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Morning Report: One Woman's Fight Against Predators in the Classroom

Ex-border czar warns about cyber attacks, congressional debate tonight, county assessor accused of wrongdoing, more lawsuits target city (and taxpayers) over sidewalks, C.V. native wins big, local craft beer is history (literally) and much more.

Christy Heiskala / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Christy Heiskala was furious when she found out in 2007 that a Carlsbad elementary school teacher sexually abused her daughter. She went on to feel betrayed by education officials and law enforcement when they failed to treat the case with adequate seriousness and responsiveness.

Later, others accused the teacher of sexual crimes. He was convicted and incarcerated. Heiskala, meanwhile, continued to fight back, seeking the truth about what had happened. Ultimately, her daughter and another victim shared a $4.5 million jury award.

In a new VOSD story, our reporter Ashly McGlone writes that Heiskala has since embarked on a mission to prevent future horrors with training to help children protect their bodies and help everyone spot an abuser.

Heiskala explains that cases aren’t isolated. “There’s always all these other witnesses. They always think they are the only ones,” she says, adding that “you’re kidding yourself if you think it’s not happening in your school. It’s happening at your school every day.”

I Made It in S.D. Podcast: Meet Musician Tim Mays

Musician Tim Mays is the star of this week’s edition of the I Made It in San Diego Podcast. You may not know his songs if you don’t listen much to local music. But if you’re a fan of local coffeehouses, live music, funky restaurants and/or record stores, there’s a good chance that you know at least one of the businesses that he’s helped to start. The Casbah, perhaps, or Krakatoa. Or the Starlite or Vinyl Junkies.

“I never said, ‘I don’t want to work for the man,’” he tells us. “I just was lucky enough to not have to after a certain point.”

Border Report: Ex-Border Czar Has a Cyber Warning

Remember Alan Bersin? Among other jobs, he’s served as the local U.S. attorney, border czar, state secretary of education and, amazingly, chief of San Diego schools. Now, he’s sounding the alarm about a border-related problem that a wall can’t fix: Cyber attacks.

As he tells our Maya Srikrishnan in this week’s VOSD Border Report, “we share critical infrastructure with Mexico and Canada, [such as] electric grids and river systems. We are just at the threshold of examining how we design and implement cyber security in the cross-border context. Right now, it is conspicuous in the public sector by its absence.”

Also in the Border Report: The state is pulling back on allowing National Guard troops to help combat illegal immigration. More than 11,000 locals will vote in the Mexican presidential election and there’s been a spike in border apprehensions across the Southwest.

Congressional Debate on Tap Tonight

Our Scott Lewis will moderate a debate tonight between candidates in the North County race to replace the retiring Rep. Darrell Issa in Congress. The event begins at 6:30 p.m., and you can watch online here.

The confirmed participants are candidates Sara Jacobs, Mike Levin and Paul Kerr. The event is being held at Pacific Ridge School, whose students are putting it off along with those at La Jolla Country Day School.

County Assessor’s Iffy Investments

Liberals have been gunning for Ernie Dronenburg, the assessor-recorder-county clerk, ever since he got involved in the gay marriage debate on the conservative side of the issue. Now, he has a Democratic opponent in this year’s election, and this rival is raising questions about Dronenburg’s ethics.

At issue: Should the guy whose agency sets assessments in the county invest in companies that own property here and could potientally benefit from favorable assessments?

The U-T investigates and finds that “investments like those Dronenburg has in companies with real estate holdings are a gray area.”

Everything’s Coming Up Lawsuits

As the U-T reports, the city’s had to shell out more than $11 million over the past 5 years to people injured thanks to run-ins with San Diego’s notoriously decrepit sidewalks. And the number seems certain to rise.

Now, several more people are suing over injuries — and, in one case, a death — blamed on poorly maintained sidewalks and bike lanes, the newspaper says: “One suit blames protruding sidewalk in Old Town for the death of a man riding a motorized device called a Segway. Another claims an open trench in a protected bike lane in Sorrento Valley left a man a quadriplegic.”

As the U-T story notes, these cases come as the city is trying to protect the climate by getting more people to walk and ride bikes instead of drive.

The story also points out that City Attorney Maya Elliott isn’t sympathetic to the idea that homeowners shouldn’t be responsible for sharing the cost of sidewalk repairs: she believes “it would be a windfall for their insurance companies at taxpayer expense. Other cities have done exactly the opposite in recent years, she wrote.”

Chula Vista Native Runs Away with Boston Marathon

It was mighty cold and rainy at the Boston Marathon yesterday, but the final rankings will warm the hearts of Chula Vistans: It turns out that the town once named one of the most boring cities in the nation has managed to produce a superstar runner. Desiree Linden, a CV native and former Olympian who graduated from Hilltop High, won the women’s race in Beantown. She’s the first American woman to do so in more than 30 years.

Correction: National City Mayor’s Not a Republican

The latest edition of the VOSD Politics Report muffed the political party of National City Mayor Ron Morrison, who’s in the middle of a ballot measure versus ballot measure battle over whether he should be allowed to run for another term. (It’s a long story.) Morrison is registered as a decline-to-state independent, not a Republican.

Quick News Hits: Arrogant Bastard Archive?

Here’s the text of local legislator Shirley Weber’s bill to make it easier to prosecute cops for killing civilians.

City Council candidate Fayaz Nawabi is mentioned in a Washington Post story about a wave of Muslim candidates. Nawabi is running against San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate.

A Fallbrook physician allegedly sexually abused and harassed female patients, and the state’s medical board believed his accusers. But the board allowed him to go back to work.

And so it goes in the national medical world, where the often-severe consequences spawned by the #MeToo movement haven’t caught on, the Associated Press reports. When doctors are accused, “punishment often consists of a short suspension paired with mandatory therapy that treats sexually abusive behavior as a symptom of an illness or addiction, the AP found.”

“Actor R. Lee Ermey, who at 17 went through recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego before becoming a drill instructor there, then later used his military experience to portray the iconic Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, died Sunday.” He also played Sarge in the “Toy Story” movies and even appeared via his voice in “SpongeBob SquarePants.” (Times of S.D.)

Cal State San Marcos has opened a “Brewchive,” an archive “intended to store materials related to craft brewing in San Diego over roughly the last 30 years, since the craft beer resurgence.”

The Brewchive will eventually feature oral histories and “eventually include regalia like tap handles, growlers, and shirts, as well as ephemera like coasters, menus, stickers, and decals.”

The university, a library blog reports, is also planning to offer a certificate program in Engibeering. Yes, Engibeering.

Sounds like someone got high on their own supply.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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