Morning Report: SANDAG Head Wades Into Supes Race - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: SANDAG Head Wades Into Supes Race

Jim Desmond (left) and Hasan Ikhrata / Photo by Megan Wood

Hasan Ikhrata has given a max donation to Terra Lawson-Remer in her bid to unseat Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, one of Ikhrata’s bosses in her role on the board for the San Diego Association of Governments, Jesse Marx reported Thursday.

His donation is unusual. Directors of governmental agencies and city managers tend not to get involved in political contests for control of the legislative body for which they work. But Gaspar has been among the most vocal opponents of Ikhrata’s vision at SANDAG – a promise to break San Diego’s reliance on cars and highways in favor of a European-style transit network countywide – and he’s apparently decided to make clear that he’d prefer Lawson-Remer get the job.

Ikhrata’s willingness to do so, though, underscores one of the major stakes of the supervisor race in District 3, which represents Encinitas, Escondido and other parts of North County.

The winner will determine whether the county has a Republican or Democratic majority. If Lawson-Remer wins, not only will Gaspar no longer be on SANDAG’s board. Supervisor Jim Desmond, also a Republican and Ikhrata’s most outspoken critic at SANDAG, would also likely lose his seat, as Democrats would instead send two of their own to represent the county at the regional government.

The revelation of Ikhrata’s March donation to Lawson-Remer comes the same week that he’s unveiling his new, 50-year plan for the future of transportation in the county. Desmond, Gaspar and other critics from rural and car-centric parts of the county were already likely to push back on the $177 billion plan that would build 300-some miles of rail transit in the county. Now, they’ll get to do so while calling out Ikhrata’s decision to jump into one of his boss’s re-election fights.

The One School District That Stayed Open

Cajon Valley Union in East County didn’t stay open throughout the entire pandemic. It initially closed in March like the other 41 districts in San Diego County. But fairly quickly the district started operating a free child care program and then it amped up its services with summer enrichment academics. Roughly 6,000 students around 30 percent of Cajon Valley’s student body were able to be on campus for the program. 

VOSD’s Will Huntsberry toured the operations with Superintendent David Miyashiro last week. Students undergo a health screening at the door and stay in classes with six to 12 students. Everyone wears masks and the various classes do not interact with each other. 

The program has not had any outbreaks. One student’s mother tested positive for COVID-19. The student’s entire class had to stay away from campus for two weeks and the virus did not spread. 

Miyashiro would like to resume his scaled down program in the fall which, in name, is actually a summer camp rather than a school. But current regulations won’t allow for it. An order from the state says schools must stay closed and current state regulations only allow unlicensed camps to operate in the summer. For Cajon Valley’s program to continue, the governor would need to provide a waiver. 

Weber: Affirmative Action Ban Hurts Everyone

In a new op-ed Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, of San Diego, argues that undoing the state’s affirmative action ban will help all women – and especially Black women.  

Weber notes that Black women in California make 60 cents on the dollar for the same work as White men. The impact of that wage discrimination trickles down to families and makes it impossible for Black people to build intergenerational wealth.

 “We continue to persist, even though our businesses lose $1.1 billion every year in public contracts we are denied. We persist even though we only comprise around 15 percent of corporate boards,” writes Weber. 

Weber argues that voters should pass Proposition 16, which would undo the state’s current ban on affirmative action policies. She brings up the example of Los Angeles as a reason why cities would benefit. The city’s workforce is made up of only 28 percent women. Allowing Los Angeles to pass an affirmative action policy would allow it to more quickly diversify its workforce, she argues.

In Other News

  • Public health officials reported for the second straight day that San Diego County has fewer than 100 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents. Counties with more than 100 cases are added to a state watch list, which means they can’t open schools or allow some other activities. San Diego will need to stay under 100 cases for 14 straight days in order for schools to be able to consider reopening, but officials say it may happen soon. (Fox 5) 
  • Good news: Rents in San Diego dropped during the year’s second quarter, for the first time since the Great Recession. Bad news: The drop was tiny, and due to massive job losses and income reductions over the coronavirus pandemic. Real estate expert Alan Nevin, though, said the rent decreases are probably greater than their sticker price, as new apartment projects offer multiple free months to entice renters, while making it easier to charge the higher price under new rent control laws if the economy recovers from the current crisis. (Union-Tribune)
  • San Diego, and other parts of Southern California, are set to experience a heat wave that could last a week. An excessive heat warning will go into effect tomorrow. (NBC 7)
  • An 1,800-gallon sewage spill in North County caused authorities to close a stretch of beach in Torrey Pines Thursday. Authorities did not immediately say what caused the spill. (NBC 7)
  • San Diego State University, not the city of San Diego, is officially the proud owner of the land underneath the San Diego County Credit Union Stadium in Mission Valley. The future of the property has been the source of some debate over the last 20 years, you could say. (10 News)

Correction

Our piece revealing that San Diego Police are ticketing people for what they say is seditious language using a 102-year-old city statute misstated the location in which one resident received a ticket. Jawanza Watson was ticketed in Pacific Beach.

The Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts and Will Huntsberry, and edited by Sara Libby.

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