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Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
San Diego’s food bank conundrum, more fallout for Thomas Jefferson and the virtual future is here.
Investigators commissioned by the San Diego Unified school board are charged with looking into a claim for $250,000 the father of a school board member’s son filed. That father, John Marsh, told us he did not write the claim, which is what provoked the investigation.
On the claim was an address. Last week, Mario Koran decided to visit the home at the address and found that the investigators, despite being long delayed in their analysis, had not done the same.
The residents of the home are relatives of school board president Marne Foster and said Marsh had never lived there.
San Diego had one food bank for decades. But about 10 years ago, a scandal made it seem like the San Diego Food Bank was going to collapse completely. Former board members rushed to start a new food bank, Feeding America San Diego, so they could continue meeting the needs of the hungry.
San Diego Food Bank ended up making it through the muck, though, so our city’s had two food banks ever since.
VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt produced a San Diego Explained segment with NBC San Diego last week to break down why one food bank is interested in merging and the other one isn’t even though donors and others have long been wondering if joining forces would help save overhead costs and otherwise better serve the local hunger cause.
Developers have largely shied away from building in the many neighborhoods that make up what people like to call southeastern San Diego. Part of the problem is the region’s community plan, or blueprint that guides future development, which hasn’t been updated since the late 1980s and includes outdated zoning regulations that no longer make much sense.
The Union-Tribune pulls out some details of the new plan, which will likely get final approval this week, and talks to city leaders who praise its “smart growth” approach as the first important step toward revitalizing an area that’s long been overdue for some love and attention.
The plan was actually split into two in the update, one for Encanto and one for southeastern San Diego, or the neighborhoods south of State Route 94 and sandwiched between Interstate 805 and Interstate 5.
The new zoning regulations take effect early next year and will make the region much more attractive to potential developers. In fact, VOSD’s Andrew Keatts recently reported on a big development project in the region that’ll be moving forward. Thanks, in part, to the new community plan, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation will start once again on a project it’s been pursing for years.
And last month I talked to two arts groups who’ve been waiting on the community plan update before starting work on their new arts-friendly developments in the region.
Professional golfer Phil Mickelson and Marty Wygod, chairman of the online WebMD Health Corp service, were named by the U-T as two of the top water hogs in Rancho Santa Fe, an affluent neighborhood that’s inspired finger-wagging statewide for its high water use during the drought.
Mickelson’s got a private golf course to keep green and Wygod has lots of thirsty fruit trees. But folks from both of the sprawling Rancho Sante Fe estates told the U-T they’ve been working to cut water use. Neither sounded willing to go totally brown anytime soon, though.
Surprisingly, the piece hasn’t inspired a flood of angry water-shaming comments directed at Mickelson or Wygod yet. A good number of the 30 comments on the article direct more anger toward city, state and water officials. Some people are still salty over the recent water rate hike:
San Diego’s relationship with the Chargers seems to have hit a new low. One fan posted a pic of the overhead view of the stadium showing a sea of orange (in support of the Broncos) as the Chargers lost their ninth game, guaranteeing a losing season.
Philip Rivers said the overwhelming presence of Broncos fans was not a big deal. “We’ve gotten used to it, unfortunately.”
Those keeping hope alive that the team might be forced to stay seized on this apparent bad news for the stadium effort in the city of Carson.
A dozen former Thomas Jefferson School of Law students are suing the university that taught them how to sue, accusing the school of making lawyering look more attractive than it actually is by hyping up its graduates’ employment figures and salaries. An attorney for Thomas Jefferson denies the allegations.
According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit mirrors dozens of suits filed against schools up and down the state. While many of those similar suits have been dropped, Kyle McEntee, executive director of Law School Transparency, told the AP he thinks law schools need more regulation and transparency.
“Schools are setting up a lot of people to fail,” he said.
• Escondido Union School District officials are being accused of acting like a bunch of kids. The superintendent there filed a restraining order against a school board member for allegedly making violent threats.
• The Los Angeles Times weighs in on the hefty fine a local judge imposed on a Pacific Beach medical marijuana dispensary that was operating outside of San Diego’s zoning regulations. Meanwhile, East County Magazine reports on the La Mesa City Council’s efforts to ban home delivery of marijuana there.
• More and more people are doing their banking online. That trend, plus the federal government’s efforts to crackdown on drug-related money-laundering, have resulted in lots of banks closing in San Ysidro and other towns near the Mexican border. (U-T)
• Bike lanes are good, says at least one Coronado resident who isn’t one of those quoted in the KPBS article that went national because of the bizarre anti-bike-lane sentiment captured in it. (Coronado Eagle & Journal). The most recent bike-related news out of Coronado isn’t nearly as bizarre, but it’s still a little odd. (eCoronado.com)
• The San Diego River Park Foundation is in the process of buying some pristine land in the backcountry. John P Anderson took lots of photos of the land, which he says will eventually be open to the public.
• No one is sick of the Christmas-versus-Holiday debate, said no one ever. (U-T)
I was going to ignore the emails I got about virtual reality leaders HTC Vive setting up at The Quartyard downtown over the weekend and offering free trials, but then former CityBeat reporter Dave Maass messaged me and essentially made the argument that I’d be stupid not to check it out. “It’s like if they were showing the iPhone for the first time down the street three months before it came out,” he said.
I went. I experienced. I was floored. The virtual reality future I’ve always imagined is here, folks, and it’s as promising as it is terrifying. There’s all sorts of positive potential future uses, from journalism that inspires real, deep empathy to education. But I couldn’t help but think of my two young boys and all the brain-melting, probably violent VR games they’ll want to play. Ugh. The future of kids simply wanting to play outside in the dirt seems bleak.