People walk around in Chicano Park in Barrio Logan April 22, 2023.
People walk around in Chicano Park in Barrio Logan April 22, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Over the weekend, Barrio Logan’s Chicano Park came to life with hundreds of visitors who were there to celebrate 53 years since the park’s creation. 

Chicano Park Day is the largest event held at the park every year. It draws residents from across the county and state. The park was filled with vendors and lowriders. The smell of sage filled the air on Saturday, as speakers took turns recognizing the park’s history and the community’s resilience. 

The celebration was put on by the Chicano Park Steering Committee, a group not officially associated with the city, but that has effectively overseen the park since the 1970s. 

Andrea Lopez-Villafaña reports that the Steering Committee controls what happens at the park in a way that no city-affiliated park committee in the city does. That’s because the park’s unique history has left it with a unique relationship with the city. 

Over the last three years, staff with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department have increasingly deferred to the steering committee before issuing event permits at the park. That stopped the San Diego Loyal soccer team from unveiling its logo there, a clinic from hosting a vaccination event at the park and once forced the city to issue a refund for a permit. 

The city is now considering formalizing an agreement with the group.

Read the full story here. 

Politics Report: Things Aren’t Going Well for Whitburn 

San Diego Councilman Stephen Whitburn at an MTS board meeting Thursday, April 20, 2023.
San Diego Councilman Stephen Whitburn at an MTS board meeting Thursday, April 20, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Councilman Stephen Whitburn has found himself positioned to fill the leadership vacuum left behind by County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher’s demise. 

But, things don’t seem to be going well for Whitburn. 

First, his chief of staff, Jesus Cardenas, abruptly resigned amid scrutiny over conflicts between his consulting business and city work. Second, Whitburn didn’t get support from his fellow council members to serve as chair of the Metropolitan Transit System’s board. And then, he signed on to a memo to request that the City Council vote on his appointment to the San Diego County Water Authority. 

It’s been a rough few weeks for him. That’s all in this week’s Politics Report.

Plus: Why the new City Hall development is not really going to have an impact on the city’s homelessness crisis for a while. Read more in the Politics Report. The newsletter is available to Voice of San Diego members only. Become a member today. 

VOSD Podcast: In the latest episode our hosts discussed this week’s votes at MTS. And they also review San Diego Councilman Kent Lee’s line of questioning on a proposal to ban camping on public land. Listen to the episode here or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Legislators Ask Community Colleges to Pause Approval of New Bachelor’s Degrees

Tensions between California’s community college system and the CSUs have been building for months. And last week, state legislators stepped in. 

Background: The tensions stem from AB 927, a law that authorized community colleges to create bachelor’s degrees focused on local workforce needs so long as they don’t duplicate degrees already offered by public four-year universities. 

Multiple local community colleges have jumped at the opportunity.

But the road to approving the first cohort of bachelor’s programs was messy, as our Jakob McWhinney has reported. San Diego City College’s proposed degree in cyberdefense and analysis was one of the programs that faced opposition from the CSUs. But after a yearlong slog, it was finally approved in January

The flare up: Feather River College’s approval of a program over the objections of the CSUs – something community college officials have repeatedly asserted AB 927 allows them to do – led to the dust up.

State legislators jump into the fray: On Thursday, CalMatters reported that the chairs of California’s Senate Education Committee and the Assembly Committee on Higher Education sent a letter to the heads of the community college system asking them to pause the second round of applications. “This pause will allow an intersegmental workgroup to convene in order to discuss a resolution process for disputes and further refine the duplication consultation process, and to better define program duplication,” the letter read.

What this means for San Diego: Just weeks ago, Miramar College received word that its proposed degree in public safety management had been provisionally approved. 

If community college officials choose to pause the second round of applications, it would put Miramar’s program on ice. 

In Other News

  • ICYMI: This week in her Cup of Chisme Andrea Lopez-Villafaña rounds up the latest news from two south bay cities. She also has the news you need to start your week. Grab some cafecito and read Cup of Chisme here. 
  • The Union-Tribune reports that the county reached a $9.5 million settlement with a woman who had a stroke in Las Colinas jail who has argued deputies failed to provide medical care as her condition escalated.

The Morning Report was written by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Jakob McWhinney. 

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