(Left to right) Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District board Vice President Julie Stroh and Superintendent Ron McCowan at a Thursday, June 23, 2022, meeting.
(Left to right) Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District board Vice President Julie Stroh and Superintendent Ron McCowan at a Thursday, June 23, 2022, meeting. / Photo by Catherine Allen

Back in May, a group of Native students at Valley Center Middle School came to campus dressed in red with red paint on their hands and faces.

It was a striking visual meant to raise awareness of missing and murdered indigenous peoples. Instead, students said they were greeted with ethnic slurs and harassment by their non-Native peers.

In the face of an underwhelming response from the district, students joined with community members a few days later to organize a walk out and demand action on a range of long-standing problems and disparities.

As Catherine Allen explains in a new story, the students and their advocates have pointed to suspension and chronic absentee numbers to show how Native students are falling behind. They’ve also urged the district to hire more Native teachers to better reflect the diversity of the community it serves.

The superintendent, in the meantime, said the district has implemented cultural competency training for staff and teachers. He acknowledged that Native students are falling behind on certain metrics but said the district is trying to do better.

Read the story in its entirety here. 

The Learning Curve: How a Group Is Educating Conservatives to Run for Local Seats 

The RMNNT, a conservative political education organization that meets monthly at Awaken Church’s Balboa campus, has set a goal to raise an “army” to influence local politics. And it’s had some success. 

One of its leaders was elected to the Central Committee of San Diego County’s Republican party, and six of their hundreds of attendees have ended up on the ballot in November’s general election — at least three are running for local school boards. 

Jakob McWhinney stopped by a late August meeting to get a feel for what the group’s voter and candidate education efforts looked like. He explains that the group’s messaging is stark, yet some of the material provided, though written from a conservative perspective, provides a framework through which to approach activism regardless of one’s political affiliation. 

Read more about the group in McWhinney’s latest The Learning Curve.

Gloria Celebrates CARE Court Signing 

Mayor Todd Gloria talks to reporters at the site of a homeless encampment in downtown San Diego on Jan. 12, 2022 after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his budget proposal of $14 billion to help thousands of people who are unsheltered get off the streets. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Mayor Todd Gloria joined Gov. Gavin Newsom in Santa Clara County Wednesday to celebrate the signing of controversial state legislation to create a new court system to compel people with some serious mental illnesses to seek treatment.

“Lives will be saved because CARE Court is going to be law here very, very shortly,” Gloria said before Newsom signed the bill.

CARE Court – which stands for Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment – will require counties statewide to set up new court systems and line up services to ensure they are available for participants. San Diego County is among the regions in the state required to implement the legislation by October 2023.

Once the county court system is set up, CARE Court will allow family, friends, first responders and others to petition the court for an evaluation of someone with an untreated psychotic disorder. If the court decides the person qualifies, they will receive a recommended treatment plan and be linked with legal counsel and a supporter, as CalMatters recently explained.

If counties can’t deliver court-ordered care, they can be fined up to $1,000 a day.

Many homeless advocates and civil rights groups have raised concerns about forced treatment and the availability of shelter, housing and services for potential CARE Court participants.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California wrote in a Wednesday statement that it “will continue to fight back” and expects upcoming legal challenges.

CARE Court supporters have argued the program is voluntary and that Newsom has made significant funding available to help counties bolster their behavioral health offerings.

Newsom acknowledged there’s significant work ahead to make CARE Court a success.

Gloria pledged Wednesday that the city and county are ready for the challenge.

“We will no longer turn a blind eye to the suffering of our most vulnerable on the streets of California,” Gloria said. “Rather than turning a blind eye, we instead will engage, we will lean in, and we will guarantee services to these folks that so desperately need them.”

In Other News

  • On Tuesday the Chula Vista city council voted unanimously to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products. (CBS 8)
  • Another incarcerated person has died in a county jail – bringing this year’s total to 17 – this time at Otay Mesa’s George Bailey Detention Center. That startling number is just one shy of the 18 people who died in county jails last year. (Union Tribune)
  • County Supervisors Joel Anderson and Nathan Fletcher pushed back Wednesday after El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells claimed the county was “dumping a massive number of homeless people” in El Cajon hotels.
  • ​​A day after the city council approved a settlement with a broker who facilitated the purchase of a hotel during the COVID-19 pandemic – while also purchasing shares in the hotel’s corporate owner – the Union Tribune reported that the San Diego Housing Commission will be restarting an appraisal of the property out of concern the city overpaid. Given the hotel was originally appraised as if the pandemic, which rocked the tourism world and hotel industry, never happened it seems like a safe bet the city did. 
  • In March a judge ruled that San Diego had overcharged citizens for water and that it owed $79 million in damages. Months later – which has added an additional over $3 million owed to consumers, later the city still hasn’t paid up. (CBS 8)

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, Jakob McWhinney and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafana.

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1 Comment

  1. Where is all that CASINO money going? You know the proposition WE voted for. The one that said NO VAGAS help. Where in this country is there a Indian tribe named HARAH’S?

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