Morning Report: Inside Westview High’s Many Harassment, Abuse Complaints
When a former Westview High School student recently posted an online petition in which she published sexually suggestive text messages she said a teacher there sent her in 2015, not long after she’d graduated, the episode felt a bit familiar.
That’s partly because, as we’ve previously reported, that same teacher was previously investigated for sending sexual text messages to a different student. He remains employed at the school.
But the online petition felt familiar for another reason too: Beyond that one teacher, allegations against teachers and coaches at Westview High – many with eerily similar circumstances – have surfaced, one after the other, over the course of the last decade.
VOSD’s Kayla Jimenez methodically lays out those incidents in a comprehensive new story.
“Five of the six people who have been accused of or found to have engaged in boundary-crossing interactions with students over the last decade were athletic coaches at the school,” Jimenez reports. “Few of them faced any consequences. Two are still employed.”
One of the students who reported a teacher at the school grabbed and fondled her breasts in a classroom in 2016 is suing that teacher, who’s since retired, as well as the district. The teacher and the district have denied the claims.
A district spokeswoman acknowledged that there’s a perception that “the school has done nothing” to address the issues, but stressed each complaint is investigated thoroughly and said the school has been providing sexual harassment lessons and resources to students and staff members, among other steps.
Campbell Strikes Short-Term Vacation Rental Compromise
Councilwoman Jen Campbell announced Wednesday a proposal to regulate short-term vacation rentals in San Diego, the latest attempt to solve an issue that’s vexed City Hall for years.
Campbell brokered a compromise between Expedia Group, the parent company for short-term operators HomeAway and Vrbo, and UNITE HERE Local 30, the regional hotel union. She’s optimistic that buy-in from two groups that had been at odds over the issue could lead the proposal to a different fate than its predecessors, which either failed to win Council support or were blocked when operators collected enough signatures to force a citywide vote.
The proposal would create a new permit required for short-term vacation rentals, with the fees to acquire the permit used to enforce violations of a new “Good Neighbor Policy” outlining bad behavior and a fine system for violations.
It would cap the number of permits available for entire homes to be used as rentals at 0.7 percent of the city’s housing stock – or about 3,750 homes. The city auditor estimates there are 16,000 whole-home rentals today.
Most whole-home rentals would need a minimum of two-night stays, and residents would be eligible to acquire only one permit per person. Today, many vacation rental owners operate multiple properties as a full-time business. Up to 30 percent of the homes in Mission Beach could operate as vacation rentals.
The program functions through multiple tiers. The lowest tier, with the cheapest permit, would be for homes used as a rental for fewer than 30 days a year. The next would be for properties for which an owner rented only some of the house while remaining on the premises, with no daily limitation. The third tier would be for whole-home rentals, subject to the requirement that a resident or LLC have only one permit at a time, and could be rented for more than 30 days a year. Homes in Mission Beach would represent their own tier, with permits capped at 30 percent of the area’s houses.
Councilwoman Barbara Bry, who has worked closely on the short-term vacation rental issue throughout her term and who launched her campaign for mayor in part on that experience, did not know about the compromise proposal until Campbell sent out the press release for it.
“It’s the first we heard about it,” said Moriah Gaynor, a Bry spokeswoman. “All I can relay is that we will be listening in and reviewing what is said today.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered 19 California counties experiencing an increased spread of coronavirus to shut down indoor operations Wednesday. The order affects indoor restaurants, wineries, entertainment centers, movie theaters, zoos and more.
The list did not include San Diego County, although county health officials warned that could change in the coming days if the county continues to see more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents. Officials reported an average of 105 cases per 100,000 residents for the past 14 days on Wednesday.
On Twitter, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said, “Once you are ‘flagged’ as abnormal, you are monitored for 3 days. If your numbers don’t move below threshold on day 4 you are officially placed on state ‘watch list’.”
The county would need to step up restrictions after three days on the state watchlist, he said. County health officials previously announced that all restaurants and bars serving alcohol must close by 10 p.m. moving forward.
In Other News
- The San Diego City Council approved the purchase and sale agreement for the Mission Valley Stadium site Wednesday. SDSU purchased the land for more than $88 million. (KPBS)
- A UC San Diego researcher has expressed concern about a new swine flu virus in China. The virus has jumped from pigs to humans and might have the potential to produce a pandemic, reports the Union-Tribune.
- The California Highway Patrol Border Division spent $5.1 million on overtime for officers during recent protests against police brutality, reports NBC 7.
The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.