Tom Lemmon
Tom Lemmon left his role as the head of the San Diego Building and Construction Trades las year over receiving compensations he wasn't entitled to. Lemmon is seen here in January 2020. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

A year after Tom Lemmon was forced out of the San Diego Building and Construction Trades Council for receiving up to $200,000 in compensation he wasn’t entitled to, another union leader resigned his position with a charity group tied to the Building Trades because Lemmon was still involved with it.

Dave Gauthier, business manager and financial secretary-treasurer for SMART Local 206, a sheet metal workers union, sent a letter to the leaders of the John S. Lyon Foundation last week, following the group’s annual gala, because Lemmon was still associated with the charity.

“I am no longer comfortable exposing myself or SMART Local 206 to any joint financial decisions that include Mr. Lemmon, nor am I comfortable with Mr. Lemmon benefitting from those decisions,” Gauthier wrote in a Sept. 14 letter obtained by Voice of San Diego. Reached by text message, Gauthier wouldn’t explain what financial decisions he was referring to. Carol Kim, the current CEO of the foundation, did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did Lemmon.

Click here for more on the continued fallout from Lemmon’s departure from the Building Trades.

Former Democratic Party Leader Sued for Sexual Assault

Oscar David Rendon, a 23-year-old former San Diego City College student, has sued Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, the former leader of the San Diego County Democratic Party, alleging that he was raped by his ex-boyfriend after a night of heavy drinking, as reported Thursday by the Times of San Diego.

The lawsuit also alleges that Councilman Stephen Whitburn was in the home when the alleged assault occurred a year ago, and that he did not intervene despite seeing that he was intoxicated. The lawsuit includes a March police report, which describes Rendon as being visibly shaken when reporting the incident.

Rendon filed his lawsuit a week after Rodriguez-Kennedy announced that the district attorney’s office informed him it would not charge him over the allegations. 

Thursday evening, Rodriguez-Kennedy issued a press release denying the allegations in the lawsuit. He announced a Friday morning press conference with his legal team to refute the claims.

IB is Running Out of Patience with Mobile Home Park Landlord

An empty parcel inside the Miramar Imperial Beach Mobile Home and RV Park. New rental rates start at $1,250. / Photo by Jesse Marx

The Imperial Beach City Council directed staff this week to draft new rental protections for the Miramar Mobile Home and RV Park. That park, as Jesse Marx reported in August, one of the last affordable housing options in the region, has been a hotbed of political organizing.

The park forces renters to move out every six months for at least 48 hours, with those agreeing facing rent increases and those who don’t getting evicted.

Park owners say the policy allows them to make repairs on site. Because mobile home parks fall under state jurisdiction, the city has been somewhat limited on how it can respond.

Councilwoman Paloma Aguirre proposed the city consider an ordinance against the park that would institute anti-harassment provisions, a moratorium on evictions and a 3 percent rent cap.

Councilman Ed Spriggs acknowledged the ordinance would be an unusual step that could trigger a lawsuit, but said the situation called for it.

“Our responsibility is to help the people who live in our community,” he said. “And if that takes cracking some eggs, then so be it.”

Group Suing City Over Climate Inaction Points to Even More Climate Inaction

Nicole Capretz, founder of the advocacy group Climate Action Campaign criticized the city of San Diego over its decision not to make Blueprint SD, a land-use reform intended to help the city hit greenhouse gas reduction targets in its Climate Action Plan, a requirement on new development. 

“Why do Mayor and Council approve bold CAPs if they don’t want to implement??” she wrote.

In fact, her group quietly sued the city earlier this month arguing it has not seriously laid out how it will achieve the emissions reductions it committed itself to earlier this year in its updated climate plan. The CAC and the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation are asking a judge to invalidate the plan.

The plan calls for neutralizing carbon emissions created by San Diego’s economy by 2035. The lawsuit argues the city didn’t do 90 percent of the things it committed itself to in its 2015 plan.

Our Best Politifest Yet

Eleven years ago, we launched Politifest as a place for people who care about local politics to get a sense of everything going on and being debated during an election year.

This year, we’re putting on the best one yet.

On Oct. 8 we have debates scheduled between the candidates for San Diego Unified School Board, sheriff, City Council and the county assessor’s race. Plus, a debate about the height limit in Midway and a special forum with Mayor Todd Gloria and Supervisor Nathan Fletcher on the politics of homelessness.

Bonus: If you’re a South Bay resident, you won’t want to miss our two-part live podcast on Oct. 6 featuring mayoral candidates from Chula Vista and National City. The lineup includes local food and beer vendors, plus live music throughout the night.

We hope you’ll join us. See the full lineup and get your tickets today.

In Other News

  • The City of San Diego found more problems at the century-old Hodges Dam, a reservoir and flood-control infrastructure, which means repairs as well as public access to the lake’s on-water recreational uses will take a little longer than expected. (Union-Tribune)
  • A key witness took the stand Thursday in the case of the Navy man accused of setting fire to the USS Bonhomme Richard in San Diego’s Port back in July of 2020, causing massive air quality problems for the nearby neighborhoods of Logan Heights. (CBS 8) 
  • The softening of a cap on new cannabis dispensaries is making its way through San Diego City Hall. (Union-Tribune)
  • The military contractor known as “Fat Leonard,” the mastermind behind the worst public corruption scandal in U.S. Navy history was apprehended in Venezuela after fleeing San Diego ahead of sentencing. (CBS 8)
  • San Diego City Council formally apologized for supporting Japanese incarceration during World War II by rescinding a resolution signed in 1942 that urged the FBI to remove Japanese Americans from the community. (CNN)

The Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts, MacKenzie Elmer and Megan Wood. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. 

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