Abraham Lincoln High School / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

What began as a series of questions about the status of Lincoln High, perhaps San Diego Unified’s most closely watched school, has escalated into a fiery, contemptuous back-and-forth between the city councilwoman who represents the area, Monica Montgomery Steppe, and the school board trustee who represents the area, Sharon Whitehurst-Payne. 

All of the players involved have accused the others of not having a sufficient understanding of the school’s history and inner workings.

To help you better understand the debate and the school’s fraught history, Will Huntsberry and Sara Libby have annotated many of the elected officials’ missives, adding context and history to the claims.

Whitehurst-Payne, for example, defended the school’s current principal by describing a big increase in college readiness among the school’s Black students. She’s correct about the numbers. But she did not mention that those gains happened before Stephanie Brown became principal. The same numbers actually went down a point after Brown took over.

County to Consider New Office of Immigrant Affairs

During his campaign run in 2018, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher promised to create an office of immigrant affairs to provide resources to one of the largest refugee resettlement communities in the state. But the pandemic and the board’s previous Republican-majority delayed the effort. 

Now, Maya Srikrishnan writes, Fletcher and supervisor Nora Vargas are moving the proposal along, confident they can get a third vote. An immigrant herself, Vargas said she feels a personal responsibility to create a more welcoming environment for others and hopes the new office will build trust. 

The Board of Supervisors has done a 180 on immigration issues in recent months. As Srikrishnan notes: “It now supports bills like one aiming to stop transfers between state prisons and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and approved a program to provide free legal defense to people detained and facing deportation.”

The Legal Fight Over Measure C Begins

The legal wrangling over whether hotel-tax Measure C passed has officially begun.

The city and nonprofit Alliance San Diego, joined by two advocates, filed separate lawsuits on Friday on whether the city should proceed with the tax increase to fund a Convention Center expansion, homeless initiatives and road repairs.

Measure C in March 2020 pulled in less than the two-thirds vote typically required for special tax measures, but the City Council decided in April to declare that Measure C passed. City officials made that call in the wake of a 2017 Supreme Court ruling that raised the possibility that citizens’ measures might only need a majority vote to pass. The state high court has now declined to review three Bay Area appellate court rulings that citizens’ initiatives passed absent a two-thirds vote.

Now San Diego’s court battle is set to begin.

City attorneys on Friday filed a validation case in San Diego Superior Court that invites other parties to challenge the city’s push to enact the hotel-tax hike and asks a judge to rule on whether it should proceed.

Mayor Todd Gloria has said – and the suit restates – that the city will not implement the tax increase without a favorable court ruling.

Hours earlier, nonprofit Alliance San Diego announced that it had joined with homeless advocate Michael McConnell and its board president Isidro D. Ortiz to file its own suit arguing that the City Council overstepped by declaring Measure C passed.

Andrea Guerrero of Alliance San Diego said she expects a Superior Court judge will ultimately combine the two cases.

The city attorney’s office has said it expects a ruling in the Superior Court case within a year. Any appeals, which have followed citizens’ initiatives elsewhere in the state, would extend that timeline.

Politics Roundup

  • In trying to limit how much money people with rooftop solar panels can make, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez made an equity argument. She said poorer Californias would be left to pay for the traditional energy grid as more solar users came online. Environmentalists said the bill would have crippled the solar industry. That bill died last week, and Sara Libby and MacKenzie Elmer have more on the solar debate in the Sacramento Report
  • Over on the podcast, our hosts talk about the politics of housing, which was at the center of the failed recall of Council President Jen Campbell, and explain how one Senate bill could impact availability of homes. 

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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