The Morning Report
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Because the Otay Mesa Detention Center, the only ICE detention center in San Diego County, is run by a private company, its dealings aren’t as transparent as other government facilities.
But there’s been a surge of interest in and scrutiny of the facility since the Trump administration began its immigration crackdown, and last week’s death of a Cameroonian man who’d been held there only intensified the spotlight.
Meanwhile, a state bill awaiting the governor’s signature seeks to erase private prison companies’ footprint in California.
VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan put together an explainer detailing what we know about the Otay Mesa Detention Center, including its history and recent expansion to accommodate the influx of ICE detainees, its history of complaints about poor medical care and sexual assaults inside the facility and more.
Southwestern Prof Isn’t the First Problem Educator to Keep Teaching
Our story last week on a Southwestern College professor included many details that were shocking: An investigation found he had sex with students in his office, and kept videos of some of those encounters on his work computer, along with nude photos of himself and other students.
But there was a second piece to the story that was also shocking: Southwestern officials agreed not to tell prospective employers about their findings. The professor went on to secure work at San Diego City College (that school recently put him on leave).
Southwestern’s response might have been shocking, but it wasn’t the first time such a calculation has been made in order to remove a problem educator.
As VOSD’s Ashly McGlone notes in a new story, schools around San Diego County have struck similar deals with teachers found to have committed harassment or misconduct – and those teachers, in turn, were able to secure new jobs in the classroom.
City Pressured to Accept Mission Valley Appraisal
The San Diego City Council is meeting today in closed session to discuss ongoing negotiations with SDSU over the sale of the Mission Valley stadium land to the university. The Friends of SDSU sent a rather cryptic letter to Council President Georgette Gómez urging her and her colleagues to accept the appraisal an independent analyst has developed over the value of the land.
It also warned Council members not to monkey with it.
“Introduction of extraneous considerations that are inconsistent with the provisions of voter-approved Measure G or are outside the mutually agreed to guidelines for the appraisal could substantially delay or threaten altogether the successful transfer of this property,” the letter said.
Kenneth Moore, a spokesman for the group, told us the people who signed the letter, including many San Diego leaders, have not seen the appraisal they want the city to accept and they do not know if the city is resisting accepting the analysis. They just want the process to move along.
Not the only tension: The U-T reports that the city has major concerns with SDSU’s environmental review of its proposed construction. To handle the city’s concern, SDSU would have to do major revisions. “One such revision, as requested by the city, amounts to a near redo of the university’s transportation analysis and the associated conclusions,” the paper reports.
A major issue is the long envisioned Fenton Parkway bridge. City officials have now made clear they would expect any new project to build it and that insistence could be a major obstacle for the university and any eventual deal.
City Seeks Proposals to Redevelop Area in Balboa Park
The city on Monday released a request for proposals to redevelop Inspiration Point, a long-overlooked corner of Balboa Park, in hopes of activating the space and making it a moneymaker for the park.
The request calls for the proposer to restore a crumbling city parks building on the site and build “either or a combination of” facilities such as an activity center, restaurant space, a hotel, museum or park-related shops. The city will be accepting proposals until early February.
Park activists have already raised concerns about the proposal, particularly with the prospect of commercial development in the park.
In Other News
- Rep. Duncan Hunter’s federal trial has been postponed again, to Jan. 22. Hunter, who’s accused of inappropriate campaign spending, is trying to get the charges dismissed. (KPBS)
- The majority of reported elder abuse investigations drag on as “open” cases. (NBC San Diego)
- The Supreme Court declined to hear SDG&E’s appeal of a case in which the state Supreme Court ruled the utility couldn’t pass hundreds of millions in costs from the 2007 wildfires on to ratepayers. (Union-Tribune)
In the Politics Report Saturday, we incorrectly calculated the pensions of new sheriff’s deputies using the formula for general employees, who receive a less lucrative benefit. The new pension for new deputies hired anytime after July 1, 2020, will be calculated at 2.5 percent of their salary times the number of years served, compared with 2.7 percent. Roughly, it means a deputy who was hired in 2017 and serves 25 years at an ending salary of $125,000 would have an annual pension starting at $84,375. But a deputy hired after July 2020, with the same number of years and salary, will have a pension starting at $78,125 per year.
The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Scott Lewis.