Baskets of books sit on shelfs at a school in San Diego County. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

An April donation of LGBTQ-affirming books to Solana Beach School District has sat uncirculated after residents raised concerns about them. And now other parents supportive of the books are worried about the supposedly unrelated new policy the district implemented to vet donations of books with “debatable topics.”

District officials say the plan gives library staff with subject matter expertise the power to vet content donated to the school district.

But those opposed to the plan point to the timing of its development, which came after parental pushback to a donation of books from the nonprofit Open Books, which has contributed titles like “And Tango Makes Three,” the true story of two male penguins who raised a chick affirming books.

They’re troubled by the plan’s language about placing resources that “take a particular position on a debatable topic” on separate bookshelves in the library only accessible with parental approval. Also concerning to them is a policy that allows parents to restrict their child from accessing “any topics, titles, or genres.” 

The district said those concerns are unfounded, and that the plan was developed because it had received a number of donated collections in short succession rather than in response to any one donation.

Read more about the district’s plan here.

Big Day in the 101 Ash Saga

Tuesday promises to be an action-packed day in the city’s years-long 101 Ash St. saga. The City Council is once again scheduled to vote on a controversial proposed settlement with its landlord and lenders behind 101 Ash and Civic Center Plaza leases after an abrupt decision to delay a June vote. We’ve got a rundown on what’s in the proposed deal that includes a plan to buy out both leases – plus why Mayor Todd Gloria backs it and City Attorney Mara Elliott isn’t a fan.

But first…before the City Council’s afternoon vote, former city attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson are set to argue in Superior Court that a judge should issue a temporary restraining order to keep the city from using city funds to buy 101 Ash, a core component of the proposed settlement. The two attorneys have for months argued that the 101 Ash lease is unconstitutional because it requires the city to make rent payments on a building it’s been unable to use. They’ll argue at 8:30 a.m. that the city shouldn’t pay out the lease until a court decides whether the agreement indeed violated the state Constitution.

Go deeper: Aguirre’s client writes in a new commentary for us that Mayor Todd Gloria’s proposal regarding 101 Ash does not consider the city’s taxpayers

No-Fee Trash Guarantee Headed to the Ballot 

The San Diego City Council on Monday decided to place a proposed change to the People’s Ordinance on the November ballot.

The century-old law has, until now, prohibited the city from charging most single-family residences a special fee for trash pickup, while most of those living in apartments and condos have to pay a private hauler.

And … a ballot measure to raise the 30-foot building height limit in San Diego’s Midway District will also go before the voters this November.

If approved by voters, the Midway District, which includes Sports Arena, will be excluded from the coastal height limit.

Proponents of the measure argue that the region is not a coastal neighborhood and should have never been subjected to the coastal height limit. Raising the height limit will also bring more housing and commercial projects to the area, supporters say.

Voters approved a similar measure, Measure E, in November 2020, but a court order invalidated that ordinance because it allegedly failed to study the potential environmental impacts of taller buildings.

Measure E was approved by 57 percent of voters in 2020.

“Trolley in Tijuana” rendering / Photo courtesy of Cordoba Corp.

Building a Trolley Over the Border 

While scrolling through Facebook, Voice of San Diego contributor Sandra Dibble came across a post from 17-year-old Omar Luna, who typically spends hours waiting to cross the border to get to his job in El Cajon. 

Luna was among many pedestrians who reported waiting three-hours or longer to cross into the United States last week. It’s a problem that affects many. It also has a tremendous impact on air quality (Think: Hundreds of cars idling during their slow crawl across the San Ysidro Port of Entry). 

That’s why the San Diego Association of Governments is supporting a private-sector study that looks at extending San Diego’s Blue Line Trolley over the border into Tijuana. 

It might seem like a far-fetched idea, but transportation experts point to the Cross-Border Xpress, the airport pedestrian bridge connecting travelers in San Diego to Tijuana’s airport, as an example of what could be. Still, there are many questions about how it would work, what it would cost and more, which is why SANDAG has tapped a Los Angeles-based company to conduct some research. 

Read more about the idea for a trolley over the border here. 

In Other News 

The Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Tigist Layne. It was edited by Scott Lewis.

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