said Kisha Borden, SDEA’s president, in a press release. “However, the seriousness of the allegations and the need to fully investigate them makes it impossible for the students, educators and families of San Diego Unified District B to have any confidence in his ability to represent them. We hope Mr. Beiser chooses to do the right thing and steps down as a school board member immediately.”
Four men detailed to Voice of San Diego unwanted sexual conduct they experienced from Beiser. One of them has filed a lawsuit outlining his allegations. Beiser issued a brief statement proclaiming his innocence but has otherwise stayed silent.
SDEA, which had endorsed Beiser’s re-election campaigns, joins a host of other former Beiser allies calling on him to step down. The Democratic Party, the San Diego Unified school board and a group of other LGBTQ electeds have all done the same.
How Porter Elementary Got Its Name
In this week’s Learning Curve, VOSD’s Will Huntsberry talks to the daughter of Porter Elementary School’s namesake, who said that the school’s struggles – which Huntsberry detailed last week – would have her father “turning in his grave.” Huntsberry sheds light on how the school came to be named after Porter, which itself is a story “rooted in [the school’s] difficulty to thrive.”
Also in the Learning Curve: San Diego Unified board members decided to revisit their decision to force people who want to comment at board meetings on issues other than those on the official agenda to wait hours until the end of each meeting. After reconsidering, the board stuck with its original decision to make people wait.
Most of So-Called ‘Sanctuary’ Laws Upheld
On Thursday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld most of three laws passed by the state of California intended to buffer federal immigration enforcement in the state.
The laws include the California Values Act, or SB 54, which created a firewall between local law enforcement and immigration enforcement. Two other laws dealt with workplace immigration enforcement, which has been on the rise, and California’s ability to oversee federal immigration detention centers located in the states.
The 9th Circuit did conclude, however, that one part of a law allowing California officials to conduct inspections at immigration detention facilities “impermissibly burdens the federal government” and was thus struck down. The provision would have allowed California officials to examine the circumstances surrounding the apprehension and transfer of immigration detainees.
- A new report finds that San Diego County has some of the highest numbers of ICE community arrests in the country. (KPBS)
In Other News
- After waves of criminal justice reforms, prosecutors are trying new tactics in plea-bargained cases, which require defendants to give up any rights they have in the future to seek lower sentences if the state Legislature or courts change laws under which they were sent to prison. (Union-Tribune)
- A UCSD eye doctor broke human research rules while conducting studies, putting patients at risk for years. (inewsource)
- In the first three months of this year, Rep. Duncan Hunter’s campaign spent about $30,000 on lawyers and hundreds of dollars at the Trump International hotel in Washington, D.C. and at a liquor store on Hunter’s birthday. (Union-Tribune)
- The city of San Diego plans to use $23 million to repair roads with a slurry seal fix, a mix of asphalt, sand and rock used to coat over areas of a road as an alternative to resurfacing streets, NBC San Diego reports. If you want to know more about how the city decides which streets get repaired, we’ve got you covered.
- San Diego State University will now prohibit freshman living on campus from having cars. (Union-Tribune)
Wednesday’s North County Report cited an old policy when describing Poway’s email retention practices. The city now keeps emails for two years.
The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.