News Smart Local News Funded by Smart Local People

Morning Report: Two Students, a Sexual Assault and Tragedy for a Teacher

Trump puts S.D. on his trip agenda but local politicians aren't rushing to be seen with him, Toni Atkins gets a bale of cotton, farms could lose in trade war, juvie arrests are way down, and new radio station debuts 'The Men's Room.'

Nathan Page’s photo from the 2016-2017 school year, his last at Lincoln High.

Back in 2016, a teacher’s aide found two male students in a restroom at San Diego’s Lincoln High. To the aide, it appeared that one was sexually assaulting the other, who has cerebral palsy and limited speaking skills. That’s also what he told an SDPD officer, according to the officer’s report. A new VOSD article by our reporter Mario Koran explores the tragic story that unfolded next.

Lincoln High was already a deeply troubled school with a recent history of violence and failed bids for reform. School staff did not label the incident a sexual assault, and did not expel the accused student.

And a “teacher who tried to blow the whistle on the suspected rape would turn to colleagues, law enforcement officers and the superintendent in an attempt to raise alarms about problems he saw at Lincoln,” Koran reports. “He didn’t live to see the story made public.” His family has questions, as does the family of the sexually assaulted student, which plans to sue the district for negligence.

Politics Report: Trump’s on Way Here, Will Any Local Pols Join Him?

The president’s first visit to California while in office may be coming soon, with a planned visit to the border wall prototypes in Otay Mesa.

Who will rush to appear with him at the border? It’s funny to think of a president coming to town and members of his own party wanting nothing to do with it, but that seems like the case based on responses the city’s elected Republicans provided for this week’s VOSD Politics Report.

We asked the mayor and the Republican members of the City Council if they’d appear with Trump or accept a Trumpian invitation.

Most had no comment or didn’t respond. Councilwoman Lorie Zapf was unreachable all week because she was in the wilds of… Sacramento. Councilman Scott Sherman said he’d go if invited “out of respect for the office.” The spokesman threw in some smack talk for good measure: “Since taking office, Councilmember Sherman has been committed to do the job taxpayers hired him to do, which is focusing on City of San Diego issues and those issues alone. He wishes his Council colleagues would do the same.”

As for the mayor, he “will always welcome the President to San Diego as he did with President Obama in 2014,” says a spokesman who adds that the mayor is focusing on border bridges not walls.

Meanwhile, state Senator Joel Anderson, who represents a chunk of East County, says he’d be delighted to go greet the president.

Also in the Politics Report: A brief primer on Peter Navarro, the NIMBY iconoclast who nearly became mayor back in 1992 and has become a leading adviser to the president. And we have an update on the messy race to replace Rep. Darrell Issa.

The Democratic side of that race to replace Issa got a bit bizarre Friday night, as we covered in the Politics Report. Only one candidate showed up, with the others pulling out at the last minute because of who was hosting it. Party insiders are desperately trying to get at least one more of the Democratic candidates to drop out of the race before March 14. A reporter for Mother Jones was in town, and broke down the surreal display.

Despite his troubles, the state GOP is standing by Hunter.

Two state Assembly seats in North County, both longtime gimmes for the GOP, are changing on the voter front and turning purple. (U-T)

Opinion: The Fate of Affordable Housing

Leading community members in Rancho Peñasquitos quietly dropped their opposition last week to a proposal that would demolish hundreds of Peñasquitos Village housing units and replace them with new ones. Behind closed doors, the developers offered the residents more in relocation assistance.

But in a new op-ed, Melinda Vásquez, an attorney and San Diego County Democratic Party official, implores the city’s elected representatives to reject the proposal when it comes up for a vote on Monday. She argues the project will ultimately lead to a net loss of affordable housing units and set another precedent that is contrary to the region’s long-term goals.

The San Diego City Council “will either exercise political cowardice and rubber stamp the project,” she writes. “Or it will exercise political courage and support our numerous community plans that encourage increasing mixed-income housing throughout San Diego.”


State Legislators Keep on Raking in Gifts

“Special interests have continued to shower California legislators with hundreds of thousands of dollars in freebies, including foreign travel, golf games and concert tickets, as efforts to rein in gifts to elected state officials after a series of corruption scandals have stalled,” the L.A. Times reports.

One of the oddest gifts mentioned in the Time story went one of our own legislators: “Incoming Senate leader Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) received a bale of cotton and a $143 dinner at Ella restaurant in Sacramento from the Cotton Ginners and Growers Assn.”

Trump-Led Trade War Could Hit Farms Hard

Economists fear that a trade war over aluminum and steel, as threatened by the president, could spread and affect trade in food, potentially devastating California’s farming industry.

“Major farm and commodity groups have been reminding Trump since his inauguration that free trade has been very good for U.S. agriculture,” the L.A. Times reports. But nations that buy a lot of California food like China, Mexico and Canada, plus the European Union, could strike back against our crops from table grapes and figs to avocados, carrots, oranges, berries and more.

Settlements in Jehovah’s Witness Abuse Cases

“The lawsuits over sexual molestation by Jehovah’s Witness elders in San Diego are officially over,” the Reader reports, with a final church settlement with a man who said he was molested as a child.

“The Watchtower has done its best to fight turning over documents that would show the scope of sexual abuse by elders,” the Reader says. “The final blow came last year when an appellate court affirmed a lower court’s decision to fine the Watchtower $4,000 a day for not turning over documents to the victim’s lawyers.”

Quick News Hits: The ‘Men’s Room’ of the Airwaves

Results of a big shareholder vote are due this week at Qualcomm, which is facing a hostile takeover bid from rival Broadcom. Qualcomm has about 13,000 workers here, and the U-T notes that Broadcom runs a tighter ship in some ways: “For example, Qualcomm’s sales/administrative expenses last year came in at 12 percent of its $22.3 billion in revenue. Broadcom’s were just 4 percent of its $17.6 billion in revenue.”

Juvenile arrests in the county are way down. (U-T

“A San Diego County resident is among 40 people nationwide to become infected with salmonella bacteria linked to kratom, the controversial tropical herb that many have begun using to treat opioid addiction despite an import ban from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” (U-T)

• Hey, San Diego listeners! Are you searching for “compelling personalities, comedy, sports and curated classic rock music” — whatever that means — and Padres games? Boy are you in luck!

A new radio station called The Machine has debuted at 97.3 FM, the former home of country station KSON, which has moved over to 103.7 FM. A syndicated show called “The Men’s Room” is on the schedule. No word on whether the hosts are a bunch of potty mouths.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Show Comments

We’re striving for the best possible discussion and may delete comments using our editorial judgment. All comments containing links will be reviewed by VOSD staff before they are published.
Read our full comment policy.
For longer comments, consider submitting an op-ed to Voice of San Diego.
Read the guidelines here.