High Tech Education Collective meeting at the San Diego Education Association on Dec. 1, 2022.
High Tech Education Collective meeting at the San Diego Education Association on Dec. 1, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

After a year of bargaining, High Tech High’s new teachers union has reached a tentative agreement on a contract with the school’s leadership. The breakthrough comes after the charter network’s board of trustees declared an impasse a few months ago.

The two outstanding issues on the table were who would make a final decision if a teacher appealed a firing, and how long of a probationary period new educators would need to complete before becoming established teachers. 

What they agreed on: The union succeeded in advocating that a neutral third party have the final say in appeals, while High Tech High’s leadership got the three-year probationary period it wanted. The union previously insisted on a two-year probationary period.

Both the union and High Tech High leadership celebrated this tentative agreement, which still needs approval from the charter network’s board of trustees and the union’s membership. 

Voice of San Diego’s Jakob McWhinney writes that both sides also acknowledged it was a first step toward restoring a relationship between management and educators that had become frayed during the bargaining process.

Read more about the tentative agreement here.

Ranchers Question Who Is Tending to the Tijuana River Valley?

A flooded ranch on Hollister Street in San Ysidro on Jan. 18, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Earlier this week, a deluge of rain flooded ranches in San Ysidro’s Tijuana River Valley. (Just take a look at images captured by Voice’s Multimedia Journalist Ariana Drehsler on Monday.) 

Environment Reporter MacKenzie Elmer and Drehsler returned on Wednesday to follow up on the damage, and they discovered two things: Ranches still underwater and angry property owners and residents. 

Local governments, not just Mother Nature, are responsible for the flooding, ranchers said, because dredging used to clear debris and sediment making a clear path for the river to reach the ocean.

Read what ranchers had to say here. 

High-Profile Housing Law Is Having Little Actual Impact 

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins speaks at a press conference. / File photo by Megan Wood

A California law hailed (and denounced) as the end of single-family zoning has thus far created no new homes in San Diego.

The California HOME Act allowed property owners to divide up their residential lot and build as many as four homes per parcel. But according to researchers at UC Berkeley, the bill has had limited impact one year in.

As of November, San Diego had received only seven applications for new Senate Bill 9 units and approved none of them. It was a common situation across the state — Los Angeles, the standout among large cities, greenlit 38 applications — but not exactly a surprise.

As the bill was making its way through the Legislature in 2021, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins amended it to appease opponents concerned about real estate speculation. In response, she added an owner-occupancy requirement, leading some to warn that the trade-off would likely limit the number of homes produced. 

Another possible reason for the lack of applications, as the UC Berkeley researchers noted and planning officials argued, is that “local ADU policies may preclude interest in SB 9.” In other words, it’s probably easier and more economically feasible to build an accessory dwelling unit than a bunch of new homes. In 2021, San Diego gave out more than 800 of those permits. 

San Diego to Vote on Declaring Housing a Human Right

San Diego City Councilmembers during a meeting on Jan. 10, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

The City Council is set to vote next week on a resolution declaring housing a human right in the city.

Council President Sean Elo-Rivera and Councilman Joe LaCava said that the resolution, also sponsored by Councilmembers Monica Montgomery Steppe and Raul Campillo, is designed to send a message about the city’s values and intentions to address its housing and homelessness crisis.

“This is an opportunity for us to take a strong position that we can then be held accountable for, to really ensure that every San Diegan has a real opportunity to have a roof over their head, and that that is a decent place to live,” Elo-Rivera said.

The planned Tuesday vote comes about two months after the City Council directed city attorneys to draft final language.

Semi-related: Late last year, Elo-Rivera and Mayor Todd Gloria unveiled a framework for increased tenant protections in the city. Elo-Rivera said Wednesday that talks between tenant advocates and landlord representatives have been continuing since. He said he’s hoping the City Council will vote on additional protections in March or April.

In Other News 

  • El Cajon is overhauling its emergency response system. The Union-Tribune reports that 911 callers with less serious concerns will soon be helped by nurses in an attempt to reduce unnecessary ambulance trips and hospital wait times.
  • The Marine Corps is investigating a viral video depicting a Camp Pendleton-based Marine in a physical altercation with hotel employees. (Task & Purpose)
  • Last year was a particularly deadly year for Mexican journalists, with two well-known Tijuana journalists murdered within one week of each other. But despite five convictions, authorities say those who ordered the murders still haven’t been held accountable. (Union-Tribune) 
  • Tijuana is also the site of a massive migrant community station, already operational though still under construction. Its plans include an industrial kitchen that will help feed thousands already living on church grounds. (San Diego Magazine)
  • The Union-Tribune reports that San Diego is shelling out big bucks – $77 million to be exact – on a new composting facility to process all the organic waste residents are expected to dump in their new green bins.

Clarification: In Saturday’s Politics Report, we implied the San Diego City Council had made a decision not to advance a plan to build a new City Hall. It held an informational hearing only last week and while members expressed some concern and different ideas about the proposal from a working group, there were no decisions. 

The Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney, MacKenzie Elmer, Jesse Marx and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Scott Lewis. 

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