The Morning Report
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UC student workers reached a landmark deal with management following a historic six week strike late last year, but disagreements over worker pay linger on.
Voice of San Diego intern Tianrui Huang reports that the dispute centers on the complex wage system for UC graduate workers at Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
Academic researchers split their time between thesis and lab work, but only get paid for a percentage of it. The students say they were promised at the negotiating table a higher percentage than they’re actually receiving in practice, and the difference amounts to thousands of lost dollars every year.
UCSD officials, however, say they’ve instituted changes to the way workers are paid in an effort to create parity between incoming and continuing student workers. Now the union representing the students has filed a grievance.
Former La Jolla High Students Settle Claims Against SDUSD, Former Teacher
More than five years ago Voice of San Diego revealed that repeated student complaints of unwanted touching by La Jolla High physics teacher Martin Teachworth went largely ignored by San Diego Unified.
Documents obtained by Voice showed that despite investigations confirming allegations against Teachworth, which one official concluded “rose to level of criminal prosecution,” the district allowed him to continue to teach.
In 2020, four former La Jolla High students sued San Diego Unified and Teachworth, alleging he’d assaulted them and that the district had been negligent and failed to provide a safe school environment. The district announced in a statement Wednesday that the students had resolved their claims.
(Continue reading about the settlement.)
In the statement, the district wrote the efforts of Loxie Gant – one of Teachworth’s victims and a source for Voice’s coverage – had helped spur the convening of a task force to “review its policies and procedures for handling allegations of sexual assault.”
Voice named Gant its 2017 Voice of the Year for her, with former education reporter Ashly McGlone writing “La Jolla High School physics teacher Martin Teachworth’s classroom behavior made female students uncomfortable for years, and Loxie Gant brought what had long been an open secret at the school into the light of day.”
Proposed Mobile Home Protections Roll On
Assemblyman David Alvarez’s proposed protections for RV owners passed its first legislative hurdle with unanimous support.
The bill comes out of the Miramar Imperial Beach Mobile Home and RV Park, where residents, as Jesse Marx reported last summer, have been forced to move in and out every six months before legal rights kick in. An earlier version of the bill only applied to Imperial Beach and National City but now applies to all mobile home parks throughout the state.
The Imperial Beach park owners have said the move out policy is necessary to make repairs on site, but Alvarez framed it as an unfair business practice that’s going to make RV owners homeless if the state doesn’t act.
(Continue reading about mobile home protections.)
One of the residents, Rachel Orozco, told the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development on Wednesday that the practice takes an emotional and financial toll on her and her 10-year-old son. She was joined by Imperial Beach Mayor Paloma Aguirre, who said many of the residents there are disabled or elderly and can’t pay hundreds of dollars to temporarily relocate.
“Mobile home parks are some of the last naturally affordable housing,” she said, and the city has done everything it can at this point.
In recent months, Imperial Beach has introduced a series of eviction moratoriums to buy the owner and tenants time to negotiate better living conditions, but those protections are due to expire in a few weeks. AB 1472 would fine mobile home parks that force residents to move in and out every few months.
After Legal Victory, Court Fee Opponents Eye San Diego
A settlement announced this week in a Northern California lawsuit over court fees could have ripple effects in San Diego.
The San Mateo Superior Court has agreed to stop charging late fees on tickets and suspend its debt collection efforts. The advocates argued the program — automated by a computer — constituted an illegal and regressive tax pushing low-income people further into poverty.
At least nine other superior courts in California have followed suit, and the state’s policymaking arm, the Judicial Council of California, rewrote its guidelines to give judges more discretion over late fees.
(Continue reading about court fees.)
“Our litigation has made clear to trial courts that even they are not above the law,” Zal K. Shroff with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in the San Francisco Bay Area said in a statement.
Attention is now turning to San Diego, where the superior court pioneered the use of late fees — otherwise known as civil assessments — as a means of revenue generation and agreed to vacate nearly $200 million worth of debt after lawmakers slashed the maximum amount that courts can charge.
Statewide advocates haven’t ruled out legal action here. Emily Cox, a spokeswoman for the San Diego Superior Court, told us in an email that San Diego follows the guidance from the Judicial Council regarding civil assessments and added: “San Diego does still collect civil assessments up to $100, with all collected money going to the State, not retained locally.”
Live! From Whistle Stop Bar
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See you there! – Your favorite host, Andrea.
In Other News
- MTS service was disrupted due to a work stoppage. Members of Teamsters Local 542 went on strike in solidarity with their colleagues in El Centro. (NBC 7)
- The city of San Diego is opening a safe parking lot in the Clairemont area that will house a dozen homeless families and connect them to resources.
- Using cell phone data, researchers in Canada have concluded that San Diego’s downtown foot traffic is back to its pre-pandemic level while other California cities have yet to recover. (Los Angeles Times)
The Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney and Jesse Marx. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.