A southeastern San Diego resident uses Voice of San Diego’s election guide to help her vote on Election Day. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
A southeastern San Diego resident uses Voice of San Diego’s election guide to help her vote on Election Day. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The March 3 primary is just days away and if you’re like many of us, you’re cramming ahead of Election Day.

Good news: We put together a handy reader’s guide to our coverage of the measures and candidates on next week’s ballot.

Our crib sheet includes details on Proposition 13, this election’s sole statewide measure, plus local ballot measures that aim to give voters more say over housing developments, increase hotel taxes to fund a Convention Center expansion and more.

We also tackled the races for San Diego mayor and city attorney and three County Board of Supervisors seats.

Coastal Height Limit Tweak Headed to November Ballot?

Come November, voters could be asked to get rid of a sacrosanct development restriction for a portion of the coastal area.

Council members Jen Campbell and Chris Cate have asked a San Diego City Council committee to consider putting a measure on the November ballot to rescind the 30-foot coastal height limit, approved by voters in 1972 for the area north of downtown, west of I-5, in the Midway, Pacific Highway and Sports Arena communities.

That area has been eyed for increased development for years. In 2018, the city adopted a new outline for growth in the area that made way for 11,000 new homes, twice as many as are there today. The city is also asking developers for proposals to revamp the city-owned property underneath and surrounding the Pechanga Arena, after it strategically timed many of the private leases there to expire simultaneously.

In a memo, Campbell and Cate argue removing the height limit is essential to getting the most out of the area, arguing “any development plans or this city-owned parcel are constrained by the 30-foot height limit.”

“To take full advantage of the vision of the current community plan and with the potential for a mix of entertainment, retail, residential, recreational, public, and park use on this site, the public should have the opportunity to vote to remove the height limit or the entirety of the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planarea,” they wrote.

When the coastal height limit turned 40, we examined the legacy of one of the city’s most impactful land use regulations. Doing so elicited an … uh, impassioned … response, such that then-Councilman Kevin Faulconer felt it necessary to release a statement assuring everyone that there were no plans, of any kind, to change the height limit and that he would never support anything of the sort.

“My sense is it’s working, and it’s working well,” he said then. “It doesn’t need any tweaks.”

Former La Jolla High Students Sue District, Teacher

Four former La Jolla High School students who experienced groping and other unwanted touching by now-retired physics teacher Martin Teachworth from 2003 through 2015 are suing Teachworth and the San Diego Unified School District

Complaints to administrators and investigators at the time went nowhere for years, until the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing opened an investigation and revoked Teachworth’s credential for misconduct last year.

Now, former students Loxie Gant, Emily Mandel, Maura Kanter, and another unnamed woman are seeking redress under a new law written by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez that extended the statute of limitations for child victims of sexual abuse

The lawsuit also calls for big changes at San Diego Unified, including a system to retain records relating to claims of sexual abuse and assault against students, sexual abuse and misconduct training for district administration and managerial staff, the district report every claim of childhood sexual abuse or assault involving a district employee to appropriate authorities and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the termination of San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten. 

““For all those who believe lawsuits are just about money; this lawsuit is different,” Mark Boskovich, one of the attorneys on the case, said at a press conference Thursday. “It is also intended to force the school district to take necessary breach to protect current and former and future students.” 

MTS Eyeing Diversion Program for Fare Enforcement

Metropolitan Transit System officials are considering a diversion program for riders caught evading fares amid criticism of a dramatic spike in ticketing that has outpaced even agencies with far larger riderships.

At a Thursday MTS committee meeting, transit agency staff proposed an initiative that could allow those who fail to pay fares to avoid court time and fines that can total hundreds of dollars.  

Lisa Halverstadt reports that the initial proposal envisions allowing violators to do community service or pay a reduced fare if they opt into the diversion program.

Many details of the program must still be ironed out, and it’s likely months away from implementation.

MTS staffers on Thursday emphasized the need to carefully craft the program to ensure it doesn’t impact the agency’s current low fare evasion rate, while an activist and some board members raised flags about the agency’s limited understanding of how its current enforcement strategy impacts those who receive tickets.

Tackling the Housing Crisis, School Bond Style

Sky-high housing prices are affecting residents and employers across the state, including school districts. Now, as our Will Huntsberry writes in his latest education news roundup, school districts are trying a familiar tack to try to retain teachers struggling to pay for housing: school bonds.

Chula Vista Elementary School District is one of at least four school districts across the state asking voters to sign off next week on bond measures that include funding for teacher housing.

Huntsberry talked to Dale Scott, the consultant behind this new financing approach.

News Roundup

  • San Ysidro School District is suing a vendor it paid $276,000 for an after-school program that never materialized. (Union-Tribune)
  • Voice of San Diego reporter Andrew Keatts appeared on the election preview episode of Matt Strabone’s podcast, Show in Progress.
  • Rady Children’s Hospital believes more than 2,300 patients may have been impacted by a recent security breach. (Fox 5)
  • County health officials report nearly 75 people have died during this year’s flu season. (Patch)
  • KPBS pulls back the curtain on a Navy plan to pursue a new cybersecurity headquarters and a potential partnership with SANDAG that could also bring a transit hub and new housing.
  • A new county program is set to focus on better serving hundreds of San Diegans struggling with addiction who have repeatedly cycled through the county’s Midway psychiatric hospital. (Union-Tribune)
  • City Council President Georgette Gómez’s congressional campaign has filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Democratic rival Sara Jacobs over a mailer that Jacobs’ campaign says it didn’t fund. (Times of San Diego)
  • VOSD’s Kayla Jimenez and NBC 7’s Catherine Garcia teamed to explain how so-called safe parking lots for homeless San Diegans work.

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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