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Our daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Friday)
San Dieguito High School Academy welcomed back math teacher Donn Boyd for the 2017-2018 school year, despite the fact he had been reprimanded for inappropriate behavior with students just months prior to the new school year starting. He wasn’t left alone with students for very long before another complaint arrived in October, and the school district finally put Boyd on paid leave.
Boyd’s reprimand had been the result of 14 complaints filed against him for unwanted touching and other behavior. “Several said he touched them, hugged them or massaged their shoulders, making them uncomfortable. One said he kissed her on the forehead,” Ashly McGlone reports. The district told Boyd he needed to learn from his experience and avoid touching female students. Then they put him back in the classroom.
The newest complaint against him was similar. “He has the tendancy (sic) to make me feel uncomfortable by always finding a way to touch me or hug me,” the complaint reads.
Boyd has reached a deal with the district to remain on paid leave and retire in June. He hasn’t responded to the newest complaint, but has previously said the oldest complaints mischaracterized his actions.
Piles of orange, red and green bikes are appearing at many urban street corners, seemingly just sitting around waiting for someone to scoop them up. That’s because these “dockless” rental bikes use smartphone technology and let people pick them up and drop them off pretty much anywhere they want.
Not so long ago, San Diego only had one official option for rental bikes, but a recent memo from the city attorney’s office unlocked this new explosion of bike companies hitting the streets. Andrew Keatts and NBC 7’s Monica Dean tackle the new phenomenon astride a couple of these new arrivals in our most recent San Diego Explained.
• Already, howls in the street can be heard from those decrying the injustice of bikes and scooters left “clogging the sidewalks.” They think maybe an outright ban is the ticket. (Union-Tribune)
Christina P. Kantzavelos does social work assisting low-income tenants and is sounding the alarm that vulnerable San Diegans are relying on city and county government to do something to increase the affordable housing stock. With the federal government discussing cuts to Section 8 housing funding, and the median rent in San Diego on the rise, housing affordability is a looming crisis for many. “The homeless epidemic will likely worsen because resources are already limited,” Kantzavelos writes. She suggests the county tap its reserve funds to help keep people in homes. “It is my hope that the supervisors will step up to support our low-income community members currently experiencing or about to experience homelessness,” Kantzavelos writes.
Some lawmakers in Sacramento have met the enemy of affordable housing in California, and it is us. Cities with local control of neighborhood development are blocking new projects, the thinking goes, so state lawmakers may need to step in with new rules that would force cities to accept certain projects. Among the toughest proposal is SB 827, which “would require cities and counties to allow apartment or condominium buildings of four to eight stories in ‘transit rich areas,'” KPBS’s Andrew Bowen reports.
SB 827 would also strike at the heart of another hot development topic: parking spots. “Governments would also be forbidden from requiring developers to include a minimum number of parking spots per home in those areas,” Bowen reports.
A major gas line was ruptured on Wednesday when construction crews working a widening project basically took a vehicle-sized drill into a 20 inch high-pressured pipe. Everybody involved in the incident is investigating everything, but the accident shut down Highway 163 on Wednesday and resulted in the evacuation of 1,110 homes and the shutdown of 80 businesses. At one point, an evacuation alert was mistakenly sent to residents within a 2-mile radius of broken pipe, encompassing all of Mission Valley and many neighboring communities. Now everyone wants to know who to blame, NBC 7 reports.
• The city is still investigating complaints of unusually high charges on their water bills. Audit reports are due by June and the water department is responding to each case reported. (Times of San Diego)
• San Diego’s fire department chief is now Orange County’s fire authority chief. (NBC 7)
• San Diego’s Sempra Energy got the green light to buy up the largest utility company in Texas. (Times of San Diego)
• San Diego Unified is once again being compelled to open up its email records by a court, this time in connection with an effort the school took on to combat bullying of Muslim students. (Daily Caller)
• You’ll be in big trouble if you possess bear spray, sticks or rocks in this temporarily-restricted area in Otay Mesa where President Trump is probably going to visit. (Times of San Diego)
• The City of Chula Vista has settled a sexual harassment case for $400,000, and the accused harasser still has his job. (San Diego Reader)
• If you want season tickets at the new Los Angeles stadium where the Rams and Chargers will play, you’ll have to pay a licensing fee first. That’ll run you as much as $100,000 for the top seats. (Fox 5 San Diego)
• Somebody lost track of a 5-foot long meat-eating lizard named Bubbles in Spring Valley. That’s how it all starts.
Correction: The headline used the present tense of the verb “return” about the accused teacher returning to class. It should have been cast in past tense as the teacher resigned.