Morning Report: Explosive Docs Show Officials Failed to Act Over Problem Teacher for Years

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Morning Report: Explosive Docs Show Officials Failed to Act Over Problem Teacher for Years

La Jolla High School
La Jolla High School / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

If it wasn’t for an obscure state agency that handles teacher credentialing, we still might not know about the extent to which students had complained a La Jolla High School teacher groped and harassed them — and how little the San Diego Unified School District did in response.

We asked for records detailing complaints against LJHS teacher Martin Teachworth in 2015. We asked again in 2017. Over and over, the district told us it had no records.

Now, it says it discovered them in an abandoned room. And what they show is shocking. School police determined one interaction Teachworth had with a student in 2003 rose to the level of criminal behavior. Yet he was never disciplined.

In the 2012-2013 school year, a stream of students and parents came forward to report similar accusations: that Teachworth had touched, grabbed, tickled or groped students. Though district officials brought in police and lawyers, again, they did not discipline Teachworth.

Only when two former students who say the school ignored their complaints went directly to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing did something start to happen. That agency, it turns out, has subpoena power.

When it served San Diego Unified with a legal request for its records on Teachworth, the district had a different response than it did the many times VOSD asked. This time, it had them.

Teachworth retired in 2017, but the credentialing commission is nonetheless weighing whether to revoke his credential.

Joel Anderson Is Running for the Board of Supes

Joel Anderson, the former Republican state senator from Alpine, is officially running for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors after teasing reporters for weeks about an upcoming announcement. Last month, he dismissed rumors that he was preparing to challenge Rep. Duncan Hunter for Congress.

Name a seat in East County and there’s a good chance Anderson has considered running for it.

He lost his bid in the fall for the Board of Equalization to a Democrat and perennial campaigner plagued over the years by various scandals. Mike Schaefer rode a wave of anti-Trump resentment without any support from his own party. It didn’t help that Anderson, only a few months before the election, threatened to “bitch slap” a lobbyist in a Sacramento bar, drawing a reprimand from his colleagues in the Senate.

In the state Senate, Anderson championed digital privacy issues, and made some surprising allies on certain efforts, like when he joined with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez to support a plan to make diapers more affordable.

This isn’t even the first time Anderson has announced a run for the Board of Supervisors. In 2015, he briefly campaigned against Dianne Jacob. Before aborting that effort, the local GOP gave him $200,000 — one day before the county’s $25,000 limit on campaign contributions was set to kick in.

Campaign finance rules allow candidates to transfer money between accounts bearing their name, meaning Anderson could tap into that money as he seeks the seat in 2020.

Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, also a Republican, is running for the District 2 supervisor seat as well.

Mighty 1090 Off the Air

Mighty 1090, San Diego’s highest-rated sports talk radio station, announced Wednesday that it was taken off the air by the company that owns its broadcast tower in Mexico.

In a message to listeners, host Darren Smith said the president of the station’s parent company, Broadcast Companies of America, told employees that the owner of the tower was no longer interested in being partners.

“We had been aware that this was a possibly because this happened to two of our sister stations just a couple of months back — with 105.7 and 1700 — and we were not sure if this is what was going to happen with 1090,” Smith said.

On Periscope, host Scott Kaplan said negotiations between BCA and the transmitter’s owner had been going on for months, but “something broke down.”

Mighty 1090 could come back as a “bigger or better show,” Smith said.

But it also could be the end.

City Returns Millions to Sewer Fund

San Diego has agreed to return more than $3.7 million to the city’s sewer fund in hopes of ending a lawsuit filed by ratepayers, NBC 7 reports. Those ratepayers have accused officials of illegally charging sewage customers who do not use city water to help pay for its smart meter program.

As Ry Rivard has reported, that rollout has been bumpy. A joint investigation last year by Voice of San Diego and NBC 7 found that the city water department has resisted public records requests, dodged its oversight board and misled the public about smart meter problems.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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