Morning Report: Gompers Teachers Union Effort Hits a Snag

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Morning Report: Gompers Teachers Union Effort Hits a Snag

Vincent Riveroll, right, dances before classes at Gompers Preparatory Academy in 2016. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

An ongoing unionization effort at Gompers Preparatory Academy has led to infighting between the school’s divided teacher corps and its administration. 

Gompers is a charter school serving more than a thousand middle and high schoolers. It has been lauded for its push to help under-served student groups get into college, but tarnished by reports of grade inflation. 

A majority of Gompers teachers voted to unionize last year, but now some 30 percent of the school’s teachers are trying to get the new union decertified, reports Ashly McGlone. Any decision about whether the union can be removed may be a long time away, however. 

That’s because of other grievances surrounding the union. The Gompers union has filed an unfair practice charge against the school’s administration. The union alleges that the school’s administration bargained in bad faith, retaliated against a teacher and tried to dissuade employees from becoming union members. 

That formal complaint could essentially delay any decertification vote from taking place. 

The union is seeking, among other things, higher pay. Average pay for San Diego Unified School District teachers hovers around $80,800, but pay at Gompers was around $56,400. 

A lawyer for one of the teachers who wants the union decertified accused the union of “legal trickery to trap teachers in a union they oppose by blocking their right to hold a decertification election.”

Faulconer Boosts Housing Efforts, Convention Center in Last SOTC

Mayor Kevin Faulconer delivers his 2020 State of the City speech. / Photo by Megan Wood

Mayor Kevin Faulconer promised to continue to focus on addressing the city’s homelessness and housing crises in his final State of the City address on Wednesday night.

And he said he was done being politically correct about homelessness.

“What I’m talking about tonight is obvious to almost anyone walking our streets but considered politically incorrect by many insiders. These are ideas that most people in power actually believe in, but are afraid to say, let alone do,” Faulconer said. “Drug laws that hurt people, tragic mental illness, public health scares, a historic housing shortage …They all must be addressed to solve the homeless crisis.”

Faulconer committed Wednesday to championing reforms to state policies he said have hampered cities’ ability to aid homeless Californians struggling with addiction. He did not elaborate on the specifics of those efforts Wednesday night but cited Proposition 47, which reduced many drug crimes to misdemeanors, and Proposition 57, which led to an overhaul of the state’s prison parole system.

The mayor said he also plans to work with county officials to open a county-run shelter, move people with substance abuse issues into residential care and deploy mental health teams at existing city shelters. County spokespeople did not immediately respond to requests from VOSD about those initiatives on Wednesday night.

On Faulconer’s watch, the city has ramped up police enforcement affecting homeless San Diegans, an approach that advocates and the city’s new homelessness action plan have scrutinized. He’s also vastly expanded homeless services in the city and pursued a slew of reforms to try to address lagging housing production, particularly for middle-class and low-income San Diegans.

Faulconer pledged to stay committed to those efforts in his final year in office.

He said he plans to push forward this spring a series of reforms he’s dubbed his Complete Communities initiative that are meant to encourage more homebuilding citywide, particularly near transit stops.

The mayor also encouraged city voters to back Measure C, a March hotel-tax measure that would fund a Convention Center expansion, homeless initiatives and road repairs. He noted that the measure would provide the city’s first dedicated funding for homelessness and road repairs and pay for a Convention Center expansion supporters have said would bolster the local economy.

“If you can’t believe this is the 10th State of the City when a mayor talks about the Convention Center expansion, you can make it the last time by voting ‘yes’ on Measure C,” Faulconer joked.

  • In late 2018, the U-T editorial board wondered aloud whether the new Democratic supermajority on the San Diego City Council would make Mayor Kevin Faulconer a lame duck in his final two years in office. Now U-T columnist Michael Smolens writes that the mayor has not been stymied. Instead, he’s established a reputation for working with, and at times out-maneuvering, Council members

Homeless Parking Lot Infuriates Encinitas Residents

California’s homeless crisis has provoked many tense, uncomfortable discussions but rarely are the fears laid out as openly as they were during an Encinitas forum last week about a city decision to open a safe parking lot for homeless people with cars.

Kayla Jimenez was there and reports that it got tense. Speakers complained that the city, among other things, was misusing taxpayer funds and putting child safety at risk. One resident even called for the removal of the four Council members who’d approved the lot.

County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar did not organize the event, but she emerged as its leader. She called the lot “well-intentioned but misguided.” Proponents of the lot say the program will focus on getting residents into permanent housing, but Gaspar disagreed. 

“I fundamentally believe that housing will not end homelessness,” she said. “It is a community that will.”

Michael McConnell, a homeless advocate in San Diego who attended the meeting, called the event “a whole new low.” 

Chula Vista Backtracks on Plan to Expand City Attorney’s Office

Chula Vista’s city attorney is backing away from a proposal to use new tax dollars to hire more people in his office who can aid with criminal charges against illegal pot shops. When Chula Vista residents approved Measure A in 2018, they did so on the promise that the money would be primarily spent on police officers and firefighters.

The U-T reports that City Attorney Glen Googins informed elected officials this week he was surprised by the intensity of the pushback. In a hand-written letter, District Attorney Summer Stephan urged the Chula Vista City Council not to go forward with the hires, in part, because her office is already responsible for prosecuting crime in the South Bay. 

Because the sales tax money goes into the general fund, it can be used on any lawful municipal purpose. Last month, Googins told a financial oversight committee that his proposal to hire a paralegal and investigator remained within “the spirit of Measure A.” 

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, Lisa Halverstadt and Will Huntsberry, and edited by Sara Libby.

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