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Morning Report: Preuss Manages With Teachers Union

Scott Barton is principal of The Preuss School UCSD. / Photo by Erik Jepsen, UC San Diego

Teachers unions and charter schools have typically clashed. But, if you can’t beat ‘em, unionize ‘em.

Scott Lewis looks at Preuss School, a charter school that unionized last year.

Four years ago, teachers at Preuss grew frustrated after the University of California system froze salaries at the school, which is affiliated with UC San Diego. By 2017, a proposal to introduce merit pay in line with other university practices finally pushed teachers to join the American Federation of Teachers.

It’s still easier at Preuss than at traditional districts to dismiss teachers. But the salary structure the teachers there adoped — known as a step system — is typical of traditional schools.

Throughout California, about one-third of charter schools have teachers unions, according to the California Charter School Association. In San Diego, at least 10 percent of local charter schools have unions now.

Related: Marshall Tuck, one of the two candidates for state school superintendent, is also the former leader of Green Dot Public Schools, a nonprofit network of charter schools. Green Dot is one of the few charter school networks that is unionized. According to the nonprofit, there is no seniority rule for teachers. The union is an affiliated with the National Education Association. His opponent, Tony Thurmond, is open to a statewide “pause” on new charters, according to EdSource.

New Vacation Regs Have Arrived

A vacation rental opponent holds up a sign during a City Council meeting. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

From Lisa Halverstadt: Thursday, Mayor Kevin Faulconer is set to announce long-awaited vacation rental regulations that would allow residents to rent up to two homes.

A policy framework released to Voice ahead of the announcement would:

  • allow homeowners to rent out their primary residences up to six months a year and a second home year-round
  • allow home-sharing, where the homeowner remains on site
  • put a minimum three-night stay downtown and in coastal zones
  • bar granny flat owners from renting out those units for less than 30 days
  • mandate those renting out entire homes get annual $949 licenses to host guests for less than 30 days…
  • … and pay hotel taxes plus a nightly $2.76 affordable housing impact fee.

Only homeowners with more than five bedrooms would need a permit to operate.

Faulconer also proposes hiring 16 city staffers, including code enforcement officers to help enforce the new rules.

The mayor’s proposal is similar to a last-minute compromise that city councilmembers sought in December in a failed bid to approve regulations. That debacle, which followed three years of debate, spurred Faulconer to take the lead on getting regulations to the finish line.

Matt Awbrey, Faulconer’s deputy chief of staff, said the mayor is confident a City Council majority will support his regulatory proposal at a July 16 City Council meeting.

In a statement, Faulconer characterized his proposal as a compromise that allows vacation rentals but respects neighborhood concerns.

“This is a balanced approach that establishes clear rules of the road for short-term rental hosts and guests and protects neighborhood quality of life through increased oversight and enforcement,” Faulconer said.

Fiery Take on Coastal Housing: ‘Mausoleums of the Wealthy’

Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina / Photo by Vito Di Stefano

Serge Dedina, the mayor of Imperial Beach, wants to keep his coastal city affordable, despite rising home prices. That means building more housing, something other cities — like Encinitas — have resisted.

“Frankly, I call the coastal communities that don’t want to build anything the mausoleums of the wealthy,” he told the Union-Tribune. “They are gilded, apartheid-style communities that basically decided that only one income class can live there and I find that unacceptable. I want to make sure that IB doesn’t become that way.”

  • Meanwhile, a group is trying to stop the construction of a seven-story residential tower in Hillcrest, arguing that it’ll obstruct views and destroy the charm of a neighborhood with classic homes. (NBC 7)
  • Lilac Hills housing development, which was rejected by voters in 2016, is headed back to County Board of Supervisors for consideration with some changes. The County Planning Commission voted Monday to advance the project, over objections from staff (The Coast News)

New Cash for Housing in San Diego

From Lisa againWork will continue on a $900 million housing bond advocates hope will land on the November ballot.

A City Council committee on Wednesday directed city attorneys and other city officials to draft language for the property-tax increase pushed by the San Diego Housing Federation. The committee will review the draft in July but the proposal must nab six City Council votes to make it on the November ballot.

Supporters of a proposed hotel-tax hike to expand the Convention Center plus fund homeless services and street repairs had urged the Housing Federation to postpone its measure until 2020 out of fear both proposed measures could fail in November.

The San Diego Convention Center / Image courtesy San Diego Convention Center Corp.

City Councilman Chris Ward, who supports the hotel-tax hike, argued at the Wednesday hearing that the city shouldn’t miss an opportunity to vote on new cash for housing if the Convention Center measure fails to make the ballot. The campaign behind the hotel-tax hike must submit more than 70,000 valid signatures to move forward.  

  • San Diego officials and port commissioners on Wednesday secured long-term control of the land needed to expand the San Diego Convention Center. The price tag: $33.2 million. (City News Service)

Oceanside Pot Measure in the Works

Despite the recommendations of a city subcommittee, Oceanside officials in April approved a medical marijuana ordinance that did not include retail sales. It allowed for commercial production and cultivation but stopped short of giving the public access to the marijuana being grown and tested in their backyards.

As Voice contributor Ruarri Serpa notes in this week’s North County Report, a new citizen’s initiative is in the works that would extend the city ordinance to include recreational storefront. It’s being pushed by residents and industry professionals who are upset by the way the ordinance was drafted.

At the same time, the Vista City Council has put an initiative on its November ballot that would allow up to three medical marijuana delivery services to operate within city limits, according to NBC 7.

Climate Change Fears Rise About Antarctic

A local scientist, Helen Fricker from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, raised alarm about melting ice sheets in Antarctica with a new article in the journal Nature.

In a short interview with the U-T, the paper asked her about any climate change skeptic she has had success “breaking through” with. She describes an experience with a man who visited Scripps and was willing to at least admit that she and her colleagues were sincere, even if was still skeptical of their work.

She’s describing Peter Farrell, a San Diego entrepreneur whom she heard speak out against climate change science on our podcast.

It was after that interview that she invited him to Scripps. We also had a Scripps scientist on to follow up.

In Other News

  • California’s nonpartisan primary was supposed to encourage moderation. But Union-Tribune columnist Michael Smolens argues that the more liberal and conservative candidates won spots on the November ballot in many cases. Election reformers, he writes, would rather see the top four vote-getters, and not just the top two, to advance through the primary.
  • Chula Vista voters just approved Measure A, which was meant to supplement public safety hires. But now the city manager is warning that even with the new sales tax increase, officials will struggle to hire more police officers long-term. (Union-Tribune)
  • San Diego County says its projected 8 percent increase in spending is the result of favorable economic conditions, including an increase in assessed property values. (Times of San Diego)
  • A city of San Diego public safety committee advanced a $350,000 contract with a local marketing firm to entice new police recruits over two years. (Times of San Diego)
  • Californians will have the opportunity to vote on splitting the state into three parts. According to 10News, more than 65,000 people in San Diego County signed the petition.
  • And courtesy of our friend Liam Dillon at the LA Times: Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s bill narrowing the circumstances in which police officers who kill in the line of duty is about to get a hearing. Weber told us in April, when she introduced the bill, “Our officers do know how to de-escalate and they do know how to use other strategies. They just don’t use them in black communities.”

The Morning Report was written and compiled by Ry Rivard and Jesse Marx, and edited by Scott Lewis.

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