101 Ash St. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The landlord of 101 Ash St. is accusing the city of violating its lease – and not just for failing to pay rent but for failing to notify it of renovations made to the building that likely triggered county asbestos violations.

101 Ash LLC, the entity created to facilitate a lease-to-own deal with the city, filed a notice of claim against the city last month for its failure to pay the nearly $535,000 rent it owes each month, reports VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt.

Along with that notice, which is considered a precursor to a lawsuit, La Jolla attorney Michael H. Riney sent a letter alleging a series of other breaches.

Riney alleged that the city did not seek the landlord’s consent to alter the building with renovations exceeding $2 million and that the city did not provide invoices for work funded by a $5 million tenant improvement allowance from the developer. Finally, Riney said the city did not maintain a contract with an outside company to manage the property.

City Attorney Mara Elliott’s office disputed the claims this week, telling Halverstadt that the city “disagrees with Mr. Riney’s characterization of this transaction and the allegations made in his letter and has sought court intervention.”

Pete Wilson Statue Gone … for Now

The nonprofit that removed its downtown statue of former San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson this week said it did so to protect the piece, and believes it represents all that’s great about San Diego.

Monday, a small group of activists for racial justice and equality held a press event and demanded that the statue be taken down.

Sometime between Wednesday and Thursday, the nonprofit that owns the statue did just that.

“All property … whether statues or real property … must be protected. With this in mind, we have decided to secure and protect the statue in a place of safe keeping,” Stephen B. Williams, the president of Horton Walk, a nonprofit that owns the statue, told VOSD in an email.

The group raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and placed the statue outside of Horton Plaza in 2007 but protests dogged them even that day. Wilson is widely credited as the most effective politician in modern San Diego history, who transformed downtown and set in motion the political culture that still has many lingering attributes of his leadership. But he went on to become governor, a perch from which he articulated major misgivings and fear about immigration.

Ultimately, he promoted Proposition 187, a measure that would have vastly curtailed the inclusion of unauthorized immigrants in California life, barred them from schools and other social benefits. It’s widely seen as the beginning of the demise of the California Republican Party and its ability to connect with Latino voters. Some have also pointed out how the proposition also galvanized young Latinos and got them active in politics in ways we’re still seeing the impacts of.

“He is a purveyor of hate,” said Enrique Morones, a Latino rights leader, according to the Union-Tribune.

Williams didn’t acknowledge that perspective when detailing the statue’s removal.

“As mayor in the ‘70s, Pete established the redevelopment agency to attract investment to our blighted urban core. Today, fifty years later we San Diegans have one of the most beautiful waterfront cities in the world,” Williams wrote.

But he said the statue’s future is uncertain.

“No decision has been made at this time as to when or if the statue will be returned,” he said.

In Other News

  • San Diego County must find a way to lower its coronavirus positivity rates in regions with lower income levels, air quality issues and limited access to healthy food if it wants to move to a less restrictive tier in the state’s reopening system. (Union-Tribune)
  • A first-of-its-kind survey released Thursday by the San Diego Refugee Communities Coalition details how deeply the pandemic has impacted immigrants and refugees across the region, including issues with health care and education, and imperiled basic needs such as housing, food and physical safety. (inewsource)
  • The San Diego region is projected to lose $12.4 billion in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new SANDAG report. (City News Service)
  • Joe Leventhal and Marni Von Wilpert are both lawyers running for San Diego’s District 5 City Council seat, but have very different positions on some of the city’s biggest issues, including its COVID response, police reform and the role of the city attorney’s office. (KPBS)
  • San Diego Unified will eliminate non-academic factors, such as student behavior, from academic grades to address racial and other disparities in current grading practices. (Union-Tribune) 
  • Interfaith Community Services purchased a motel in Escondido to provide additional housing for North County’s homeless. (KPBS) 
  • San Diego’s independent auditor, who examines city operations in search of cost-saving improvements or improper practices, has asked the City Council to allow him to hire an independent attorney so he doesn’t have to rely on legal advice from the city attorney’s office. The request comes after the auditor said the city attorney’s office declined to opine on whether certain city practices were legal, and withheld certain documents the auditor had requested during a review. (Union-Tribune)
  • The city has resumed parking regulation enforcement. Go move your car, if it is parked somewhere in which it is not allowed to be parked, so that you do not get a ticket that you will then have to pay, which will cost money and generally be a bummer that is better avoided, if at all possible. (Patch)

The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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