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Morning Report: San Diego Unified Avoids More Layoffs

Another candidate for San Diego County Supervisor joins the podcast, Assemblyman Todd Gloria calls for statewide concealed-carry training standards and more in our daily roundup of news.

Parents and community members attend a San Diego Unified school board meeting. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

The San Diego Unified School District has created a page on its website for people who aren’t knowledgeable in public finance. It’s called “Budgets 101.”

And about midway down the page, there’s a question about whether it’s wise to expend certain state funds set aside for “one-time” use to cover ongoing expenses.

The district’s answer: No. “If we did we would … increase the shortfall for the following year and create an even bigger budget concern.”

This week, the Board of Trustees went ahead with plans to use different one-time funds.

As Voice’s Ashly McGlone explains, those funds — plus others transferred from a restricted account — allowed the district to make fewer cuts than were identified by the district’s chief business officer in January. Still, the board voted 4-1 to eliminate 271 jobs, or 203 full-time equivalent jobs next school year, records show.

In the district’s defense, a spokeswoman highlighted a distinction. The district website was referring to state funds that hadn’t yet arrived, while the funds used by the Board of Trustees this week have. Allocating money that is still on the way, she said, “would be irresponsible.”

Is This the End of Civic San Diego?

The city’s redevelopment agency is seemingly invincible. No amount of scandal or opposition has been unable to take it down.

This time around, though, the undoing may be caused from the inside.

On this week’s podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts consider the resignation of Civic’s president, Reese Jarrett, and a lawsuit that has been gathering enough momentum to force the mayor to the table. The testimonies of current and former employees have raised questions over the agency’s contracting process.

Settlement negotiations are taking place over the future of the agency that regulates downtown development.

On the second half of the show, Ken Malbrough sits down for an interview. The retired deputy fire chief is running for a seat on the County Board of Supervisors. He highlighted homelessness, affordable housing and disaster preparedness as priorities.

Speaking of homelessness, Voice’s Lisa Halverstadt and NBC 7’s Monica Dean broke down three potential San Diego ballot measures intended to alleviate the catastrophe downtown and elsewhere.

More Training for Concealed-Carry Permit

California law requires that people seeking concealed-carry permits receive some basic firearm training. But the state provides a maximum number of hours of training — 16 — but not a minimum.

As such, Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, both Democrats from San Diego, are pushing a bill that would set the minimum number of training hours for concealed-carry applications at eight. The bill would also mandate live-fire shooting exercises on a firing range.

At a recent press conference, Gloria complained that the time requirement for a driver’s license — 25 hours in a classroom followed by another 50 hours behind the wheel — is tougher than a concealed-carry permit.

Also in this week’s Sacramento Report, a blistering report out of the state auditor’s office says counties are still sitting on millions of mental health-related dollars and the agency that should be overseeing the spending isn’t doing much about it. Gloria is also behind an effort to force greater oversight. We recently revealed just how much the county of San Diego had available.

On the other side of the aisle, state Sen. Joel Anderson wants people who’ve been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned to get their money more easily and more quickly.

The Data Behind #MeToo

A new report released in partnership with a local professor helps explain why the #MeToo movement has taken off.

Dr. Anita Raj of UC San Diego’s Center on Gender Equity and Health and her team have found that sexual harassment and assault affects both men and women and at alarmingly high rates — 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men in the United States. It also often starts young.

But Raj finds a reason for optimism — her daughter.

“This generation is unwilling to pretend that an abuse did not happen, unwilling to see abusers, harassers and bullies go unpunished, unwilling to make excuses for unacceptable behavior because someone is older or because it happened long ago, and they are unwilling to assume responsibility for someone else’s behavior against them,” she writes in an op-ed.

This isn’t the first survey on sexual harassment. But what sets this one apart, as the New York Times recently noted, is that it deliberately included street harassment and other forms of abuse, such as being followed and being flashed.

More on that Chula Vista Pot Ordinance

After Chula Vista finalized its pot rules this week, several reporters (myself included) quoted people from within the marijuana industry saying the ordinance is not perfect, but they’ll take it anyhow. By setting aside some licenses for independent delivery services, Chula Vista’s ordinance goes beyond all others in the region.

Of course, not everyone on the pro-pot side of the debate cheered the ordinance across the finish line — even those who champion independent delivery. Elizabeth Wilhelm announced on Facebook that she’d be stepping down as head of the San Diego Cannabis Delivery Alliance. Her heart just isn’t in it anymore.

In an interview, she told me that the lobbying side of the job wasn’t for her. And in the end, she feels, city halls around the region have been dismissive of the actual needs of patients.

“I’ve got a cancer patient who’s in hospice now and he’ll easily consume 1,000 milligrams a day,” she said. “There’s no method of administration for him. Nobody seems to care that he’ll need to eat 100 cookies a day.”

To be fair, there’s nothing that city officials can do about potency limits written into state regulations. But Wilhelm feels that the number of available manufacturing and distribution licenses are still way too low, and that many of the products her patients have relied on are going to become harder to find.

She also complained that the industry was becoming increasingly corporatized. Chula Vista is requiring applicants to show $250,000 worth of assets upfront.

In Other News

Imperial Beach and the Port of San Diego are suing the federal government over cross-border sewage flows. (KPBS)

Since the Parkland massacre, San Diego-area schools and law enforcement have investigated at least nine threats. (KPBS)

A county property clerk has resigned amid a criminal investigation into missing evidence. (Union-Tribune)

Sheriff Bill Gore didn’t show up at a debate, so his opponent brought a cardboard cutout and talked to that. (ABC 10)

The streets and sidewalks of San Diego are home to competing rental bikes and scooters that don’t need to be returned to docking stations. (Union-Tribune)

And finally, if you’ve been trying to tune out Broadcom’s hostile takeover of Qualcomm, you probably shouldn’t. The U-T reports that some experts fear it “could dramatically slow down the development of the coming generations of cell phone and Internet advancements.”

Top Stories

1. San Dieguito Teacher Resigns Amidst Complaints of Inappropriate Behavior

Fourteen students accused a long-time San Dieguito High School Academy math teacher of inappropriate touching, remarks and other behavior. The school district and teacher negotiated his resignation after Voice of San Diego requested documents related to the accusations. (Ashly McGlone)

2. Politics Report: Republicans Abandon Hunter

There’s a lot of jockeying going on in San Diego’s two Republican-held Congressional districts. Manchester tells friends it’s all #FakeNews, and the Democratic Party’s new YIMBY group launched with some high-ranking officials, and a few protestors. (Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts)

3. Civic San Diego Faces Forced Overhaul — Absent Its Leader

The president of the embattled agency, Reese Jarrett, abruptly announced his retirement Wednesday. The news came after a lawsuit gathered momentum and enough accusations to force the mayor to the table. Now, settlement negotiations, along with leadership changes, could mean the end of the agency, or major reform, is imminent. (Lisa Halverstadt and Andrew Keatts)

4. In Crowded CA-49, Applegate Positioned Himself to Run for County Supervisor

As Democrats jockeyed for position in the crowded 49th Congressional District, pressuring each other to step aside to cull the field, Doug Applegate changed his primary residency — which would have made him eligible to run for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. (Jesse Marx and Andrew Keatts)

5. San Diego Schools’ Land Swap Plan for New Headquarters Draws Fire from Attorney

San Diego Unified is trying to swap its run-down headquarters and other properties totaling 22 acres for land elsewhere in the city, where it can build a new central office. But not so fast: a lawyer says the plan runs afoul of state contracting law. (Ashly McGlone)

For the rest of the list, go here.

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