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Morning Report: Former Student Opens Up About a Damaging Relationship With a Teacher

La Costa Canyon High School
La Costa Canyon High School / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Kristen Murphy was shocked when she read a recent Voice of San Diego story about a La Costa Canyon High School teacher investigated for a sexual relationship with a student in 2010.

Murphy realized that her past relationship with that same teacher, Marc Sandknop, wasn’t as special as she had thought.

In a Q-and-A with VOSD’s Ashly McGlone, Murphy talks about how she now sees her experience with her public school teacher as part of an alarming pattern of teachers grooming students for sexual relationships.

Why Murphy wants to tell her story: Though she was graduated and legally an adult when she dated Sandknop, Murphy says he embraced her affections and groomed her for a relationship while she was a minor and a student. She hopes others can learn from her experience to better protect kids and young adults from damaging teacher-student relationships.

A powerful excerpt from the Q-and-A: “It took me a really, really long time and a lot of therapy and getting older to just have the perspective that I ended up having, which was, oh my God, you know, this was totally unacceptable, and it was wrong, and it was an abuse of power.”

MTS Chair Backs SANDAG’s Bus Facility Plan

On Friday, the SANDAG board will consider options for a facility it wants to build to house MTS buses in between routes, and possibly a new headquarters for the agency. As Andrew Keatts reported this week, SANDAG might need to eventually use eminent domain, a controversial process in which government entities can force land owners to sell property at a fair market price, in order to make it happen.

In a new op-ed, Georgette Gómez, a San Diego City Council member who’s chair of the MTS board, encourages the SANDAG board to move forward on the idea.

“The proposed transit layover facility is a critical component for our Metropolitan Transit System bus rapid transit network in San Diego,” she writes.

Earlier this week, Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey, a member of the SANDAG board, argued that there are cheaper and easier ways to fix the problem of buses idling on downtown streets.

East Village Is Still the Epicenter of Homelessness

East Village has long been the city’s headquarters for homeless services and residents fear a planned housing navigation center could draw more homeless San Diegans.

At a community meeting Wednesday night, the Union-Tribune reports residents underlined their concern that their gentrifying neighborhood has already borne the brunt of the city’s homelessness crisis.

City leaders pledged to prioritize help for homeless people in East Village and to keep tabs on potential security issues as they transform a former indoor skydiving facility into a hub where homeless San Diegans get connected with services and housing.

The success of that facility relies on the success of the region’s larger homeless-serving system, and many programming details are yet to be ironed out. The City Council is expected to vote on a contract with a yet-to-be-announced operator next month and city officials envision a fall opening.

  • KPBS reports that the city is slowly welcoming clients at its new homeless storage center in Sherman Heights, for now filling only 38 of its 500 bins. The center opened last week.

Good Schools for All: The After-School Struggle

Figuring out what do do with kids in the period when they’re out of school but parents are still at work can be a huge hassle.

In a new episode of Voice of San Diego’s education podcast Good Schools for All, Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn take on the topic of after-school programs and the issues affecting access to them.

VOSD’s Kinsee Morlan weighs in: I just went through the rollercoaster ride that is school choice. After getting lots of rejections, followed by a handful of acceptances at both traditional and charter schools, I realized that one of the main things affecting our decision of where to send our kid to kindergarten was whether there was a waitlist for the after-school program. We ended up at the one school that could guarantee us a spot.

Sheriff’s Commander Who Challenged His Boss Retires

Sheriff’s Cmdr. Dave Myers has retired from the agency two weeks after Sheriff Bill Gore bested him in the race for sheriff.

Myers, who spent 33 years with the department, declined to comment on the reasons for his retirement but said he would share more information in coming days. He told VOSD he has been on vacation leave since early June.

Both Myers and Gore were open about the tension between them throughout the campaign.

Myers had criticized Gore for everything from a rash of jail deaths to alleged corruption. Myers was reassigned to a lower-profile role and an office that used to be a closet months before the election.

In an April interview with the Union-Tribune’s editorial board, Gore acknowledged he considered firing Myers.

“I wish Dave would take a leave of absence and go work somewhere else,” Gore said.

Myers said he plans to continue speaking out about law enforcement issues but hasn’t settled on next steps yet.

“There’s lots of opportunities but right now I’m just trying to weed the backyard,” Myers said.

CPUC Rejects New Gas Pipeline

California utility regulators rejected San Diego Gas & Electric’s plan to build a $640 million natural gas pipeline through the county.

In 2015, SDG&E and Southern California Gas Company – two subsidiaries of San Diego-based Sempra Energy – pitched the line as a rare chance to increase the safety and reliability of the region’s natural gas system.

On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to kill the project.

The commission analyzed the plan in the context of climate change and decided it makes no sense to approve a new line at the same time California is trying to wean itself off fossil fuels.

“In the big picture, energy corporations like Sempra need to get the message and stop doubling down on new fossil fuel infrastructure,” Matt Vespa, an attorney at Earthjustice, said in a statement.

SDG&E had hoped to replace an older, smaller pipeline with a new, bigger pipeline. Now, though, it will have test that old line to make sure it’s safe for continued use.

In a statement, SDG&E said it was disappointed but, “Nevertheless, we will work with CPUC safety staff to implement a construction plan that addresses the pipeline safety requirements as quickly as possible.”

In Other News

  • The Encinitas City Council approved a rezoning plan to allow higher density housing in the city, NBC San Diego reported. The meeting went until close to 3 a.m. Encinitas is the only city in the county without a current housing plan mandated by the state. Encinitas voters rejected a proposed housing plan in 2016.
  • A  state audit of the San Ysidro School District that found possible fraud and misuse of funds has been delivered to the District Attorney’s Office, reports inewsource. In a statement to inewsource, District Attorney Summer Stephan confirmed the investigation and said the office “is committed to holding individuals accountable who would misuse public funds intended to support the education of children in San Diego County.”
  • CALmatters checks in on local Dems’ push to turn San Diego County blue.
  • The San Diego County Board of Education denied a petition Wednesday that would have allowed Julian Charter School to continue to operate campuses in Encinitas, Alpine and several other school districts across the region, reports NBC7. The board said the school but does not meet the definition of countywide charter school. A school spokesperson told NBC7 the decision means several of its campuses will close June 30.
  • A 375-acre stretch in Chula Vista is one of the FAA’s 10 drone-testing sites nationwide. The sites will help the feds settle on new rules for low-altitude drones used by businesses and cities. (10News)
  • Southeastern San Diego residents have hired former City Attorney Mike Aguirre to push back against a plan to demolish the Harriet Tubman-Cesar Chavez Community Center and replace it with a county health and probation service center, The Reader reports. The shift reflects the changing strategy of major southeastern San Diego landowner Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, a nonprofit now seeking to sell some of its properties, including the plots behind the community center, rather than pursue revitalization plans on its own.

The List of Fame

Check out this ongoing Twitter thread that’s attempting to list all the famous San Diegans. Y’all should chime in and add to the list of local legends.

The Morning Report was written and compiled by Lisa Halverstadt and Kinsee Morlan, and edited by Sara Libby.

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