Coronado High School / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The scene of Coronado High School supporters throwing tortillas following a basketball victory over a largely Latino team was shocking enough to catapult it into national news.

But one aspect of the ordeal has felt pretty familiar, as VOSD’s Kayla Jimenez lays out in a new story.

Coronado community members and even the town’s mayor have rallied to the defense of the team’s coach, who was swiftly fired by the school board. It’s not the first time the community has mobilized to support a Coronado High coach under fire. 

“The Coronado school board has dealt with at least three other coaching scandals at the high school in the last five years,” Jimenez reports. “And in at least two of those instances, community members rallied to the coaches’ defense and pushed back against pressure to fire them.”

The cases are all unique, as are the individual coaches’ responses. But together, they “underscore Coronado’s record of maintaining decorated, sought-after athletics and extracurricular programs – and show just how determined some community members and school alumni are to protect them,” Jimenez writes.

Many of the community members who rallied to defend Randall Burgess and Martin Gallegos, for example, who were both accused of sexual misconduct, emphasized the success and prestige they’d brought to the school.

Those Outdoor Dining Structures (Don’t) Have to Come Down (Yet)

As 10News reported, Tuesday is the deadline for restaurants to get into compliance with their outdoor dining structures. Or … it was the deadline. The city has given them a break. 

Background: Restaurants have been allowed to have tables and chairs and a fence outside, on city streets, as per the city’s temporary permission for outdoor dining, but they were not allowed to build elaborate overhead structures. You may have noticed that many did build elaborate overhead structures. 

Those were supposed to be coming down, but late Tuesday the mayor’s office confirmed to VOSD that restaurants would have another month to comply. The city is delaying enforcement of the rule. 

When VOSD’s Mackenzie Elmer dove into the dilemma, she found that when outdoor dining was all that was allowed, many restaurants and cafes pounced. But the city had only allowed them to be in city rights of way — streets and sidewalks, etc. The city had provided even a model design for how to put a platform down to level out the new dining area. 

But some restaurants took that far and built nice structures with overhead lighting, plants and heaters — none of which were ever permitted. And those are what must come down. Elmer also tracked Little Italy’s particular peril with this decision. India Street was transformed into even more of a walkable plaza experience.  

“People put a lot of money into these structures,” Marco Li Mandri, chief executive administrator of the Little Italy Association, told Elmer. “We’d like to keep them forever.”

Neighborhood and business leaders had been under the impression that the structures complied with all rules. But building things in California is not easy. 

From Elmer: “California state building code has a ton of rules and requirements for a structure that’s expected to stay put. Permanent buildings require engineering and architectural studies, and compliance with state fire codes, the American Disabilities Act and environmental regulations.”

The city has a fire official, Fire Chief Doug Perry, whose job it is not to follow the mayor’s orders but to make sure buildings comply with state law. If there’s a terrible fire and a structure wasn’t in compliance, he’s the guy who would have to answer for it. And he said they’re not in compliance. 

Next: Via 10News, “The city is expected to release a permanent outdoor business plan this fall, called Spaces as Places.”

Gompers Teachers Union Says it Has a Deal

It was a long (long, long) time coming, but the Gompers Teachers’ Association – the newly formed union representing teachers at Gompers Preparatory Academy charter school in southeastern San Diego – says it has reached a collective bargaining agreement. The deal “creates a more competitive starting salary” and “keeps active supervision before and after school,” the group wrote in a Facebook post. The union is organized with the California Teachers Association and San Diego Education Association.

Gompers’ teachers union faced trouble from its inception, as Ashly McGlone reported in early 2020. A group of teachers sought to dismantle the union. Meanwhile union organizers filed complaints with the state that said school leaders retaliated against teachers leading the union push. 

The contentious push to unionize Gompers is part of a larger trend of charter schools in the region pushing to unionize. Teachers at the prestigious Preuss School at UCSD formed a union in 2017, and the High Tech High system of charters, the largest in the region, is currently organizing to form a teachers union.

In Other News

Which Brings Us to …

… If you’re alarmed about the Colorado River shortages and other aspects of California’s drought, this piece wisely warns you not to deal with drought-induced anxiety by doing drugs.  

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Scott Lewis.

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