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Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
Police arrest a new suspect in the string of homeless killings, San Diego’s big gay history and Mayor Kevin Faulconer takes on a statewide role.
Improbably, sewage is becoming a valuable commodity.
Now that water agencies are investing in treating wastewater so it can be turned into drinking water, cities like Coronado are fighting to profit from something they previously just wanted to get rid of.
In a new story, Ry Rivard covers how the Navy is building a 170-acre campus at the southern end of Coronado and is offering to pay Imperial Beach to carry away all the sewage it’s going to generate. Not so fast, Coronado says. That’s our sewage, since the campus is in our city. You need to pay us for it, not our neighbors to the south.
Coronado has filed a lawsuit and says the arrangement is an affront to its municipal sovereignty.
“Coronado officials also worry that a private water company is going to buy Imperial Beach’s sewage system and then gain access to and profit from the Navy’s sewage,” Rivard writes. “A privatized sewage system in Imperial Beach could thwart a years-long effort by Coronado to bring down its own water costs.”
Now, Coronado is trying to get a judge to step in and force the Navy not to send its sewage to Imperial Beach.
San Diego was once featured in a book that promised to reveal the depraved underbelly of the country: gays, communists and unions.
“The fairy fleet has landed and taken over the nation’s most important naval base,” authors of the hysterical, and likely exaggerated book wrote. “What we saw in San Diego frightened us.”
Randy Dotinga has mined that book and other materials for a collection of facts on the history of San Diego’s gay community.
“As the annual LGBT pride parade and festival approach this weekend, here are five surprising facts about San Diego’s gay world before the Stonewall uprising, the series of New York City protests in 1969 that birthed the modern fight for LGBT rights,” Dotinga writes.
Among his findings: Gay bars didn’t begin in Hillcrest, World War II brought gays here and a wild anti-gay probe once brought down a Navy admiral.
• The city of San Diego’s communications arm published a profile Friday on SDPD officer Christine Garcia, who came out to her fellow officers as transgender last July.
“I didn’t know if I was going to lose complete respect from them [other officers],” she said. “Because here I was, going from masculine to feminine, in a primarily masculine profession.”
She says she then receieved a flood of support from her colleagues, many of whom had previously never spoken to her.
Officials from the California Air Resources Board hosted a forum in Barrio Logan this week to talk about climate change and air quality, part of a barnstorming tour it’s making through affected communities across the state.
The board tried to focus the conversation on the complicated process of complying with AB 32, a state law intended to cut greenhouse gases, but local residents wanted to talk about plans from the San Diego Association of Governments to widen freeways, as Rivard wrote in this week’s edition of the Sacramento Report, our weekly look at what our local officials are doing in the capitol.
“We have enough freeways, I think, is what you’re hearing,” said Diane Takvorian, a CARB member who is also director of the local advocacy group the Environmental Health Coalition.
In other statewide news this week: Mayor Kevin Faulconer became the face of opposition to a push to make it easier for some inmates to receive parole.
Scott Lewis is out of town this week, so Sara Libby joined me on the podcast to break down the week in news.
We went over Faulconer’s move for a statewide profile after saying he wouldn’t be running for governor in 2018, and break down a rare tense exchange that came about at a City Council meeting this week.
Plus, our arts reporter Kinsee Morlan brought highlights of this week’s Meeting of the Minds event, where leaders from the local arts community shared the visionary projects they’re working on. Nick McCann, co-host of The Kept Faith, a sports show that’s part of the VOSD podcast network, also came on the show to discuss how the city handled All-Star weekend and tell us what he’s looking for from the Padres for the rest of the year.
Police have arrested a suspect in the series of attacks on sleeping homeless men, including three who died.
The arrest followed another attack Friday morning, this one under an overpass on the edge of downtown and Golden Hill. That victim is expected to survive.
Jon David Guerrero, 39, now faces three counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and two counts of arson. A captain and Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman said they are confident Guerrero is the serial killer they were looking for, the San Diego Union Tribune reported, after another man arrested for the attacks was released earlier this week.
Later in the day Friday, after the arrest had been announced, NBC San Diego reported that another man’s body was found in the Midway area. He had experienced trauma to his upper torso area and was pronounced dead.
Reporter Kelly Davis reported the police believe the man was homeless. It’s unclear whether it’s related to the other attacks.
• “A UC Berkeley student from Del Mar is missing after Thursday’s terrorist attack in Nice, France that killed at least 84 people and injured hundreds,” reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.
• A new border crossing for pedestrians opened in San Ysidro Friday. It’s part of a border overhaul worth more than $700 million that won’t be done until at least 2019. (KPBS)
• At least 15 people died in San Diego County jails over the last year. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
• Escondido officials have selected a new location for a water treatment plant, after residents opposed a previous plan. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Here are the top 10 stories we published this week. Below are the top five:
1. Why Poway Unified Fired Its Superintendent
The Poway Unified school board could ask a court to force former Superintendent John Collins to pay back as much as $345,000 – the amount forensic auditors flagged as unauthorized pay. In the district’s charges, the board lays out the myriad ways it believes Collins engaged in illegal self-dealing, unprofessional conduct, dishonesty and misappropriation and gifting of public funds. (Ashly McGlone)
2. Lawsuit Claims County Superintendent Took Thousands in Illegal Pay
Since Randy Ward negotiates with the teacher’s union and helps decide what raises teachers get, his actions could be considered self-dealing. If deemed illegal in court, at least $70,000 in payments could be voided and ordered repaid to the County Office of Education. (Ashly McGlone)
3. The People Who Want to Develop the Waterfront Are Framing the Debate About the Waterfront
By the end of the summer, Port commissioners will make decisions about the future of Seaport Village and Harbor Island. Neither of those decisions will be bound by a long-term master plan for all the land the Port governs. In fact, they will shape that master plan as it goes forward. (Andrew Keatts)
4. What’s Gone Wrong – and Right – at San Diego High
The best case for what’s gone right at San Diego High is the School of International Studies. That school continues to act as a magnet for high-performing students in central San Diego neighborhoods. But the thing that’s gone right at San Diego High is directly related to what’s gone wrong. (Mario Koran)
5. North County Report: 3 Unanswered Questions After Poway Supe’s Firing
Poway Unified’s superintendent was fired this week for allegedly taking at least $345,000 from the district, much of it through improper vacation cash-outs and longevity pay. The school board plans to sue John Collins to try to recover the money, and his attorney has vowed that Collins will fight the claims. While district documents detail its reasons for ushering Collins out, some questions remain. (Voice of San Diego)