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A photo of Victor Ray Cruz and his daughter Raeann / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown San Diego has dealt with an exploding number of coronavirus cases but so far only one death: Victor Ray Cruz.

Cruz had been in and out of the criminal justice system since he was 17. His life and his death, according to his attorney, exemplified the failures of that system.

Reporter Maya Srikrishnan and photojournalist Adriana Heldiz met with the family of Cruz to help tell his story. They said Cruz was remembered as a funny guy who cared for others, even by the staff and other inmates at the facility.

Haunted by his last phone call, his sister, Tanya Ruiz, said her brother died because he ended up in a prison system that couldn’t take care of him and others during the pandemic.

“He said they wanted to put him on a ventilator and the people who get put on ventilators don’t get out of it,” Ruiz said. “That’s what breaks my heart the most: that he was scared at the end.”

Schools Are Banking on Prop. 15

Any conversation about a lack of school funding in California usually includes Proposition 13. The iconic ballot measure that passed more than 30 years ago capped the growth of property taxes, which progressives say put an artificial cap on revenue that has hindered educational progress.

This year’s ballot measure, Proposition 15, wouldn’t overturn Prop. 13, but it would change it dramatically by increasing property taxes on big businesses, raising billions for schools and local governments.

In his latest Learning Curve newsletter (sign up here), Will Huntsberry gives us a brief breakdown of the measure and what it could mean for local schools.


San Diego Unified Announces Phase Two Reopening Plan

San Diego Unified announced its plan for phase two reopening Thursday that includes half days for elementary students and two days a week of in-person learning for middle and high school students. 

The district is expected to announce a start date for the beginning of its phase two plan on Tuesday, following the county’s weekly coronavirus update, reports the Union-Tribune. The presentation also included details for stages three and four of the reopening plan, gradually increasing the amount of time students will spend on campus. 

According to the plan, all teachers will return to campus for phase two. We recently reported that, although optional, some schools had no teachers willing to return to campus for the district’s first phase of reopening.

Also in school reopening news … County health officials are reporting a small increase in young children and teens testing positive for COVID-19. According to CBS 8, data shows 125 cases in the past two weeks were children who had been exposed at school.

In Other News

  • If you’re filling out your ballot this weekend, don’t forget about our Ultimate Guide to the Local Election. It’s got all the information you need to decide on local races and ballot measures.
  • The Holiday Bowl’s board of directors announced in a press release that the annual game won’t take place this December. 
  • Amtrack will be requiring reservations for Surfliner trains over the Thanksgiving holiday. (NBC San Diego)

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood, and edited by Sara Libby.

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