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Civic Center Plaza / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Lenders behind the city’s Civic Center Plaza lease trying to evict the city are arguing that they can’t be punished for an alleged conflict of interest that they didn’t know about.

Lisa Halverstadt reports that the lenders claim they weren’t aware of Cisterra Development’s $9.4 million in payments to former volunteer city real estate adviser Jason Hughes — payments that the city argues should void the Civic Center and 101 Ash St. leases.

The lenders’ argument relies on Government Code Section 1092.5, which lays out that deals involving a “good faith lessee, purchaser or encumbrancer” who didn’t know there was a violation of that anti-corruption law can’t be quashed.

Lawyers for both parties will debate the issue in San Diego Superior Court next week before a judge presiding over the eviction case. While a spokeswoman for City Attorney Mara Elliott’s office said the city doesn’t believe the Civic Center Plaza lenders are protected, multiple attorneys told Halverstadt that the lenders’ argument may be viable.

When a Universal Program Doesn’t Have Space for Everyone

Families – and politicians – across San Diego celebrated recently when they learned the San Diego Unified School District planned to offer transitional kindergarten to all students in the district several years ahead of California’s plan to do the same.

Previously, transitional kindergarten, or TK, was available only to kids who turned 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2 of that school year. San Diego Unified’s new plan would take the program universal – every kid in the district would get to attend public school during their age-4 year.

But after the praise came pouring in, parents on the ground are having a hard time finding space for their kids in this would-be universal offering.

Will Huntsberry, in his latest version of the Learning Curve, breaks down the problems parents are encountering, and how schools are explaining it. A principal at OB Elementary, for instance, sent an email to parents outlining that the school could offer only one TK class, with 24 spots, all of which were already full. That left one parent with a child who qualified forced to look for space at a school other than the one whose district she lives in, where her child was already planning to attend an after-school program.

It’s true that universal TK was only supposed to be available at 54 schools. But district officials clearly didn’t mind allowing the public to believe that anyone in those schools’ boundaries would be able to attend,” Huntsberry writes.

In Other News

  • The Guardian’s Sam Levin tweeted Thursday that only 23 percent of San Diego Sheriff’s Department employees are vaccinated as of this week. He said that’s the lowest rate of any California police department that has provided the data.
  • NPR explains what you should know about the COVID-19 booster shots rolling out in September.
  • Local scientists want to know how much carbon is buried under Mission Bay and the possible impact of proposals to restore many acres of marshland there. (Union-Tribune)
  • The continued surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant has now forced 700 people into local hospitals, one month after just 179 people were in such conditions. (City News Service)
  • Environmentalists gathered in City Heights Thursday to urge congressional leaders to adopt the so-called Green New Deal, sweeping environmental and economic legislation aimed at combating both climate change and income inequality. (KPBS)
  • Neighbors in the College Area are angry that the start of classes at SDSU has brought back a return of the university’s party scene, in spite of COVID-19, a complaint that is entirely sincere and in no way an opportunistic attempt to reframe something they’ve always hated into a public health concern. (Union-Tribune) 

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

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